Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Ind. Decisions - More on: Tax Court posts one today, decided Friday, another big box/dark box case
The property tax battle between Monroe County and CVS Corp. will continue into another year, with one appeal case going to the Indiana Supreme Court.ILB: Find all the ILB's "big box/dark box" posts here.
Monroe County Assessor Judy Sharp said she plans to take the North College Avenue CVS store appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court after the Indiana Tax Court last month affirmed a lower tax board’s ruling that would lower the property assessments for multiple years at that store. For example, the tax board ordered the total assessment for 2009 to be reduced from $3.9 million to $2.4 million for the store, which is appealing assessments for 2009-13.
“One way or another, if the ‘Supremes’ rule in our favor or the other side, it would be put to bed,” Sharp said. “And that’s what has to happen, because right now it is all over the board.” * * *
Sharp said that of the local CVS stores that already have appealed, four cases were sent to the Indiana Tax Court for appeal, two by CVS and the other two by the county assessor. While the tax court voted to affirm the board of tax review’s decision for the College Avenue store location, Sharp said she is curious what the court will do next, when it rules on the cases in which the board of tax review sided with the county. Sharp said the county did not change its evidence or arguments in the four cases, yet the rulings were different.
Sharp said assessors around the state are fighting because they believe big-box stores need to pay their fair share of property taxes. Sharp said the battle between counties and big-box retail stores does not occur in a vacuum. In her capacity as county assessor, she said, she has worked with legislators, lawyers and government associations such as the Indiana County Assessors Association to resolve the problem, which she said will continue to snowball, especially following the Indiana Tax Court’s decision involving cases such as Meijer Stores Ltd. v. Wayne Township Assessor, which spelled out the concept of sales comparison in assessments.
Sharp said the hope is that the state Supreme Court will fast-track hearing the cases from Monroe and Howard counties, because what is decided at that level is likely to affect not only the county named in each case, but others as well.