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Tax Court sidesteps first-impression issue

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Although the Indiana Tax Court had the opportunity to address an issue of first impression, it decided to save its analysis of the issue for another day because the case could be resolved on other grounds.

The opportunity arose in Big Foot Stores LLC v. Franklin Township Assessor, et al., Nos. 49T10-0712-TA-74, -75, -76, and -77. Big Foot appealed the Indiana Board of Tax Review's final determinations that upheld the 2003 interim assessments of three of Big Foot's convenience stores and an office building in Grant County. The assessors believed the properties were undervalued and reassessed them. As a result, the assessments on the properties jumped more than $200,000 each.

Tax Judge Thomas Fisher found the tax board didn't err when it determined the assessors' interim assessments were authorized under Indiana Code Section 6-1.1-9-1.

Big Foot argued the assessments were improper because they were "sales chasing" or "spot assessments" because Big Foot's stores were the only ones to be reassessed because they had been sold. Whether interim assessments of two recently sold classes of property may be upheld when unsold properties of the same classifications and within the same taxing jurisdiction were not reassessed is one of first impression in Indiana.

But instead of analyzing that issue, Judge Fisher resolved the appeal using established caselaw. The assessors needed to provide some explanation as to how the June 19, 2002, and July 16, 2003, sales prices of Big Foot's properties were related to their values as of Jan. 1, 1999, the appropriate valuation date for the 2003 tax year.

The assessors made no showing, so the tax board erred in upholding Big Foot's 2003 interim assessments because they were based on market value-in-use evidence which had no probative value with respect to the appropriate valuation date, wrote Judge Fisher.

He remanded it to the tax board so that it may instruct the appropriate assessing officials to reinstate the assessed values assigned to Big Foot's properties during the 2002 tax year.

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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