APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE INDIANA BOARD OF TAX
ATTORNEY FOR PETITIONER: JONATHON T. COOK SANSBERRY DICKMANN
BUILTA & COOK Anderson, IN
ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT: CURTIS T. HILL, JR. ATTORNEY
GENERAL OF INDIANA REBECCA L. McCLAIN WINSTON LIN
ALEKSANDRINA P. PRATT DEPUTY ATTORNEYS GENERAL Indianapolis,
Museum, Inc. challenges the final determination of the
Indiana Board of Tax Review holding that its real property
did not qualify for either the educational purposes exemption
or the charitable purposes exemption for the 2014 tax year.
Upon review, the Court affirms in part and reverses in part
the Indiana Board's final determination.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
McClain Museum, located in Anderson, Indiana, exhibits
military equipment that was used by the United States'
armed forces in various conflicts ranging from World War I
through Desert Storm. (See, e.g., Cert. Admin. R. at
98, 102, 151-64, 191-257, 1054-55, 1404-13.) Founded in 1989
by Joseph McClain, a local Vietnam War veteran, the Museum
was established as an Indiana not-for-profit corporation and
granted an exemption from federal income taxation pursuant to
IRC § 501(c)(3). (See Cert. Admin. R. at 99,
118-19, 1044, 1092.) The Museum's purpose, as stated in
its Bylaws, is:
(1) To acquire and conserve motorized and non-motorized
vehicles and equipment for historical preservation.
(2) To exhibit the collection of vehicles and equipment for
purpose of educating visiting public.
(3) To collect, restore and exhibit military armored
(4) To conduct research in the area of motorized and
non-motorized vehicles and equipment and collect information
for future preservation.
(5) To acquire, rebuild, and rent vehicles and equipment for
public use and display.
(6) Establish a facility for display of vehicles and
(7) To acquire and conserve historical items of Madison
County's industrial and manufacturing history for an
in-house, outreach and traveling exhibits.
(8) To use the historical collection to educate and preserve
Madison County's natural and cultural history and
(9) To use the collection for scholarly research.
(10)Solely in furtherance of the aforesaid purposes to
transact any and all lawful business for which a
not-for-profit corporation may be incorporated under the
Indiana Business Corporation Law, provided such business is
not inconsistent with the corporation being organized and
operated exclusively for charitable, educational, vocational
and scientific purposes.
(Cert. Admin. R. at 102.) The Museum is recognized by the
United States Army as a historical preservation site for
military equipment. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 135,
Museum's property consists of two buildings and a parking
lot situated on approximately 18 acres of partially wooded
land. (See, e.g., Cert. Admin. R. at 150-90,
699-700.) The larger of the two buildings, at approximately
88, 600 square feet, is divided into several discrete
(1) an exhibition area and library where retired military
tanks, vehicles, equipment, artillery-related items,
uniforms, photographs, manuals and books are displayed for
(2) a restoration area where military vehicles are serviced,
repaired and maintained;
(3) a storage area where exhibit items and excess vehicle
parts are housed when not on display or in use;
(4) a reception/meeting hall known as the "Officer's
(See, e.g., Cert. Admin. R. at 150, 191-340,
1124-28, 1198-99, 1315-19.) (See also generally
Cert. Admin. R. at 1194-1233 (testimony describing the
approximately 200 photographs of the subject property).) The
smaller building, at approximately 5, 400 square feet, is
used entirely for military vehicle storage. (Cert. Admin. R.
at 150.) (See also Oral Arg. Tr. at 3.)
the year at issue, the Museum was open to the general public
Wednesday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (See
Cert. Admin. R. at 567, 662-63.) Nevertheless, the Museum was
open upon request and guided tours were available by
appointment. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 567, 662-63,
1093-94, 1375.) Guided tours were conducted for various
veterans groups, school groups, scouting groups, police
groups, and groups interested in military communications.
(See, e.g., Cert. Admin. R. at 567, 1370-77.) With