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Judge: Undeveloped land can be assessed as agricultural

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The Indiana Tax Court Friday upheld a final determination by the Indiana Board of Tax Review to assess farm land as agricultural that was purchased by a developer but remained undeveloped for years.

In Hamilton County Assessor v. Allisonville Road Development, LLC, 49T10-1204-TA-30, the Hamilton County assessor appealed the board’s final determination, which reduced Allisonville Road Development’s 2008 assessment to $15,684 on vacant land located in Fishers. The land had been in the hand of developers since the 1990s; it was actively farmed prior to that. Allisonville Road Development purchased the parcels in 2006.

The land developer challenged the assessor’s change in property classification from agricultural land to undeveloped, useable commercial land. No commercial activity had taken place on the land. The land was originally assessed at $2.237 million, which was reduced by the county property tax assessment board of appeals to $1.427 million before the developer appealed to the Board of Tax Review.

The Board of Tax Review explained that land could be reassessed under Indiana Code 6-1.1-4-12 if new events occurred, such as a change in the land’s use. Cessation of farming activities didn’t constitute a change sufficient to warrant reassessment.

“Here, the Assessor claims that the subject property has been used for commercial purposes since the 1990s because that is when it was sold to commercial developers and all active farming operations ceased. Thus, the Assessor equates a ‘change in use’ to nothing more than a change in ownership and potential use. A ‘change in use’ under Indiana Code § 6-1.1-4-12, however, requires something more,” Senior Judge Thomas Fisher wrote.

“Under the 2002 version of Indiana Code § 6-1.1-4-12, reassessments based on new classifications are permissible when land is subdivided into lots, rezoned, or put to a different use: i.e., when events that indicate that commercial development is imminent occur. Here, the cessation of farming activities and the subsequent non-use of land does not necessarily evidence the imminence of commercial development.”

 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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