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Tax Court: Assessor did not comport with notice requirements for back taxes

May 13, 2015

Although the Grant County assessor was authorized to assess two subject properties under I.C. 6-1.1-9-1, which allows for retroactive assessment, the assessor did not give the taxpayer sufficient notice of certain assessments, the Indiana Tax Court ruled Tuesday.

In Property Development Company Four, LLC v. Grant County Assessor, 49T10-1401-TA-3, Property Development Company Four LLC appealed the Indiana Board of Tax Review’s final determination that upheld the Grant County assessor’s assessments of its real property for the 2004, 2005 and 2006 tax years. Property Development purchased two parcels in separate subdivisions in 2003 to construct homes for the disabled. The assessor did not assess the subject properties at that time because she did not have notice construction began.

In 2006, the assessor assessed the Eastway Drive property for the 2004 and 2005 tax years, and she found the assessments increased nearly 10-fold. In 2007, the assessor assessed the Aspen Court property for the 2004, 2005 and 2006 tax years, and the assessments for those years also substantially increased. The assessor applied each assessment retroactively under I.C. 6-1.1-9-4 because the improvements were omitted from the assessment rolls post-construction.

The assessor also mailed Form 122s to Property Development and to Coronado Ridge Development Corp., the prior owner of the Aspen Court property, indicating the assessments increased.

Ultimately, the Indiana Board of Tax Review upheld the assessments of the Eastway Drive property and the 2005 and 2006 assessments of the Aspen Court property. Property Development appealed, claiming the tax board misapplied the law when it upheld the assessments and that the board erred in concluding Property Development received proper notice of the assessments.

“The fact that these properties could have been assessed when they were subdivided for development under Indiana Code § 6-1.1-4-12 cannot preclude their retroactive assessment, as Property Development urges, because doing so would defeat the purpose of Indiana Code § 6-1.1-9-4. Consequently, Property Development has not shown that the Indiana Board’s final determination that upheld the assessments of the subject properties under Indiana Code § 6-1.1-9-4 was contrary to law,” Judge Martha Wentworth wrote.

Wentworth found the Form 122s sent by the assessor do not comport with the notice requirements of I.C. 6-1.1-9-1 because none contained statements regarding Property Development’s rights to a preliminary conference or review under I.C. 6-1.1-15.1. In addition, the company’s tax bills do not satisfy the notice requirements of I.C. 6-1.1-9-1.

Wentworth remanded the matter to the tax board for further action.

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