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Tax Court affirms 2006 assessment appealed pro se

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Although sympathetic to a mother and daughter’s plight, the Indiana Tax Court affirmed the 2006 assessment of a downtown Indianapolis condominium. The judge pointed out that pro se litigants are held to the same standards as licensed attorneys.

Jaklin Idris and Dariana Kamenova owned the 2,135 square-foot condo unit in a building with two bars on the first three floors and residential condos on the second three floors. The condo was assessed at $395,900 for the 2006 tax year.

Idris appealed, and Kamenova argued before the Indiana Board of Tax Review in 2011 that the assessment should be $270,000 based on excessive noise, foul odors and persistence crime. She also claimed their unit was over-assessed and presented the Marion County Tax Reports and real estate listings for those units.  The board declined to reduce the assessment.

On appeal in Jaklin Idris and Dariana Kamenova v. Marion County Assessor, 49T10-1108-TA-49, Idris claimed that the board abused its discretion in finding that Kamenova failed to establish that their property was entitled to an obsolescence adjustment and in determining that the assessments of the three other units in their building failed to show that their property was over-assessed. Idris also argued that the board erred in upholding their assessment given the assessor’s improper use of the “one unit multiple units” classification.

Senior Judge Thomas Fisher noted that the record in the case shows that Kamenova did not offer any quantification or any other evidence to substantiate her claim that certain factors had diminished the value of her property by $125,900. And her evidence regarding the other units in the building did not establish that her assessment should be reduced because Kamenova did not provide any meaningful analysis as to the comparability of those properties nor did she attempt to explain how her unit was the same or different from those units.

Fisher found the plaintiffs waived the “one unit multiple units” classification argument because there is no evidence on the record that the assessor used such a classification and this argument was not presented to the Indiana Board of Tax Review.

“Kamenova’s and Idris’s presentations to both the Indiana Board and the Court reflect some of the challenges taxpayers have in understanding the complexities of our property tax system. While the Court is sympathetic to their plight, it is bound to apply the laws as written because pro se litigants are held to the same rules and standards as licensed attorneys,” Fisher wrote in upholding the assessment.
 

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