APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE INDIANA BOARD OF TAX
ATTORNEY FOR PETITIONER: PAUL M. JONES, JR. PAUL JONES LAW,
LLC Indianapolis, IN
ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT: CURTIS T. HILL, JR. ATTORNEY
GENERAL OF INDIANA WINSTON LIN GREGORY P. GADSON DEPUTY
ATTORNEYS GENERAL Indianapolis, IN
ATTORNEYS FOR AMICUS CURIAE: MARILYN S. MEIGHEN MARJORIE K.
RICE BRIAN A. CUSIMANO MONROE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
Corporation ("CVS") challenges the Indiana Board of
Tax Review's final determination upholding the Monroe
County Assessor's assessments of its real property for
the 2011 through 2013 tax years. Upon review, the Court
affirms the Indiana Board's final determination.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
property at issue is a CVS store near Ellettsville, Indiana.
(See Cert. Admin. R. at 693-97.) The Assessor
originally determined the assessed value of the property as
$1, 401, 700 for 2011; $1, 391, 600 for 2012; and $1, 401,
300 for 2013. (Cert. Admin. R. at 693-94.) Believing those
values to be too high, CVS appealed them to the Monroe County
Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals
("PTABOA"). The PTABOA affirmed all of the
assessments, and CVS appealed to the Indiana Board.
parties agreed to an expedited review procedure before the
Indiana Board based on stipulated evidence. (Cert. Admin. R.
at 53-54, 71-72.) See also 52 Ind. Admin. Code
2-6-3(b) (2014) (listing expedited review procedures). The
stipulated evidence consisted of the property record card,
the 14th edition of The Appraisal of Real
Estate, the 2014-2015 Uniform Standards of
Professional Appraisal Practice ("USPAP"), the
parties' USPAP-compliant appraisal reports from certified
appraisers, a report from the Assessor reviewing CVS's
appraisal report, and the Indiana Board's records of two
previous cases involving Monroe County CVS stores. (Cert.
Admin. R. at 78-79, 157-58, 706-07.)
appraisal report, prepared by Sara Coers (the "Coers
Report"), calculated the property's value using the
sales-comparison and income approaches that incorporated a
combination of national and regional data. (Cert. Admin. R.
at 157-58, 222-75.) The Coers Report did not value the
property using the cost approach, but rather used that
approach only to calculate market rents under the income
approach. (Cert. Admin. R. at 211-21, 224-26.) Ultimately,
the Coers Report valued the property at $1, 060, 000 for
2011; $1, 070, 000 for 2012; and $1, 130, 000 for 2013.
(Cert. Admin. R. at 275.)
Assessor's appraisal report, prepared by Wayne Johnson
(the "Johnson Report"), used all three approaches
to value the property based exclusively on local data. (Cert.
Admin. R. at 706-07, 845-46.) The Johnson Report reconciled
the results of each approach, valuing the property at $1,
475, 000 for 2011; $1, 500, 000 for 2012; and $1, 550, 000
for 2013. (Cert. Admin. R. at 793, 819, 844-46.) The Assessor
asked the Indiana Board to increase each years' assessed
values to match the values contained in the Johnson Report.
(Cert. Admin. R. at 1855.)
Assessor also submitted a review of the Coers Report that
criticized its choice of comparable properties and the
methodology it employed. (See Cert. Admin. R. at
928-29.) It also criticized the Coers Report's underlying
interpretations of Indiana's market value-in-use standard
for valuing the property and asserted that the scope of
comparable data should be limited to "national
pharmacies." (See Cert. Admin. R. at 928-29,
931, 933-34, 951-54.)
March 28, 2016, the Indiana Board issued its final
determination. As a threshold issue, it determined under
Indiana Code § 6-1.1-15-17.2 that the Assessor bore the
burden of proving the assessments were correct because the
property's 2011 assessment increased more than 5% over
the 2010 assessment. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 101
¶ 58.) Furthermore, upon reviewing the stipulated
evidence, the Indiana Board concluded that while each of the
competing appraisals had shortcomings that detracted from
their reliability, neither appraisal's flaws obliterated
its probative weight completely. (See generally
Cert. Admin. R. at 103-10 ¶¶ 64-89.)
Indiana Board identified the central flaw in the Johnson
Report as the relative lack of physical similarity between
the properties it used as comparables and the CVS property.
(Cert. Admin. R. at 103-04 ¶¶ 65-66, 69, 106 ¶
73, 106-07 ¶ 77.) Regarding the Coers Report, the
Indiana Board questioned its adjustments to comparable
properties, its failure to relate those adjustments to the
Ellettsville market or the CVS property, and its omission of
the cost approach to value the property in contradiction to
its own data. (Cert. Admin. R. at 108-10 ¶¶ 80,
85-88.) In the end, the Indiana Board found the Johnson
Report more persuasive than the Coers Report, explaining
"that Coers' lack of accounting for the local market
detracts more from the reliability of [Coers'] opinions
than Johnson's problems with physical comparability do
from his." (Cert. Admin. R. at 111 ¶ 91.)
Nonetheless, the Indiana ...