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Muir Woods, Inc. v. O'Connor

Tax Court of Indiana

June 18, 2015

MUIR WOODS, INC., [1] Petitioner,
v.
JOSEPH P. O'CONNOR, ASSESSOR OF MARION COUNTY, Respondent

As Amended June 25, 2015.

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

ATTORNEY FOR PETITIONER: JAMES K. GILDAY, GILDAY & ASSOCIATES, P.C., Indianapolis, IN.

ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF INDIANA; EVAN W. BARTEL, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL, Indianapolis, IN.

OPINION

WENTWORTH, J.

This case concerns whether the Indiana Board of Tax Review erred when it dismissed Muir Woods Inc.'s Petitions For Correction Of An Error (Forms 133) because the forms alleged errors not correctable under that appeal procedure. The Court affirms.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Muir Woods is the homeowners' association of a planned unit development in Indianapolis. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 11, 653.) On July 9, 2009, Muir Woods filed two Forms 133 with the Marion County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals (PTABOA) asserting that the property taxes arising from 2004 and 2005 assessments of its common area land were illegal as a matter of law. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 6-11.) The PTABOA denied the Forms 133.

Muir Woods subsequently filed two Petitions for Review (Forms 131) with the Indiana Board, attaching the Forms 133 that were denied by the PTABOA. (See, e.g., Cert. Admin. R. at 3-17.) Muir Woods again claimed that its property taxes were illegal as a matter of law. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 16-17.) Additionally, Muir Woods claimed that the Marion County Assessor failed to adjust the base rate of its common area land. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 17.)

On January 13, 2012, the Indiana Board issued an Order To Show Cause Why Petitions Should Not Be Dismissed On Grounds That They Allege Errors In Subjective Judgment (Show Cause Order). (See Cert. Admin. R. at 73-79.) The Show Cause Order stated that the Indiana Board may dismiss Muir Woods's case unless it showed that its claims were " properly brought on Form 133 petitions, or, alternatively that it complied with the [] appeal procedure's deadlines and other requirements[.]" (See Cert. Admin. R. at 77.)

On March 30, 2012, Muir Woods submitted its written response, and on August 29, 2012, the Indiana Board held a hearing on the Show Cause Order.[2] (See Cert. Admin. R. at 128-41, 651-70.) On December 28, 2012, the Indiana Board dismissed Muir Woods's case, stating that Muir Woods " alleged errors that are not correctable using the Form 133 process[.]" (See Cert. Admin. R. at 345.)

On February 11, 2013, Muir Woods initiated an original tax appeal. The Court conducted oral argument on December 6, 2013. Additional facts will be supplied when necessary.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

This Court gives great deference to final determinations of the Indiana Board when it acts within the scope of its authority. Will's Far-Go Coach Sales v. Nusbaum, 847 N.E.2d 1074, 1076 (Ind.Tax Ct. 2006). Therefore, the Court will reverse a final determination of the Indiana Board only if it is:

(1) arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in ...

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