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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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