Court declines to rule on constitutionality of statute as it relates to auditors

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Because the Marion County auditor does not have statutory or common law standing to appeal a property tax assessment board of appeals’ decision under Indiana Code 6-1.1-15-12 to the Indiana Tax Court, its judge, Martha Wentworth, held that the constitutional challenge raised regarding the statute will have to be decided another day.

Grandville Cooperative Inc., which owns a multi-family cooperative apartment complex in Indianapolis, successfully challenged through petitions for correction of an error (Forms 133) that it was entitled to homestead deductions for the tax years 2010 through 2012. The Marion County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals reversed the decision of the auditor when it found Grandville did qualify for the deduction. The Marion County auditor appealed to the Indiana Board of Tax Review, which dismissed, finding the auditor didn’t have standing to appeal under Indiana Code 6-1.1-15-12. That statute only permits taxpayers to appeal to the Board of Tax Review from a PTABOA determination on a Form 133. The auditor then appealed to the Tax Court. The state sought a dismissal based on the auditor’s lack of standing, which Wentworth granted.

The auditor conceded she lacked standing but argued that the Tax Court should still review her appeal because government officials have standing to challenge the constitutionality of laws in court, and this issue will affect auditors around the state.

 “This Court is a creature of statute. As such, it may only determine the constitutionality of Indiana Code § 6-1.1-15-12 when a case containing such a claim is properly before it. Here, the Auditor does not have statutory or common law standing to appeal the PTABOA’s decision on Grandville’s Forms 133 to this Court. Accordingly, the issue of whether Indiana Code § 6-1.1-15-12 is unconstitutional must be decided another day. The State’s motion to dismiss the Auditor’s appeal pursuant to Trial Rule 12(B)(6) is hereby GRANTED,” Wentworth wrote in Marion County Auditor v. State of Indiana, 49T10-1406-TA-25.  


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