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Monday, September 21, 2015

Ind. Decisions - Tax Court post one today, filed Sept. 18, reversing Tax Board [Updated]

In a 7-page opinion, RJK/ Robert J. Kuchler, Trustee v. LaPorte County Assessor, Judge Wentworth writes:

RJK Trust, Robert J. Kuchler, Trustee, appeals the final determination of the Indiana Board of Tax Review that increased its 2006 real property assessment from $630,500 to $800,000 based on an independent appraisal the Assessor provided to RJK Trust for the first time at the administrative hearing. The Court reverses the Indiana Board’s final determination. * * *

Here, however, a trial by ambush is exactly what happened. RJK Trust never received a copy of the appraisal report until the day of the hearing. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 180.) As a result, RJK Trust had no opportunity to adequately prepare any rebuttal to the evidence in the appraisal report in advance of the hearing or in the twenty minutes it had to present its case. Moreover, in its closing remarks, RJK Trust asked the Indiana Board not to “follow” the appraisal report because, among other things, it did not receive a copy before the hearing. * * *

Here, however, a trial by ambush is exactly what happened. RJK Trust never received a copy of the appraisal report until the day of the hearing. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 180.) As a result, RJK Trust had no opportunity to adequately prepare any rebuttal to the evidence in the appraisal report in advance of the hearing or in the twenty minutes it had to present its case. Moreover, in its closing remarks, RJK Trust asked the Indiana Board not to “follow” the appraisal report because, among other things, it did not receive a copy before the hearing.

[Updated at 4:33 PM] A reader writes to point out on p. 5:
“(T)he Indiana Board’s small claims regulations require, upon request, pre-hearing disclosure to uphold the fundamental tenant of our judicial system that neither party by subjected to a trial by ambush,”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 21, 2015 12:37 PM
Posted to Ind. Tax Ct. Decisions