A Warrick County man fighting the 2009 tax year assessment of his land received only a partial victory in the Indiana Tax Court Tuesday. The validity of his 2009 assessment will stand.
Douglas G. Kildsig owned 12.648 acres in the county, which included his residence, two pole barns, a lake and 11 acres of woods. The property was assessed at $192,000. Kildsig appealed, claiming because the 2009 assessment was 5 percent higher than his 2008 assessment, the assessor had to establish the validity of this 2009 assessment under I.C. 6-1.1-15-1(p). He also argued his assessment was incorrect because the 11 acres were improperly classified as residential excess acreage rather than agricultural land. He claimed he grew trees on the land to use as firewood to heat his residence, and his neighbor’s adjacent land was classified as agricultural.
The Indiana Board of Tax Review held that the burden-shifting rule at issue didn’t apply to its proceedings and that the land was properly classified. Tax Judge Martha Wentworth reversed with respect to the burden-shifting rule determination, noting a recent decision that the rule applies throughout the entire appeals process, not just the initial proceedings.
Wentworth also held in Douglas G. Kildsig v. Warrick County Assessor, 82T10-1101-TA-2, that substantial evidence presented by the assessor supports the classification of residential excess acreage for the 2009 tax year. She claimed because Kildsig hunted in the wooded area and used its timber to heat his home, he used the land for recreational and residential purposes. Also, the adjacent land was used by his neighbor as part of an income-producing farm. Finally, she pointed out that Kildsig’s land had been incorrectly classified as agricultural land for years and she informed him several years before the 2009 assessment that his land, and other area properties that were misclassified, would be switched to the correct classifications at the same time.