APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE INDIANA BOARD OF TAX
FOR PETITIONER: STUART T. BENCH, BENCH LAW OFFICE,
FOR RESPONDENT: MARILYN S. MEIGHEN, ATTORNEY AT LAW, Carmel,
Gillette challenges the final determination of the Indiana
Board of Tax Review that valued her real property at $592,000
for the 2009 tax year. Upon review, the Court affirms the
Indiana Board's final determination.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
owns rental property on Sweetwater Lake in Nineveh, Indiana.
In 2009, that property was assigned an assessed value of
$636,500 ($102,400 for land and $534,100 for improvements).
Believing this value to be too high, Gillette appealed her
assessment first to the Brown County Property Tax Assessment
Board of Appeals and then to the Indiana Board.
January 8, 2013, the Indiana Board conducted a hearing during
which it determined that the Brown County Assessor bore the
burden of proof because Gillette's assessment had
increased by more than 5% from 2008 to 2009. (See Cert.
Admin. R. at 99-103.) The Assessor indicated, however, she
could make a prima facie case to support the 2009 assessment
and asked the Indiana Board to reinstate Gillette's 2008
assessment of $592,000. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 113-15.)
on the other hand, claimed that her 2008 assessment of
$592,000 was too high because her property was only worth
about $440,000 in 2009. (See, e.g., Cert. Admin. R. at 115,
142.) In support of her claim, Gillette testified that her
land was worth about $40,000 because 80% of it abutted the
road instead of the lake, and as a result, it often collected
leaves and garbage. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 131-36.)
Regarding the improvements, Gillette presented her rental
insurance policy declarations, which indicated that for 2005
through 2012 the liability limits to rebuild her house were
between $275,300 to $475,215. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 68-78,
124.) Gillette also presented two appraisals prepared for
mortgage companies that valued her property at $260,000 as of
September 1, 1998 and $482,000 as of April 21, 2006. (See
Cert. Admin. R. at 40-67.) Finally, Gillette maintained that
she could not sell her property for more than $600,000 and
could not rent it for $2,500 per month, which indicated that
its rental value was less than $250,000. (See, e.g., Cert.
Admin. R. at 36, 81, 83, 90-94, 122, 135-43.)
April 5, 2013, the Indiana Board issued its final
determination stating that the Assessor had " admitted
[that Gillette's] assessment should be reduced to
$592,000[,]" the amount of the 2008 assessed value, for
the 2009 tax year. (Cert. Admin. R. at 24 ¶ 20.) In
addition, the Indiana Board found that Gillette had "
failed to make a prima facie case for any assessed value less
than that amount" because she " did not provide
substantial, probative evidence to support her claim[.]"
(See Cert. Admin. R. at 22-24 ¶ ¶ 19-20 (emphasis
added).) Accordingly, the Indiana Board changed the 2009
assessed value to the prior year's assessed value of
$592,000, " consistent with other Board final
determinations where the Respondent failed to satisfy the
burden imposed by Ind[iana] Code § 6-1.1-15-17.2."
(Cert. Admin. R. at 22 ¶ 18.)
20, 2013, Gillette initiated this original tax appeal. The
Court heard oral argument on June 2, 2014. Additional facts
will be supplied as necessary.
party seeking to overturn an Indiana Board final
determination bears the burden of demonstrating its
invalidity. Osolo Twp. Assessor v. Elkhart Maple Lane
Assocs.,789 N.E.2d 109, 111 (Ind.Tax Ct. 2003). The
Court will reverse an Indiana Board 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 ...