25. In this case, the Petitioners contend that the subject property’s land should be classified as agricultural rather than residential. The statutory and regulatory scheme for assessing agricultural land requires the Board to treat challenges to those assessments differently than other assessment challenges. Indeed, the Indiana General Assembly directed the DLGF to establish rules for determining the true tax value of agricultural land. Ind. Code § 6-1.1-4-13(b). The DLGF, in turn, established a base rate to be used in assessing agricultural land across the State of Indiana.
26. Indiana Code § 6-1.1-4-13 states, however, that “[i]n assessing or reassessing land, the land shall be assessed as agricultural only when it is devoted to agricultural use.” Ind. Code § 6-1.1-4-13(a) (emphasis added). The word “devote” means “to attach the attention or center of activities of (oneself) wholly or chiefly on a specified object, field, or objective.” WEBSTER’S THIRD NEW INTERNATIONAL UNABRIDGED DICTIONARY AT 620.
27. It is undisputed that the subject property is a 1.4 acre residential lot in a platted residential subdivision and subject to covenants and restrictions germane to residential use. The property’s improvements consist of a detached garage intended for residential use, and prior to the Petitioners’ purchase, the property was used as a residence and granted a homestead exemption. The improvements on the property remain unchanged. Neither vacancy nor use as “climate-controlled storage” renders the building agricultural. Many activities that are “agricultural” in some sense are entirely compatible with residential uses. A pet rabbit and a vegetable garden does not entitle a taxpayer to an agricultural assessment. The law does not indicate how many verses of “Old McDonald” it takes to reclassify land from residential to agricultural for property tax assessment purposes. In this case, the Petitioners have failed to persuade the Board that evidence of seasonal boarding of rabbits, pigs, and goats for children’s 4-H programs is sufficient to change the subject property into a barn and barnyard. Thus the Petitioners have failed to raise a prima facie case that the subject property’s classification as residential is in error.
28. Additionally, the Board finds no evidence that the property’s improvements are overvalued. Regardless of the use, or intended use, of the garage and the apartment above it, the Petitioners offered nothing to prove its market value-in-use, or even suggest an alternative value.