Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Board Finds Comparable Sales Insufficient to Support Reduction in Property's Value

Excerpts of the Board's Determination follow:

22. Several Tax Court cases affirm that evidence of the failure of the assessor to adhere to strict application of the assessment guidelines is not enough for a taxpayer to prevail. Challenging methodology is not sufficient without probative evidence of a more accurate value. P/A Builders & Developers, LLC v. Jennings Co. Assessor, 842 N.E.2d 899, 900 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2006); Kooshtard Prop. VI, LLC v. White River Twp. Ass’r, 836 N.E.2d 501, 506 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2005); Eckerling v. Wayne Twp. Assessor, 841 N.E.2d 674, 676 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2006).

23. Petitioners offered MLS listings for five comparable properties. The first comparable property was a .703 acre vacant lot that sold for $15,000. The second comparable property was a 7 acre vacant lot in Green Township that sold for $40,000. The third comparable property was a 7.97 acre lot that sold for $130,000. The fourth comparable property was a 60 acre agricultural parcel that sold for $369,387. The fifth comparable property was a 68 acre agricultural parcel that sold for $480,000. These properties vary from the subject property, which was approximately 2 acres. The Petitioners provided no other evidence or information about the comparable properties. The evidence and argument provided is insufficient for the Board to draw any legitimate conclusion about a more accurate valuation for the subject property. Such conclusory statements are of no probative value unless accompanied by some explanation relating them to the property’s true tax value. Bernacchi v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 727 N.E.2d 1133 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2000). See also, Whitley Products, Inc. v. State Bd. Of Tax Comm’rs, 704 N.E.2d 1113, 1119 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998).

24. The Petitioner did not establish a prima facie case that the 2010 assessment must be changed. See Eckerling, 841 N.E.2d at 674 (stating that a taxpayer who challenges an assessment must show that the assessor's assessed value does not accurately reflect market value-in-use.)

25. Accordingly, the Respondent was not required to support the assessment with substantial evidence. See Lacy Diversified Indus. v. Dep’t of Local Gov’t Fin., 799 N.E.2d 1215, 1221-1222 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2003); Whitley Products, 704 N.E.2d at 1119.