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Evidence shows outrage over property tax assessment is a case of ‘buyer’s remorse’

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A dispute over a property tax assessment of a mobile home park is a case of buyer’s remorse and not indicative of an error by the Indiana Board of Tax Review, the Indiana Tax Court has ruled.

In Shelbyville MHPI, LLC v. Anne Thurston, in her official capacity as Assessor, Shelby County, 49T10-1003-TA-14, the Indiana Tax Court affirmed the IBTR’s decision to uphold the Shelby County assessor’s assessment of the property.  

Shelbyville MHPI, LLC bought a 51.04 acre mobile home park in December 2004 for $4,266,400. This amount was close to an independent appraisal that valued a portion of the park at $4.2 million.

For the 2006 tax year, the Shelby County assessor assessed MHPI’s property at $4,983,300. When MHPI appealed, the Shelby County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals reduced the assessment to $4,263,800.

However in October 2008, MHPI appealed to the IBTR, claiming its assessment was still too high. During the hearing, MHPI presented an appraisal that estimated the market value-in-use of the park at $2.9 million as of Jan. 1, 2005. In response, the assessor presented an appraisal which valued the property at $4.2 million as of Nov. 4, 2004. The assessor pointed out that MHPI purchased the park for just over $4.2 million in December 2004 which supported the county’s assessment.

The IBTR found the assessor’s evidentiary presentation more persuasive and upheld MHPI’s assessment.

MHPI appealed to the Indiana Tax Court. It asserted, in part, that the IBTR should have completely rejected or significantly discounted the assessor’s December 2004 sales evidence because MHPI had demonstrated it never would have paid over $4.2 million for the property had it known that Indiana’s re-trending process would cause the property taxes to “sky rocket.”

In addressing that issue, the court found MHPI made an incorrect assumption when it thought its assessment and associated property tax liability would remain relatively constant. The December 2004 sales evidence reflected both the robustness and stability of the manufactured home market for the 2006 tax year but also shows what MHPI believed the property to be worth at the time of purchase.

In opinion, Senior Judge Thomas Fisher wrote, “Accordingly, while MHPI’s current complaints regarding its ‘sky rocketing’ property taxes are indicative of buyer’s remorse, they do not require the complete rejection or substantial discounting of the December 2004 sales evidence.”

 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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