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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ind. Decisions - "Legal win to boost DeKalb Eastern’s capital fund income"

Dekalb Co. Eastern Community School District v. Dept. of Local Government Finance, a Tax Court case decided July 20th (ILB entry here), is the subject of a story today in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, reported by Niki Kelly. Some quotes:

The Indiana Tax Court ruled that the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance wrongly interpreted a formula legislators set to determine a maximum amount that can be raised in property taxes from the capital projects fund levy.

The law sets a base tax rate and then allows it to be adjusted based on assessed value changes. The formula specifically refers to “actual percentage increase” in two places.

But the collective assessed values in the DeKalb Eastern district dropped. Therefore, the district argued a zero value should be used in the formula because there was no increase. The state, though, put a negative number in the formula to represent the decrease in assessed property value.

The court ruling said the best evidence of the legislature’s intent is the wording chosen and noted lawmakers specifically did not use “actual percentage decrease” or “actual percentage of change” in the formula.

The tax court at one point called the Department of Local Government Finance’s reasoning “non-sensical.” * * *

Department of Local Government Finance officials are assessing whether other districts in the state will be affected by the ruling, which can still be appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 22, 2010 09:01 AM
Posted to Ind. Tax Ct. Decisions