Friday, August 1, 2014

Parties Agreed on Property's Value, but Board Makes No Finding On Whether Value Rolls Forward As No Appeal on Later Years was Before it

Excerpts of the Board's Determination follow:

A. Summary of Rosetta’s case

13. The subject property contains a building that was constructed as a freight terminal in 1992. The property sold for $290,000 on May 17, 2010.

14. Rosetta hired Michelle Farrington, an Indiana Licensed General Appraiser, to appraise the property in connection with Rosetta’s appeal. Farrington used the sales-comparison and income approaches to analyze the property’s value. Based on those approaches, she valued the property at $500,000 as of January 1, 2007. Farrington certified that she prepared her appraisal in conformance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. Farrington testimony; Pet’r Ex. 6.4

15. Rosetta asked for an assessment of $500,000 in accordance with Farrington’s appraisal. Rosetta further argued that the $500,000 assessment should carry forward to 2009 and 2010, because the Assessor had assessed the property for the same amount ($1,014,400) in all three years. For support, Rosetta pointed to Ind. Code § 6-1.1-15-1(e), which provides, in relevant part: “A change in an assessment made as a result of a notice for review filed by a taxpayer… remains in effect from the assessment date for which the change is made until the next assessment date for which the assessment is changed under this article.”

16. The Assessor is wrong in claiming that Rosetta’s voluntary withdrawal of its appeal for 2009 operated as a waiver of its claim that any change stemming from this appeal should carry forward to 2009 and 2010. Rosetta’s withdrawal of its Form 131 petition for 2009 is irrelevant to the question of whether a decision by the Board reducing the 2008 assessment carries forward. Bickel argument.

B. Summary of the Assessor’s case

17. Based on Farrington’s appraisal, the Assessor agrees that the subject property’s assessment for 2008 should be reduced to $500,000. Agostino argument.

18. The Assessor, however, disagrees with Rosetta’s claim that the change for 2008 carries forward to 2009 and 2010. Rosetta withdrew its 2009 appeal, explaining: “we have since learned that the appeal was intended to be only for the 2008 assessment….” Bd. Ex. A. The doctrines of waiver and estoppel therefore preclude Rosetta from claiming that the reduction for 2008 should carry forward. Agostino argument.


19. Through Farrington’s appraisal, Rosetta offered probative evidence that the subject property’s true tax value for the 2008 assessment was $500,000. The Assessor agreed. Rosetta is therefore entitled to have the property’s March 1, 2008 assessment reduced to $500,000.

20. Although Rosetta argued that the 2008 assessment should carry forward to 2009 and 2010, those assessments are not before the Board in this appeal. The Board therefore makes no finding on that issue.