Sunday, April 14, 2013
Ind. Courts - "Presently 5 states have a tax court within the judicial branch to hear tax matters"
So writes Bill Raftery in this April 11th post in Gavel to Gavel.
Indiana's tax court is one of the five, according to the post, which discusses a Louisiana bill to make it the 6th state with a tax court in the judicial branch. He continues [emphasis by ILB]:
Under Louisiana’s [proposal] the new Tax Court, which would take the place of the existing Board of Tax Appeals, would serve “within the Louisiana Court of Appeals”, but it not clear if they would function as a court separate from the Court of Appeals (as in Indiana), as a sort of junior chamber, or as (in effect) an administrative agency within the Court of Appeals. The judges of the three judges of the Tax Court would not only have to be attorneys but would also have to be a certified as a tax specialist by the state’s Board of Legal Specialization.Here are the Indiana statutes relating to the Indiana Tax Court.
What makes the Louisiana bill unique is the placement of the court in the judicial branch. “Tax courts” in most other states are executive branch or administrative agencies that perform quasi-judicial functions but are not formally parts of the judicial branch, such as in Maryland and Minnesota. The Tax Courts in Arizona, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Oregon plus a specialized intermediate appellate court in Indiana, are all within the judicial branch.
What is the jurisdiction of the Indiana Tax Court? As spelled out on the Tax Court's website:
The Tax Court has exclusive jurisdiction over any case that arises under the Indiana tax laws and that is an initial appeal of a final determination made by the Indiana Department of State Revenue or the Indiana Board of Tax Review.*Under IC 33-26-6-1, the tax court shall try each original tax appeal without the intervention of a jury.
In addition, the Tax Court has jurisdiction over certain appeals from the Department of Local Government Finance.
The Tax Court also hears appeals of inheritance tax determinations from the courts of probate jurisdiction.
Such cases are called original tax appeals.
Under IC 33-26-6-7, the decisions of the tax court may be appealed directly to the supreme court.
*Prior to its creation, the cases over which the Tax Court now has jurisdiction were heard in the Circuit or Superior Courts of the county of location of property in property tax cases or in the county of residence or place of business of the taxpayer in all other cases.
Contrast this with other administrative disputes. For example, appeals from decisions of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) are taken to the Indiana Office of Environmental Adjudication (OEA), another executive branch agency, for administrative review. Appeals are governed by the Administrative Orders and Procedures Act (AOPA), IC 4-21.5-3. Appeals from OEA are covered by IC 4-21.5-5-1, which establishes the exclusive means for judicial review of an agency action. Venue is generally in Marion County.