Tax Court affirms denial of exemptions on lake property

February 20, 2015

A Lake Wawasee homeowners association failed to persuade the Indiana Tax Court to overturn Board of Tax Review denials of exemptions for waterfront property it claimed was maintained to retain and preserve the natural characteristics of land and water.

The court on Thursday affirmed the Board of Tax Review’s denial of property tax exemptions for 2009 and 2010 in Marineland Gardens Community Association, Inc. v. Kosciusko County Assessor, 45T10-1210-TA-65.

Tax Court Judge Martha Blood Wentworth affirmed the board, writing that in order for Marineland to claim the exemption, it had to show it was established for the purpose of retaining and preserving its land for its natural characteristics, per I.C. 6.1-1-10-16(c)(3). Instead, Marineland testified as to how it used its land.

But Wentworth wrote that even some of that evidence was contradictory. While Marineland claimed it does not conduct business or permit outside vendors on the land, which is open to public access, several parcels contained improvements such as gravel parking lots, boat docks, a seawall and utility poles with lighting.

“(A) reasonable person viewing the record would find enough relevant evidence to support denying the exemption because Marineland did not explain how its evidence indicates that it was established for the purpose of retaining and preserving the land and water for its natural characteristics,” Wentworth wrote in affirming the Board of Tax Review.




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