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Marion Cnty. Auditor v. State

Tax Court of Indiana

May 22, 2015

MARION COUNTY AUDITOR, Petitioner,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Respondent

ATTORNEYS FOR PETITIONER: ADRIANA KATZEN, DAVID J. LICHTENBERGER, OFFICE OF CORPORATION COUNSEL, Indianapolis, IN.

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

Page 399

ORDER ON RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

Martha Blood Wentworth, Judge.

The Marion County Auditor has filed an appeal with this Court challenging the constitutionality of Indiana Code § 6-1.1-15-12. In response, the State of Indiana has moved to dismiss the Auditor's appeal on three alternative grounds: 1) the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, 2) the Court lacks personal jurisdiction, or 3) the Auditor has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Being duly advised in all matters, the Court grants the State's motion.

BACKGROUND

Grandville Cooperative, Inc. owns a multi-family cooperative apartment complex in Indianapolis, Indiana. In November of 2012, Grandville filed several Petitions for Correction of an Error (Forms 133) claiming that for the 2010, 2011, and 2012 tax years, the Marion County Auditor failed to provide it with the homestead deductions to which it was lawfully entitled. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 2-3, 12-13, 22-23.)

The Auditor referred Grandville's Forms 133 to the Marion County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals (PTABOA) for resolution. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 4, 14, 24 (indicating that both the Auditor and the Marion County Assessor believed that Grandville's property did not

Page 400

qualify as a homestead).) See also Ind. Code § 6-1.1-15-12(d) (2012) (stating that when both a county assessor and an auditor do not approve a taxpayer's Form 133 claim, the matter shall be referred to the county PTABOA for resolution). After conducting a hearing on the matter, the PTABOA found that Grandville's property did in fact qualify as a homestead and reversed the determination of the Auditor. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 9, 19, 29.)

The Auditor subsequently appealed the PTABOA's decision by filing Grandville's Forms 133 with the Indiana Board of Tax Review. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 1, 2, 5, 10, 12, 15, 20, 22, 25, 30.) On April 24, 2014, however, the Indiana Board dismissed the Auditor's appeal on the basis that Indiana Code § 6-1.1-15-12 did not provide her with standing to challenge the PTABOA's determination with the Indiana Board. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 61-63.)

The Auditor appealed to the Court on June 6, 2014, naming Grandville as the respondent. The Auditor's petition requested that the Court: (1) declare Indiana Code § 6-1.1-15-12 unconstitutional and (2) either remand the case to the Indiana Board to be heard on the merits or review and reverse the PTABOA's decision that Grandville's property qualified as a homestead on its own. (See Pet'r V. Pet. Judicial Review (" Pet'r Pet." ) at 5 ¶ 28.)

On August 27, 2014, the Auditor and Grandville notified the Court that they had reached a settlement. The Court subsequently granted the parties sixty days to finalize their settlement and file a stipulation of dismissal. On October 30, 2014, however, the Auditor amended her petition (with leave of Court) substituting the State of Indiana for Grandville as the respondent in the appeal. The amended petition sought only a declaration from the Court that " Indiana Code § 6-1.1-15-12 . . . violates the Indiana Constitution by failing to provide [the Auditor] with an avenue of judicial review for an administrative tax determination." (See Pet'r Resp. Respt's Mot. Dismiss (" Pet'r Resp." ) at 1.)

On November 24, 2014, the State moved to dismiss the Auditor's appeal pursuant to Indiana Trial Rules 12(B)(1), 12(B)(2), and 12(B)(6). The Court conducted a hearing on the State's motion on March 27, ...


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