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CVS Corp. v. Monroe County Assessor

Tax Court of Indiana

September 29, 2017

CVS CORPORATION (#6698-02), Petitioner,
v.
MONROE COUNTY ASSESSOR, Respondent.

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

          ATTORNEY FOR PETITIONER: PAUL M. JONES, JR. PAUL JONES LAW, 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 MONROE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS Bloomington, IN

          WENTWORTH, J.

         CVS Corporation #6698-02 ("CVS") challenges the Indiana Board of Tax Review's final determination valuing its real property for the 2011-2013 tax years. Upon review, the Court affirms the Indiana Board's final determination.

          FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The subject property is a 12, 799 square-foot CVS store located on a 2.79 acre parcel in Bloomington, Indiana. (Cert. Admin. R. at 249-51.) The Monroe County Assessor valued the property at $2, 476, 200 for 2011, $2, 354, 700 for 2012, and $2, 374, 900 for 2013. (Cert. Admin. R. at 249.) Believing these values to be too high, CVS appealed the assessments to the Monroe County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals ("PTABOA"). The PTABOA affirmed the assessments and CVS appealed to the Indiana Board.

         The parties agreed to an expedited review procedure before the Indiana Board based on stipulated evidence. (Cert. Admin. R. at 43-46.) See 52 Ind. Admin. Code 2-6-3(b) (2016) (listing expedited review procedures). The stipulated evidence consisted of the property record card, the 14th edition of The Appraisal of Real Estate, and the parties' appraisal reports completed by certified appraisers in compliance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. (Cert. Admin. R. at 48-49, 134-35, 256-57.) CVS's appraisal report applied the sales comparison, income, and cost approaches to value the subject property at $1, 810, 000 for 2011, $1, 830, 000 for 2012, and $1, 940, 000 for 2013. (Cert. Admin. R. at 174-75, 239-40.) The Assessor's appraisal report also used the sales comparison, income, and cost approaches to value the property, but arrived at the higher assessed values of $2, 470, 000 for 2011, $2, 510, 000 for 2012, and $2, 555, 000 for 2013. (Cert. Admin. R. at 258, 381.)

         After submitting the stipulated evidence, CVS asked the Indiana Board to take judicial notice of the records of two prior administrative proceedings involving the same parties and the same appraisers.[1] (Cert. Admin. R. at 1329 n. 1.) Although the prior administrative records involved two distinct CVS properties, each having its own property-specific appraisal, CVS claimed that the testimony within those prior records would demonstrate that in the current matter the CVS appraisal was generally more probative than that of the Assessor. (See generally Cert. Admin. R. at 1329, 1332-48.)

         On June 15, 2016, the Indiana Board issued its final determination. It first denied CVS's request for judicial notice, stating that the prior administrative records were not part of the stipulated evidence. (Cert. Admin. R. at 60 ¶ 6 n.4.) Then, after weighing the evidence, the Indiana Board determined the property's value by adopting the portions of each appraisal report it found most reliable: the land values from CVS's appraisal report and the improvement values from the Assessor's appraisal report. (Cert. Admin. R. at 76-82, 83-84 ¶¶ 78-79.) This resulted in a final value for the property of $2, 332, 295 for 2011, $2, 361, 749 for 2012, and $2, 342, 793 for 2013. (Cert. Admin. R. at 84 ¶ 79.)

         CVS initiated this original tax appeal on July 28, 2016. The Court heard the parties' oral arguments on March 7, 2017. 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). CVS must therefore demonstrate that the Indiana Board's final determination 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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