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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ind. Courts - "Task force aims to unclog tax court backlog"

Dan Carden reports in the NWI Times:

INDIANAPOLIS | A state appellate court specializing in difficult tax issues is going under the microscope in hopes of discovering the causes of a growing case backlog.

The Indiana Supreme Court last week established a nine-member advisory task force to study over the next year the workload, resources, staffing, performance and operations of the one-judge Indiana Tax Court.

Chief Justice Loretta Rush said it will be the first comprehensive review of the specialty court in its nearly 30 years of operation, and is needed now because the tax court appears to be concluding fewer cases than in the past.

For example, under Judge Thomas Fisher, a former Jasper County prosecuting attorney who moved to senior judge status in 2011, the tax court typically resolved 70 to 100 cases a year and carried over about 130 into the next year, except in his final year when just 91 cases remained.

Productivity dropped significantly after tax court Judge Martha Blood Wentworth was appointed by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels to replace Fisher four years ago. She was retained by Hoosier voters in 2014 for a 10-year term.

In 2011, Wentworth's first year on the bench, the tax court ruled in just 48 cases, leaving 140 remaining at the end of the year. The number of pending cases grew to 175 in 2012, 193 in 2013 and totaled 191 on Dec. 31, 2014.

ILB: Although the story also notes:
Tax court cases tend to be among the most complicated in the Indiana judiciary, often involving corporate tax disputes over multiple tax years with significant potential refund ramifications for the state and local governments.
This is often not the case. The area is specialized, but the majority of the cases are straighforward.

For more, see this ILB post from May 15th and the links to background at the end of that post.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 19, 2015 09:55 AM
Posted to Ind. Tax Ct. Decisions