Tax Court reverses educational property tax exemption

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Tax Court has reversed an educational property tax exemption for a Carmel day care after finding that the land’s owner failed to properly compare the total time the property was used for educational purposes against the total time the day care utilized the land.

In Hamilton County Assessor v. Charles E. Duke, 49T10-1309-TA-69, Charles Duke incorporated the Little Lamb Daycare, Inc. as a for-profit corporation and opened the day care on his property in Carmel. The daycare used a Bible-based curriculum that instructed children up to 6 years old in various educational subjects, though its lessons were not governed by a specific church or denomination. 

In the 2009, 2010 and 2011 tax years, Duke filed three property tax exemption applications, claiming that because Little Lamb used 84 percent of the property for educational and religious purposes, that portion of his property was entitled to exemption under Indiana Code 6-1.1-10-16 and 6-1.1-10-36.3 After the Hamilton County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals denied his request, Duke appealed to the Indiana Board of Tax Review, which denied his partial religious exemption but granted his partial education exemption.

The Hamilton County assessor appealed, arguing that the board erred in granting 84 percent of the property an educational exemption because Duke failed to identify the time spent on specific exempt activities and compare that to the total amount of time the property was used. Duke, however, contended that the board erred in denying his partial religious exemption.

The evidence in the case shows that Little Lamb used the property for both educational and non-educational purposes, Indiana Tax Court Judge Martha Blood Wentworth wrote in a Friday opinion. However, Duke failed to identify how the day care’s activities furthered educational purposes, and also did not compare the amounts of time the property was used for education against the total time it was in use, she wrote. Without that comparison, Wentworth said the board’s determination in Duke’s favor on the issue of the partial education exemption was contrary to law.

Similarly, Wentworth wrote that Duke failed to explain how the day care’s activities furthered religious purposes and also did not provide a comparison of the time spent of religious activities versus the total time the daycare was in use on Duke’s property. Thus, the board was correct to deny Duke’s partial religious exemption, the judge said.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....