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Housing P'ships, Inc. v. Owens

Tax Court of Indiana

June 6, 2014

HOUSING PARTNERSHIPS, INC., Petitioner,
v.
TOM OWENS, BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY ASSESSOR, Respondent

Page 1058

ON APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE INDIANA BOARD OF TAX REVIEW.

FOR PETITIONER: SANDRA K. BICKEL, MORSE & BICKEL P.C., Indianapolis, IN.

FOR RESPONDENT: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF INDIANA, JESSICA E. REAGAN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL, Indianapolis, IN.

FOR AMICUS CURIAE: PAUL M. JONES, JR., MATTHEW J. EHINGER, INDIANA ASSOCIATION FOR COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, INC., Indianapolis, IN.

OPINION

Page 1059

WENTWORTH, J.

This case asks the Court to determine whether the Indiana Board of Tax Review erred when it held that for the 2006 tax year, Housing Partnerships, Inc. failed to show that its rental properties qualified for the charitable purposes exemption provided in Indiana Code § 6-1.1-10-16. The Court affirms the Indiana Board's holding.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Housing Partnerships, an Indiana corporation, was formed in 1990. Its articles of incorporation state that it " is organized and operated not for profit but exclusively for charitable purposes." (Cert. Admin. R. at 548.) More specifically, Housing Parnerships' stated purpose is " to undertake, promote, develop, and encourage any activity or means to ameliorate the housing needs of disadvantaged persons without regard to race, religion, sex, or national origin; and to that end, to sponsor, support and promote, and to undertake housing projects" in Bartholomew County, Indiana. (Cert. Admin. R. at 548, 566.) In accordance with that stated purpose, Housing Partnerships' objectives are

[] To build or cause to be built, and to rehabilitate or cause to be rehabilitated, housing units for persons of low-income or moderate-income . . . and to rent or sell such housing units, without profit; to persons and families not otherwise able to obtain housing that is decent, safe and sanitary[; and]
*****
[] To determine and investigate standards of housing; to foster any means for finding more efficient means of housing production which reduce the costs of housing for disadvantaged persons; to make available to the public general information relating to the conditions in which disadvantaged persons are compelled to live; and to promote within the community such goals as may complement the activities of [Housing Partnerships].

(Cert. Admin. R. at 548.) Housing Partnerships funds its housing projects by using money from several different sources: the income it receives from both the sale and the rental of its housing units, donations from individuals and businesses, and monies received from various public and private grants. (See, e.g., Cert. Admin. R. at 637, 1251-57, 1268.) In 2005 alone, Housing Partnerships received over $1 million in federal grant money. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 637, 1250-59.)

In 2006, Housing Partnerships owned numerous single family homes, duplexes and small apartment buildings in Bartholomew County. Housing Partnerships rented these properties (or the units in them) to individuals whose annual incomes were at or below 60% of the area median income (adjusted for family size).[1]

On February 3, 2006, Housing Partnerships filed an Application For Property Tax Exemption on each of its rental properties and its administrative office (the subject properties). The applications claimed that the subject properties were

Page 1060

entitled to the charitable purposes exemption set forth in Indiana Code § 6-1.1-10-16 because they were used to provide housing to low-income individuals and families. (See, e.g., Cert. Admin. R. at 8-9.) On March 13, 2007, the Bartholomew County Property Tax Board of Appeals (PTABOA) denied the applications.

Housing Partnerships subsequently appealed to the Indiana Board. The Indiana Board conducted a hearing on the appeal on January 30, 2009. On April 6, 2010, the Indiana Board issued a final determination affirming the PTABOA's exemption denial because Housing Partnerships' evidence failed to establish a prima facie case that the subject properties were entitled to the charitable purposes exemption. (See, e.g., Cert. Admin. R. at 475 ΒΆ 35.) The Indiana Board's final determination also stated that to the extent Housing Partnerships had received a substantial amount of money through federal grants, but did not ...


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