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Tax court affirms classification of beneficiaries

June 28, 2013

A Hamilton County judge correctly classified beneficiaries as Class B and Class C transferees, subjecting them to higher taxes under Indiana’s inheritance tax, the Indiana Tax Court ruled Friday.

Tax Court Senior Judge Thomas Fisher affirmed the probate court ruling in Geoffrey Odle, Personal Representative of the Estate of Floyd L. Odle, Deceased v. Indiana Dept. of State Revenue, 49T10-1210-TA-61, in which the beneficiaries are nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. Floyd Odle and his late wife had no children, according to the record.

The estate paid inheritance taxes with beneficiaries classified as Class B or Class C transferees, but then filed a refund claim with the Department of Revenue, arguing the beneficiaries should have been classified as Class A transferees. The claim was denied the same day and later affirmed by a probate court.

Fisher rejected the estate’s argument that Indiana’s inheritance tax, which will be eliminated July 1, was a scheme that violated Article 1, Section 12 and Article 4, Section 22 of the Indiana Constitution.

"The Estate has not demonstrated that the inheritance tax classification scheme violates Section 12 by imposing inequitable administration costs and remedies," Fisher wrote. The estate also failed to establish the tax classification statutes were “special laws” on taxation in violation of Section 22.

"For the above-stated reasons, the Court affirms the probate court’s determination that Floyd’s beneficiaries were properly classified as Class B and C transferees for Indiana inheritance tax purposes."

 

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