LAKE COUNTY TRUST CO., TRUST NO. 6, (FLOWERS FROM HEAVEN, INC.) Petitioner,
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY ASSESSOR, Respondent.
APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE INDIANA BOARD OF TAX
ATTORNEY FOR PETITIONER: SHAWN F. SULLIVAN ATTORNEY AT LAW
South Bend, IN
ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT: CURTIS T. HILL, JR. ATTORNEY
GENERAL OF INDIANA WINSTON LIN PARVINDER K. NIJJAR DEPUTY
ATTORNEYS GENERAL Indianapolis, IN
case concerns whether the Indiana Board of Tax Review erred
when it dismissed Lake County Trust Co., Trust No. 6's
appeal sua sponte without a motion. The Court
reverses and remands the Indiana Board's dismissal.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
for Heaven, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization based in St.
Joseph County. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 29, 31.) It
operates a pro-life ministry from property located in South
Bend, Indiana. (Cert. Admin. R. at 2-3, 26 n.1.)
13, 2013, Flowers filed an Application for Property Tax
Exemption (Form 136) for the 2013 tax year with the St.
Joseph County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals
(PTABOA) seeking a charitable purposes exemption for its
personal property and the land and improvements from which it
operated. (Cert. Admin. R. at 29.) On August 8, 2013, the
PTABOA issued two Notices of Action on Property Tax Exemption
(Forms 120): one granting a 100% exemption for Flowers'
personal property and the other denying an exemption for the
real property. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 7-10.) On the
Form 120 denying the real property exemption, the PTABOA
listed "Lake County Trust Company[, ] Trust No. 6
(Flowers for Heaven)" as the property owner instead of
Flowers, which was the owner listed on the Form 136.
(Compare Cert. Admin. R. at 7-8 with 29.)
The PTABOA stated the reason for its denial as follows:
The property tax assessment board of appeals has denied this
application for 100% tax exemption due to the fact that this
property is not in the charitable entit[y']s name
'Flower[s] for Heaven Inc[.]' [T]his is according to
I.C. [§] 6-1.1-10-16.
(Cert. Admin. R. at 8.)
the Trust, as the entity that received the PTABOA's Form
120 denial, filed the Petition for Correction of an Error
(Form 133) with the PTABOA on May 15, 2014. (See
Cert. Admin. R. at 2.) On its Form 133, the Trust
specifically contended the error was made by the PTABOA when
it named Lake County Trust Co., Trust No. 6 on the Form 120
is just a holding conduit for the taxpayer [Flowers] who is a
tax exempt entity performing tax exempt functions. The
taxpayer has exclusive use of the property for their exempt
activity and can revoke the trust at anytime, i.e., a
revocable trust. Property held in a revocable trust is
considered property of the owners. In this case Flowers for
(Cert. Admin. R. at 3.) The PTABOA denied the Form 133 appeal
On August 8, 2013, the petitioner[, the Trust, ] received a
Notice of Action on Exemption Application. On that notice it
stated that the application was DENIED. At that time a Form
to the State should have been filed, ...