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Court upholds denial of tax exemptions

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The Indiana Tax Court Tuesday ruled that the state Board of Tax Review did not err when it determined a nonprofit in Mooresville was not entitled to either a fraternal beneficiary association exemption or a charitable purposes exemption for the 2006 tax year.

The Fraternal Order of Eagles #3988, a mutual benefit corporation, is a nonprofit whose motto is “People helping People.” It owned a lodge in Mooresville used to raise funds for charitable organizations, collect donations for needy family and to host private events for its members. In 2006, Eagles sought either a fraternal beneficiary association exemption or a charitable purposes exemption for the 2006 tax year on its real and personal property, which was denied by the county property tax assessment board of appeals.

The Indiana Board of Tax Review held a hearing at which Eagles presented its charitable donation records for 2003 through 2006, its monthly profit/loss statements for 2005, several affidavits, and a usage study to show that it used its property for fraternal and charitable purposes. The tax board denied the exemptions, which the Indiana Tax Court upheld in Fraternal Order of Eagles #3988, Inc. v. Morgan County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals and Morgan County Assessor, 49T10-1201-TA-4.

Eagles claimed the board’s determination that it failed to establish a prima facie case that it was entitled to the fraternal beneficiary association exemption under Indiana Code 6-1.1-10-23 or to the charitable purposes exemption under Indiana Code 6-1.1-10-16 is contrary to law and unsupported by substantial evidence.

“Eagles was required to present probative evidence demonstrating that it satisfies the statutory definition of a fraternal beneficiary association set forth in Indiana Code § 27-11-1-1. Eagles’ recognition as an I.R.C. § 501(c)(8) fraternal beneficiary society, order, or association for federal income tax purposes does not, by itself, establish that Eagles met all the definitional requirements contained in Indiana Code § 27-11-1-1. Moreover, Eagles failed to show how its other documentary and testimonial evidence satisfied each element of the definition of a ‘fraternal beneficiary association’ as defined under Indiana Code § 27-11-1-1,” Judge Martha Wentworth wrote.

Eagles’ evidence didn’t indicate whether it has a representative form of government as required under the statute, and the evidence could not independently demonstrate that Eagles met the six statutorily prescribed elements of the definition of “fraternal beneficiary association.”

Eagles used its property both for a variety of social and recreational purposes and for charitable purposes, but the usage report didn’t provide the board with a comparison of the relative amounts of time that the lodge was used for exempt and non-exempt purposes, Wentworth wrote. Eagles’ failure to provide this comparison was fatal to its claim for either a full or a partial exemption regarding the charitable purposes exemption.  

 

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  1. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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