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Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Ind. Decisions - Tax Court decides two today

In Hamilton Square Investment, LLC. v. Hamilton County Assessor, an 8-page opinion, Sr. Judge Fisher writes:

Indiana’s property tax caps provide taxpayers with credits against their Indiana property tax liabilities. See, e.g., IND. CODE § 6-1.1-20.6-7.5 (2016). The amount of a credit depends on, among other things, a property’s classification (e.g., homestead, residential, agricultural, or nonresidential) and its overall gross assessed value. See I.C. § 6-1.1-20.6-7.5. This case concerns Hamilton Square Investment, LLC’s claim that the Indiana Board of Tax Review erred in upholding the classification of its real property and, thus, the allocation of its tax cap credits for the 2012 tax year. Hamilton Square is correct. * * *

On appeal, Hamilton Square claims that the Indiana Board erred when it limited the term “common areas,” as used in the Residential Property Statute, to solely the land and improvements within the footprint of a multi-unit apartment building (e.g., hallways and stairways). (See Pet’r Br. at 13 n.8.) Hamilton Square maintains that for purposes of the Residential Property Statute, common areas should also include land and improvements beyond an apartment building’s footprint. (See, e.g., Pet’r Br. at 15-18.) (See also Amici Curiae Br. of Gene B. Glick Co., Dominion Realty, Inc., Samaritan Co., & Stygall Co. at 5-7.) * * *

[T]he actual structure and language of the Residential Property Statute does not limit common areas to an apartment building’s footprint as the Assessor has argued. See Indiana Dep’t of State Revenue v. Horizon Bancorp, 644 N.E.2d 870, 872 (Ind. 1994) (stating that “[n]othing may be read into a statute which is not within the manifest intention of the legislature as gathered from the statute itself” (citation omitted)).

CONCLUSION. For the foregoing reasons, the final determination of the Indiana Board is REVERSED. This matter is REMANDED to the Indiana Board so that it may instruct the appropriate assessing officials to take actions consistent with this opinion.

In Spencer County Assessor and Grass Township Assessor v. AK Steel Corporation, a 22-page opinion, Sr. Judge Fisher writes:
Indiana Code § 6-1.1-3-23 provides integrated steel mills with the option of using “Pool 5” to value their personal property for purposes of taxation. The statute defines an “integrated steel mill” as “a person . . . that produces steel by processing iron ore and other raw materials in a blast furnace in Indiana[.]” See IND. CODE § 6-1.1-3-23(a)(3) (2008) (amended 2011). On appeal, the parties have asked the Court to examine whether the “in Indiana” language contained in that definition is constitutional. The Court finds that AK Steel has not shown a constitutional infirmity. * * *

[ILB: See beginning on p. 3, a section titled titled "THE BACKSTORY – WHY WE ARE HERE," for discussion of a lengthy non-code provision [ILB emphasis, see ftnote on p. 5] intended to authorize an optional "fifth pool in the depreciation schedule for valuing the equipment of integrated steel mills [ and] related entities" intended to "to encourage th[at] industr[y] to continue to invest in northern Indiana." As noted in the footnote on p. 7, the legislature codified the non-code provision in 2011. ]

CONCLUSION AK Steel has not shown that the “in Indiana” language contained in Indiana Code § 6-1.1-3-23’s definition of an integrated steel mill is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Indiana Board’s final determination is AFFIRMED in result.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 5, 2016 03:09 PM
Posted to Ind. Tax Ct. Decisions