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Judge: Reformatted tax appeal untimely

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Even though a couple had originally filed their tax appeal within the 45-day deadline, the Indiana Tax Court still dismissed their appeal because their reformatted documents and notice of intent to appeal weren't filed until after the deadline.

In E.L. & B.L. Holsapple v. Monroe County Assessor, No. 49T10-0907, TA-33, the Holsapples wanted to appeal the final determination by the Indiana Board of Tax Review regarding the real property assessment of their duplex, pole barn, and one acre of land for the 2006 and 2007 tax years. The board issued its final determination May 8, 2009. The Holsapples, pro se, filed a handwritten petition to appeal with the clerk's office June 22. The petition was returned two days later for reformatting. The Holsapples resubmitted the documents July 3 and the clerk forwarded and mailed copies of the petition to the appropriate parties.

The Monroe County Assessor moved to dismiss the appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the petition wasn't filed within 45 days. The Holsapples maintained the Tax Court should recognize the June 22 date as the date they filed and consider the reformatted petition to be an amendment to that filing. They believed the letter they received from the clerk requesting them to reformat their petition granted them a reasonable extension to file.

Even if Tax Court Judge Thomas Fisher assumed the reformatted petition relates back to June 22, the court still lacks jurisdiction to hear the appeal because copies of the petitions weren't served nor was notice of intent to appeal filed with the Indiana Board of Tax Review within the deadline, he wrote. As such, he granted the assessor's motion to dismiss.

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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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