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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ind. Decisions - More on: One NFP filed Dec. 27th by Tax Court

The NFP opinion filed Dec. 27th, Lake County Assessor, North Township Assessor, et al. v. Amoco Sulfur Recovery Corp., and BP Products North America, Inc., is given some context today by stories in papers from The Region.

Keeith Benman of the NWI Times has a very brief story headed "County appeal of BP assessment lives to see another day." Some quotes:

On Monday, the court dismissed BP's motion to dismiss the case. BP had argued the Lake County assessor and North Township assessor did not include Amoco Sulphur Recovery Corp. in its tax assessment appeal and sent the appeal only to the lawyer for BP.

The court ruled those were technicalities that did not invalidate the appeal. * * *

The Lake County assessor and North Township assessor appeal the state's assessment of BP every year and the subsequent confirmation of that assessment by the Indiana Board of Tax Review.

In 2001, Gov. Frank O'Bannon signed into law House Bill 1902, which stripped Lake County and local assessors of their powers to assess property belonging to BP, U.S. Steel Gary Works, Ispat Inland Inc. and International Steel Group. Certain divisions of Ispat Inland and International Steel Group eventually were bought by ArcelorMittal.

Chelsea Schneider Kirk reports for the Gary Post Tribune in a stroy headed "Lake can appeal state tax ruling on BP: 6 years of tax exemptions challenged, could mean $20M windfall for county." Some quotes:
The appeal is part of a long line of court filings Lake County has made to recoup a tax exemption the county believes BP is incorrectly using. If Lake County ultimately wins cases disputing the oil giant's tax filings from 2004 through 2010, county attorney John Dull estimates that would force BP to pay at least $20 million in taxes to the financially-strapped county.

At the heart of the issue is a tax exemption BP claims on air pollution equipment, such as filters or scrubbers at the refinery.

BP spokesman Tom Keilman said the company hasn't had the opportunity to review Monday's filing.

"We continue to believe our past returns were filed properly," Keilman said, "and the county continues to litigate this matter."

Dull is awaiting a ruling whether the Indiana Supreme Court will hear the county's case on tax years 2004 through 2006. In that case, the Indiana Tax Court ruled BP rightfully claimed the exemption. Cases dealing with BP's returns from 2008 through 2010 are still at the Tax Board level.

"We're going forward with the cases we believe we can get positive outcomes without spending lots of money," Dull said. "Given the fact that money is tight, we're going to have to make a decision on what we do. We're waiting for the supreme court case."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 29, 2010 10:26 AM
Posted to Ind. Tax Ct. Decisions