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Monday, May 12, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Tax Court issues two today

In West Ohio II, LLC v. Marion County Assessor, Marion County Treasurer, and Marion County Auditor, a 7-page opinion, Judge Wentworth concludes:

West Ohio has filed an injunction petition but it has not filed an original tax appeal. For the reasons stated in this order, this Court therefore does not have subject matter jurisdiction to rule on West Ohio’s Petition. Marion County’s Motion is GRANTED and this cause is hereby DISMISSED.
In Washington Park Cemetery Association, Inc. v. Marion County Assessor, Marion County Treasurer, and Marion County Auditor, an 8-page opinion, Judge Wentworth writes:
Come now the parties, Washington Park Cemetery Association, Inc. having filed a Petition to Enjoin Collection of Tax (Petition) and the Marion County Assessor, Treasurer, and Auditor (collectively “Marion County”) having filed a Motion to Dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (Motion). The Court, being duly advised in all matters, grants Marion County’s Motion. * * *

For many years, Washington Park’s entire complex received an exemption from property taxation pursuant to Indiana Code § 6-1.1-10-27. In 2013, however, Washington Park received notice that the exemption previously applied to the Community Life Center had been removed effective with the March 1, 2012 assessment. The stated reason for the exemption’s removal was that special events such as weddings sometimes were held there and there were no burials at that location.

On November 4, 2013, Washington Park filed both a Petition to the Indiana Board of Tax Review for Review of Exemption (Form 132) for the March 1, 2012 assessment date and a Petition for Correction of Error (Form 133) with the Marion County Property Tax Board of Appeals (PTABOA). The PTABOA denied the Form 133 and Washington Park then appealed that denial to the Indiana Board on December 13, 2013.

As of April 14, 2014, the Indiana Board had not yet scheduled a hearing on Washington Park’s appeals. Consequently, Washington Park filed its Petition with this Court asking this Court to enjoin the collection of property taxes resulting from the exemption’s removal. Marion County subsequently filed its Motion, asserting that the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The Court conducted a hearing on May 8, 2014. * * *

In its Petition, Washington Park acknowledges that it has not yet received a final determination from the Indiana Board. Accordingly, Washington Park admits that its case is not yet ripe to file a petition for an original tax appeal. Nonetheless, Washington Park maintains that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction to rule on its Petition for three reasons. * * *

[I] [T]he Court finds that the language “will raise” in Indiana Code §33-26-6-2(b)(1) does not mean that injunctive relief can be granted before an original tax appeal has been initiated. * * *

[II] [T]he Tax Court may grant injunctive relief only if an original tax appeal is pending.

III. Finally, Washington Park argues that the principle of stare decisis requires the Court to follow its rationale and holding in American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. Indiana, 512 N.E.2d 920 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1987). While the rationale and holding in American Trucking does indeed support Washington Park’s position, this Court declines to follow it.1

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 12, 2014 01:33 PM
Posted to Ind. Tax Ct. Decisions