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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ind. Decisions - One NFP today from Tax Court

In Fuller v. Cass Co. Assessor, a 7-page opinion, Judge Wentworth writes:

Mr. Fuller claims that his property taxes increased [from those of the property's previous owners] because he did not receive the homestead credit, the homestead standard deduction, or the mortgage deduction for the 2007-pay-2008 period. According to Mr. Fuller, after he purchased his home, the Cass County Auditor removed those credits and deductions. When Mr. Fuller attempted to have them reinstated, an individual from the Auditor's Office told him it was impossible because the application deadlines for the credits and deductions had expired before he even purchased his home. * * *

On appeal, Mr. Fuller reiterates his claim that during the 2007-pay-2008 period he was unfairly required to pay higher taxes because he purchased his home after the statutorily imposed deadlines for the homestead credit, the homestead standard deduction, and the mortgage deduction. In addition, Mr. Fuller claims that because he has had to spend his own time and money trying to rectify this “unfairness,” he is entitled to the same compensation an attorney would receive had he engaged an attorney to represent him. The Court will address each of these claims in turn. * * *

Mr. Fuller's situation reflects some of the challenges Indiana's citizens have had in understanding the changes to and complexities of our property tax system. While the Court is sympathetic to Mr. Fuller's plight, it is bound to apply the law as written. See Scopelite v. Ind. Dep't of Local Gov't Fin., 939 N.E.2d 1138, 1144 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2010) (stating that the Court will not read provisions into statutes where they do not exist) (citation omitted). Therefore, the Court must affirm the Indiana Board's final determination that Mr. Fuller did not establish that he was entitled to the homestead credit, the homestead standard deduction, or the mortgage deduction for the 2007-pay-2008 period.

Mr. Fuller also explains that he has spent a great deal of time, effort, and money in representing himself in this matter; thus, as an attorney would receive compensation for his or her labor in representing a client, he too is entitled to fees. The Court disagrees. * * *

Mr. Fuller has not identified a statutory basis to support his request for fees and costs for providing his own representation. Nor has he identified the existence of an agreement where the County and State officials promised Mr. Fuller that they would pay him for his time and expenses. Therefore, the Court denies Mr. Fuller's claim for fees and costs.

ILB: Challenges somewhat reminiscent of Catch-22?

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 10, 2011 11:33 AM
Posted to Ind. Tax Ct. Decisions