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Tax Court rules on inheritance tax valuation

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The Indiana Tax Court has rejected an estate’s attempt to sidestep trial rules by allowing verified tax returns to stand in for affidavits in determining a property’s fair market value.

The ruling came today in Estate of Christine L. Neterer, Deceased; Deborah Pollock and Marilyn Humbarger, Co-Personal Representatives v. Indiana Dept. of State Revenue, No. 49T10-1006-TA-26, an estate case in which Senior Judge Thomas Fisher ruled that the Indiana Department of Revenue has the ability to investigate any circumstances relating to inheritance tax enforcement and collection.

Deborah Pollock and Marilyn Humbarger served as personal representatives for the estate of their aunt Christine L. Neterer, who died in 2006 and shared one half interest in real property located in Elkhart County. An appraisal found the property had a fair market value of $855,250, and after a 30 percent discount and reduction by the county assessor, the estate’s inheritance tax liability was almost $31,938.

Shortly thereafter, the state department issued a notice indicating the property value and inheritance tax was higher because a life insurance policy had not been included in the return and the 30 percent discount wasn’t allowed. As a result, the estate was ordered to pay $13,279 more in inheritance tax.

The estate disagreed with the 30 percent discount disallowance, but eventually the estate paid the requested additional amount in full. More than a year later, the estate filed an administrative claim contending it was entitled to a refund of the additional tax amount it had paid. That led to a case in Elkhart Circuit’s Probate Court, and the trial judge ultimately found the state department didn’t improperly collect the taxes or disallow the discount under Indiana Code 6-4.1-3-13.

Specifically, the estate tried to use verified tax returns to prove the fair market value warranted the 30 percent discount, rather than supporting or opposing affidavits that are required under Indiana Trial 56(E). The probate court found that the estate didn’t supply those affidavits and so didn’t offer adequate evidence showing the need for the 30 percent discount.

Evidence submitted by the estate wasn’t compiled by experts, Fisher wrote, and it didn’t show the 30 percent discounted was warranted. Fisher affirmed the Probate Court’s summary judgment grant in favor of the state department.

 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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