ON APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE INDIANA BOARD OF TAX REVIEW.
ATTORNEY FOR PETITIONER: MARILYN S. MEIGHEN, ATTORNEY AT LAW, Carmel, IN.
ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT: MICHAEL H. MICHMERHUIZEN, JOSHUA C. NEAL, BARRETT & MCNAGNY, LLP, Fort Wayne, IN.
The Hamilton County Assessor appeals the Indiana Board of Tax Review's final determination that SPD Realty, LLC's real and personal property qualified for a charitable purposes exemption for the 2009 tax year. The Court affirms.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In May of 2008, J. Blair Peebles, Duane and Marcia DuCharme, and Dr. Rajiv Sood formed New Life Generation, Inc., a public benefit corporation, pursuant to the Indiana Nonprofit Corporation Act of 1991. New Life's Articles of Incorporation state that it is organized for the charitable purpose of procuring tissue donors, performing tissue donor recoveries, and providing related donor services. The Articles further state that New Life provides transplantable skin tissue to burn centers and surgeons, educational services to certain agencies and organizations, and related research and development services to improve tissue and bone donation.
After New Life encountered difficulties renting a suitable space, its owners decided to purchase a property to accommodate New Life's tissue bank operations. On October 15, 2008, New Life's owners formed SPD, a for-profit limited liability company, and shortly thereafter, SPD purchased a 9,500 square foot office building and leased 5,000 square feet of the building to New Life for a 10-year period.
Pursuant to the terms of the lease, New Life agreed to use the space for the exclusive purpose of operating a tissue bank and providing related services. The lease also provided that New Life would pay an annual base rent equivalent to SPD's entire mortgage, all real and personal property taxes, and all of the build-out and
operating expenses. The lease stated that SPD, however, would cover the costs associated with the maintenance and repair of the building's exterior, the parking lot, and the landscaping.
On January 22, 2009, SPD filed an Application for Property Tax Exemption with the Hamilton County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals (PTABOA) requesting a charitable purposes exemption for the 2009 tax year. On August 6, 2009, the PTABOA denied SPD's application. SPD then appealed to the Indiana Board, an administrative hearing was held, and on March 11, 2011, the Indiana Board issued a final determination granting SPD's exemption application.
On April 13, 2011, the Assessor initiated this original tax appeal. The Court heard oral arguments on November 9, 2011. Additional ...