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Monroe County Assessor v. SCP 2002 E19 LLC 6697

Tax Court of Indiana

May 25, 2017

MONROE COUNTY ASSESSOR, Petitioner,
v.
SCP 2002 E19 LLC 6697, a/k/a CVS 6697-02, Respondent.

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

          ATTORNEYS FOR PETITIONER: MARILYN S. MEIGHEN, ATTORNEY AT LAW Carmel, IN, BRIAN A. CUSIMANO, ATTORNEY AT LAW, Indianapolis, IN.

          ATTORNEY FOR RESPONDENT: PAUL M. JONES, JR, PAUL JONES LAW, LLC, Indianapolis, IN.

          WENTWORTH, J.

         The Monroe County Assessor challenges the Indiana Board of Tax Review's final determination establishing the assessed value of SCP 2002 E19 LLC 6697's, a/k/a CVS 6697-02, ("CVS") real property for the 2007 through 2013 tax years (the "years at issue"). Upon review, the Court affirms.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The property at issue is a 10, 800 square foot CVS store that sits on 1.97 acres of land in Bloomington, Indiana. (Cert. Admin. R. at 1634-35.) For each of the years at issue, the Assessor valued the subject property as follows: $3, 043, 100 (2007); $3, 037, 700 (2008); $3, 059, 100 (2009); $2, 995, 100 (2010); $3, 007, 300 (2011); $3, 021, 800 (2012); and $2, 978, 300 (2013). (Cert. Admin. R. at 129.) Believing these values to be too high, CVS appealed each assessment to the Monroe County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals (PTABOA). The PTABOA affirmed the assessments, and CVS subsequently filed appeals with the Indiana Board. The Indiana Board consolidated the appeals and conducted an administrative hearing in November of 2014.

         At the administrative hearing, both parties presented appraisal reports done by certified appraisers according to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) for each of the years at issue. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 235-445, 1638-1888.) CVS's appraisal report (the "Coers Report") stated that the cost approach was not applicable because it would not be considered by market participants and there was inadequate data to develop a valid estimate of value using this approach. (Cert. Admin. R. at 410-11.) Therefore, the Coers Report relied solely on the sales-comparison and income approaches, based on a combination of national, regional, and local data, in valuing the subject property at $2, 040, 000 in 2007; $1, 990, 000 in 2008; $1, 970, 000 in 2009; $1, 750, 000 in 2010; $1, 840, 000 in 2011; $1, 860, 000 in 2012; and $2, 010, 000 in 2013. (Cert. Admin. R. at 328-411, 415-16.)

         In contrast, the Assessor's value calculations in its appraisal report (the "Johnson Report") used all three approaches, based on local data, to value the subject property. (Cert. Admin. R. at 1807-08.) The Johnson Report concluded that the cost and income approaches were the most reliable approaches for valuing the subject property, and it relied on them more heavily for its reconciled values of $2, 900, 000 in 2007; $2, 900, 000 in 2008; $3, 000, 000 in 2009; $3, 000, 000 in 2010; $3, 000, 000 in 2011; $3, 100, 000 in 2012; and $3, 100, 000 in 2013. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 1807-09.)

         The Assessor also presented a report prepared by another certified appraiser that reviewed the Coers Report (the "Tillema Review"). (Cert. Admin. R. at 1901-1938.) The Tillema Review was based on the assumption that the Coers Report used an incorrect interpretation of the market value-in-use standard.[1] (Cert. Admin. R. at 1904, 1907, 1913, 1930-31.) Moreover, it specifically stated that the Coers Report was flawed because 1) the cost approach was not applied despite being the most reliable means of valuing the subject property and 2) the sales-comparison and income approaches used non-comparable properties (i.e., vacant properties and "general retail" instead of "ongoing national retail pharmacy" properties). (Cert. Admin. R. at 1904-05, 1907, 1909-13, 1917, 1919, 1921, 1923-25, 1927-28.)

         On November 10, 2015, the Indiana Board issued its final determination, finding that the Coers Report's valuation of the subject property under the income approach was the best evidence of its market value-in-use. (Cert. Admin. R. at 178 ¶¶ 119-20.) Thus, the Indiana Board found that the subject property's value was $2, 237, 402 in 2007, $2, 178, 733 in 2008, $2, 165, 088 in 2009, $1, 850, 000 in 2010, $1, 980, 000 in 2011, $1, 980, 000 in 2012, and $2, 180, 000 in 2013. (Cert. Admin. R. at 179 ¶ 121.)

         The Assessor initiated this original tax appeal on December 22, 2015. The Court heard the parties' oral arguments on October 31, 2016. Additional facts will be supplied as necessary.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The party seeking to overturn a final determination of the Indiana Board 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). Accordingly, the Assessor must demonstrate to the Court that the Indiana Board's final determination in this matter 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; ...


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