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Monday, October 31, 2016

Ind. Courts - Tax Court hearing Monroe/CVS "Big Box/Dark Box" Appeal this Morning

The appeal to the Indiana Tax Court in CVS Corporation v. Monroe County Assessor (49T10-1512-TA-00032) is being heard by the Indiana Tax Court this morning at 10:00 AM in Room 413. According to the court calendar:

The Assessor challenges whether, in reducing the taxpayer's assessment, the Indiana Board of Tax Review failed to analyze and interpret "True Tax Value" on the basis of actual property wealth.
Here is the docket in the case.

Ernest Rollins of the Bloomington Herald-Times has a long $$ story today headed "County fighting CVS tax appeal." It begins:

The Monroe County Board of Commissioners has filed an amicus brief with the Indiana Tax Court supporting a lower board’s decision not to change assessments on a local CVS store.

The CVS Corp. petitioned the Indiana Tax Court to reverse the Indiana Board of Tax Review’s determination in a case in which it appealed the 2011-13 assessments of its Ellettsville store. County Attorney Margie Rice said the brief allows the county to give the court a local perspective on the importance of upholding the tax board’s decision while the attorney general, who stepped in to defend the county in this particular case, focuses on the case’s nuts and bolts.

The brief filed states assessors use local data to determine the market value-in-use of a property during the assessment process.

“Unfortunately, once the appeal process reaches the state, a disconnect oftentimes exists between the two processes,” the commissioners write. “The value of property located in, say, Monroe County is valued at the state appeal level by data from other counties, other states, or even aggregate data with the most basic datasets unknown.”

County Assessor Judy Sharp said her hope is that the tax court will put the matter to bed once and for all. She added that what the county is facing is not something only Monroe or even Indiana counties are dealing with. According to the amicus brief, national retail giants such as Meijer and CVS are aggressively attempting to reduce the property taxes they have to pay, even in states that do not use the market value-in-use standard.

“These big boxes are essentially making whatever argument they have to make in whatever jurisdiction that they go into,” Rice said. “It is a means to an end for them, and the end is lower taxes, and you’re getting played by them.”

These attempts, if successful, can mean a shift of property tax burden to residential properties while shortchanging basic government services such as roads and public safety, Rice said.

However, in its petition, CVS argues the decision should be reversed on the grounds that the board acted contrary to law by ordering no change rather than having the assessment revert to the prior year’s and “abused its discretion, and made a final determination that was not supported by substantial evidence, by reversing its position on matters of law in a case that is substantially the same as two prior cases that it decided.”

There is much more in the $$ story. The briefs are available for download via the docket.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 31, 2016 09:45 AM
Posted to Ind. Tax Ct. Decisions