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Friday, March 22, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Worrisome slowdown at Tax Court?

The March 25th issue of the subscription-only Indiana Legislative Insight concludes with this story, which the ILB reprints with permission, and only after a great deal of thought:

Our sister newsletter, INDIANA GAMING INSIGHT, has reported on the long lag time facing Indiana Tax Court litigants in recent years, citing filings with federal courts outside our own circuit in the slot wagering tax case which urged the federal judges to retain jurisdiction because Indiana action, based upon statistics served up in the papers, would take too many years to ultimately resolve.

Now we’re picking up a growing concern in the tax community about the increasing backlog of cases at the Tax Court, most notably those involving property tax. The Tax Court decides issues on appeal that are either property tax related or those emanating from the Department of Revenue. The annual backlog from 2007 — 2009 ranged between 127 and 138 appeals, with 15 to 25 decisions issued on the merits annually. But in 2010, many more items than average were withdrawn, dropping the backlog to just 91 cases. Judge Martha Wentworth replaced the retired judge Thomas Fisher in January 2011. Judge Fisher has stayed on since then as senior judge, but despite his assistance, in 2011, someone who has done the math tells us that the backlog surged to 140 appeals with only eight decisions on the merits being decided (down from 15 in 2010).

Although the Tax Court’s 2012 annual report has not yet been released, observers note that the Tax Court issued only 11 decisions in 2012 . . . and none since the first week of December 2012.

As the ILB reports on all the Tax Court decisions, it was simple to pull up the list to check this. Here are the four most recent postings on the list:

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 22, 2013 11:40 AM
Posted to Ind. Tax Ct. Decisions