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Judge: facility not exempt from property tax

February 17, 2012

The Indiana Tax Court has upheld the decision of the Indiana Board of Tax Review that a Tipton County assisted living facility failed to raise a prima facie case that it is exempt from property tax under Indiana Code 6-1.1-10-16.

In Tipton County Health Care Foundation, Inc, f/k/a Tipton County Memorial Hospital Foundation v. Tipton County Assessor, No. 49T10-1101-TA-6, the Tipton County Health Care Foundation filed for a charitable purposes tax exemption for the 2008 and 2009 tax years regarding the operation of Autumnwood, an assisted living facility. The facility was built by the Tipton County Hospital and later sold to the health care foundation. Miller’s Health Systems Inc. leased Autumnwood for five years pursuant to a triple net lease. Miller’s is an Indiana nonprofit that owns and operates nursing homes and assisted living communities.

The Tipton County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals denied the exemptions; the board of tax review held that the foundation didn’t make a prima facie case that Autumnwood was entitled to the charitable purposes exemption.

Judge Martha Wentworth upheld the review board’s decision, pointing out that just being an assisted living facility that cares for the elderly does not automatically make a facility exempt. Examining the lease, the judge found that its provisions indicate how Miller’s will use Autumnwood during its tenancy, not that Miller’s overall goal or purpose for its use is charitable. In addition, the certified administrative record regarding whether the arrangement between the foundation and Miller’s was entered into for a public benefit or a private benefit is woefully deficient, Wentworth wrote.


 

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