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Thursday, August 07, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Tax Court posts one, filed August 6th

In Howard County Assessor v. Kokomo Mall, LLC, a 9-page opinion, Sr. Judge Fisher writes:

The Howard County Assessor has appealed the Indiana Board of Tax Review’s final determination that reduced Kokomo Mall, LLC’s commercial property assessments for the 2007, 2008, and 2009 tax years. The Court affirms. * * *

On appeal, the Assessor has asked the Court to reverse the Indiana Board’s finding that Kokomo Mall made a prima facie case. The Assessor also asks the Court to “reconsider [its] policy . . . concerning the role of the administrative law judge and the Indiana Board[.]” (Oral Arg. Tr. at 4.) * * *

It is well-established that when this Court reviews a final determination of the Indiana Board, it may not reweigh the evidence nor judge the credibility of the witnesses who testified at the Indiana Board’s hearing. See Freudenberg-NOK Gen. P’ship v. State Bd. of Tax Comm’rs, 715 N.E.2d 1026, 1030 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1999), review denied. Thus, despite what the Court or the litigants think about the quality of the evidence presented at the administrative level, the Court is limited as to what it can do when reviewing that evidence on appeal. See id. To the extent the Assessor has done nothing more than invite the Court to ignore this well-established rule under the guise that the Indiana Board ignored her arguments and simply adopted all of Kokomo Mall’s evidence without attempting to gauge its probative value, the Court declines her invitation. Consequently, the Assessor has not shown that the Indiana Board’s final determination must be reversed on this basis.

The Assessor has also asked the Court to reconsider the policy arising from its case law that the mere presentation of a USPAP appraisal establishes a prima facie case. * * *

Because the presentation of an appraisal is not the only way to rebut the presumption that an assessment is correct, it follows that the same type of evidence may be used to impeach the accuracy of an appraisal or lend support to the accuracy of an assessment. [cites omitted] Accordingly, the Court will not reverse the Indiana Board’s final determination on this basis either.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 7, 2014 10:57 AM
Posted to Ind. Tax Ct. Decisions