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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ind. Decisions - Tax Court posts one NFP today

Donald F. Elliott, Jr. v. Debra A. Dunning, Marshall County Assessor (NFP) - Here are some quotes from Judge Fisher's opinion:

In this case, the practical effect of the Assessor’s application of the formula produces an unjust and absurd result. Indeed, it produces depth factors and assessed values that are inconsistent with the assessment data regarding other rear lots in the Van Schoiack subdivision contained in the administrative record. * * *

This Court has often explained that an assessor’s misapplication of the guidelines will not necessarily invalidate an assessment; rather, the pivotal question is, notwithstanding the assessor’s misapplication of the guidelines, does the assessment accurately reflect the property’s market value-in-use? See, e.g., Westfield Golf Practice Ctr. v. Washington Twp. Assessor, 859 N.E.2d 396, 399 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2007); O’Donnell v. Dep’t of Local Gov’t Fin., 854 N.E.2d 90, 93-94 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2006); Eckerling v. Wayne Twp. Assessor, 841 N.E.2d 674, 677 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2006). To that end, when a taxpayer challenges his assessment he must do more than merely allege that the guidelines were misapplied; indeed, he must also present objectively verifiable evidence which demonstrates that his assessment is incorrect. See, e.g., Eckerling, 841 N.E.2d at 677 (“Strict application of the [guidelines] is not enough to rebut the presumption that the assessment is correct”). Elliott has met this burden: his interpretation and application of the guidelines’ formula is supported by other objectively verifiable market value-in-use evidence (i.e., the assessment data in the record relating to the Smitson and Rocap properties). See supra pp. 7-8. Consequently, the Court concludes that Elliott established that the 2006 assessment of Parcel 13 was incorrect.[8]
[8] This Court believes that “the most effective method to rebut the presumption that an assessment is correct is through the presentation of a market value-in-use appraisal, completed in conformance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).” Kooshtard Prop. VI, LLC v. White River Twp. Assessor, 836 N.E.2d 501, 506 n.6 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2005), review denied. As evidenced by the holding in this case, however, the presentation of such an appraisal is not the only way to rebut the presumption that an assessment is correct. See also Lakes of the Four Seasons Prop. Owners’ Assoc. v. Dep’t of Local Gov’t Fin., 875 N.E.2d 833 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2007) (where taxpayer established the market value-in-use of its property without a USPAP appraisal), review denied.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 23, 2009 01:07 PM
Posted to Ind. Tax Ct. Decisions