APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE INDIANA BOARD OF TAX
FOR PETITIONER: BRIAN A. CUSIMANO, JEFFREY D. COLLINS,
ATTORNEYS AT LAW, Indianapolis, IN; MARILYN S. MEIGHEN,
ATTORNEY AT LAW, Carmel, IN.
FOR RESPONDENT: RANDAL J. KALTENMARK, ZIA MOLLABASHY, BARNES
& THORNBURG LLP, Indianapolis, IN.
case examines the Indiana Board of Tax Review's final
determination that the Common Council of the City of Bluffton
(Council) waived Alexin, LLC's non-compliance with
certain statutory requirements for its 2013 personal property
tax abatement deduction. Upon review, the Court finds that
the Indiana Board's final determination is contrary to
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
operates an aluminum production/manufacturing business in an
area of Wells County, Indiana that the Council designated as
an economic revitalization area. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 53,
75, 77.) Prior to 2013, the Council granted Alexin a ten-year
abatement of taxes on its personal property. (See Cert.
Admin. R. at 75, 77.) To claim its tax abatement deduction in
2013, Alexin's CPA prepared, among other things, its
Business Tangible Personal Property Assessment Return, three
Compliance With Statement of Benefits Personal Property forms
(Forms CF-1), and a Schedule Of Deduction From Assessed
Valuation Personal Property In Economic Revitalization Area
form (Form 103-ERA). (See Cert. Admin. R. at 56-62, 64-70,
75-76, 79.) Due to an administrative oversight, however,
Alexin did not timely file any of its tax abatement forms
with the Wells County Assessor. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 77,
79.) As a result, the Assessor issued a Notice of Assessment
Change to Alexin that disallowed its 2013 tax abatement
August 10, 2013, Alexin filed an appeal with the Wells County
Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals (PTABOA). While that
appeal was pending, Alexin asked the Council to issue a
resolution that waived " the late filing of [its]
personal property [tax] abatement forms." (See Cert.
Admin. R. at 79.) On September 3, 2013, after holding a
public hearing, the Council unanimously adopted Resolution
2013-9 pursuant to Indiana Code § 6-1.1-12.1-9.5 and
§ 6-1.1-12.1-11.3, which provided that "
Alexin's former non-compliance with respect to the timing
of the filing of the [Forms CF-1] . . . is waived and the
[Forms CF-1] as filed should be and are hereby
approved[.]" (See Cert. Admin. R. at 78.) On September
27, 2013, the PTABOA issued a final determination, upholding
the Assessor's disallowance of Alexin's 2013 tax
October 15, 2013, Alexin appealed to the Indiana Board. On
September 18, 2014, the Indiana Board conducted a hearing on
Alexin's appeal during which Alexin claimed that its 2013
tax abatement deduction should be reinstated because the
Council had waived the untimeliness of its Forms CF-1 in
Resolution 2013-9. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 135-36, 138-42.)
The Assessor, on the other hand, argued that Alexin was not
entitled to the tax abatement deduction because the Council
lacked the statutory authority to waive Alexin's act of
non-compliance. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 143-50.) The Assessor
also claimed that Alexin was not entitled to the deduction
because Resolution 2013-9 only waived Alexin's
non-compliance regarding its Forms CF-1, not regarding its
personal property tax return. (See Cert. Admin. R. at
147-49.) On December 17, 2014, the Indiana Board issued its
final determination reinstating Alexin's 2013 tax
abatement deduction based on its conclusion that " [t]he
Council [had] acted within its [statutory] authority in
passing a resolution waiving [Alexin's]
non-compliance." (See Cert. Admin. R. at 23.)
January 30, 2015, Alexin initiated this original tax appeal.
The Court heard oral argument on November 20, 2015.
Additional facts will be supplied if necessary.
party seeking to overturn an Indiana Board final
determination bears the burden of demonstrating its
invalidity. Hubler Realty Co. v. Hendricks Cnty.
Assessor, 938 N.E.2d 311, 313 (Ind.Tax Ct. 2010). The
Court will reverse a final determination if it is arbitrary,
capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in
accordance with law; contrary to constitutional right, power,
privilege, or immunity; in excess of or short of statutory
jurisdiction, authority, or limitations; without observance
of the procedure required by law; or unsupported by
substantial or reliable evidence. IND. CODE § 33-26-
" economic revitalization ...