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Peters v. Garoffolo

Tax Court of Indiana

May 14, 2015

LEE and SALLY PETERS, Petitioners,
v.
LISA GAROFFOLO, BOONE COUNTY ASSESSOR, and the INDIANA BOARD OF TAX REVIEW, Respondents

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

LEE and SALLY PETERS, PETITIONERS, Pro se, Carmel, IN.

ATTORNEY FOR RESPONDENTS: DAVID F. TRUITT, Attorney at Law, Lebanon, IN.

OPINION

Page 848

FISHER, Senior Judge.

This case examines whether the Indiana Board of Tax Review erred in upholding the 2010 real property assessment of Lee and Sally Peters (the Petitioners). Upon review, the Court finds that the Indiana Board did not err.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The Petitioners own real property on Main Street in Zionsville, Indiana. The property consists of a 2,852 square foot office building situated on a 0.16 acre lot. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 65-66.)

For the 2009 tax year, the Petitioners' property was assessed at $306,400. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 63.) For the 2010 tax year, however, the assessment increased to $430,900. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 63.)

By letter dated January 18, 2010, the Petitioners challenged their 2010 assessment with the Boone County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals (PTABOA). (See Cert. Admin. R. at 6.) The PTABOA reduced the assessment to $420,000. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 73-75.) The Petitioners then filed an appeal with the Indiana Board.

The Indiana Board conducted an administrative hearing in the matter on March 14, 2012. On June 8, 2012, the Indiana Board issued a final determination in which it found that the Petitioners failed to meet their burden of proving that the 2010 assessment was incorrect. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 19 ¶ ¶ 17(j), 18.) Consequently, the Indiana Board upheld the $420,000 assessment.

The Petitioners filed an original tax appeal on July 23, 2012. The Court heard oral arguments on June 27, 2013. Additional facts will be supplied as necessary.

LAW

Under Indiana's assessment system, real property is assessed on the basis of its " market value-in-use." 2002 Real Property Assessment Manual (Manual) (incorporated by reference at 50 Ind. Admin. Code 2.3-1-2 (2002 Supp.)) at 2. As this Court has previously explained, a property's market value-in-use is, in most instances, equivalent to its fair market value. See, e.g., Millennium Real Estate Inv., LLC v. Benton Cnty. Assessor,979 N.E.2d 192, 196 (Ind.Tax Ct. 2012), review denied. Nonetheless, " [i]n markets in which sales are not representative of utilities, either because the utility derived is higher than indicated sale prices, or in markets where owners are motivated by non-market factors such as the ...


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