Convenience stores win one, lose one in property assessment battle

In a pair of decisions, the Indiana Tax Court has upheld two rulings that found different valuations for the same property.

At issue is the value of a Bloomington gas station and convenience store owned by Kooshtard Property I, LLC.

In one case, the Monroe County Assessor appealed the finding of the Indiana Board of Tax Review which found Kooshtard’s land assessments to be $300,000 for the 2008, 2009 and 2011 tax years. In the other case, Kooshtard challenged the IBTR’s determination that the same property was valued at $1.05 million for the 2010 tax year.

The Tax Court affirmed both rulings by the IBTR.

For the 2008, 2009 and 2011 tax years, the Monroe County assessor valued Kooshtard’s three-acre parcel at $1.2 million for each year. Kooshtard appealed and offered its own appraisal of $300,000.

The assessor claimed the appraisal lacked probative value.

Although it acknowledged it was troubled by certain aspects of the appraisal, IBTR concluded the appraisal provided the best indication of the value of the land. The board noted neither the appraisal nor the assessor presented any evidence to support or rebut their findings, but the assessor also did not have the sales data to support her assessments.

The IBTR issued its final determination on Oct. 19, 2012. The assessor initiated its original tax appeal on Nov. 7, 2012, and the Tax Court heard oral arguments on June 7, 2013.

In Monroe County Assessor v. Kooshtard Property I, LLC, 49T10-1211-TA-00071, the Tax Court concluded the IBTR acted as an impartial adjudicator in finding Kooshtard’s evidence best reflected the value of the land.

Challenging the assessed value for the tax year 2010, Kooshtard submitted an appraisal, valuing its property at $300,000. The assessor, which valued the property at $1.2 million, countered that Kooshtard’s appraisal used unreliable sales data.

The IBTR was persuaded by the assessor’s analysis but still found it contained flaws. Accordingly, the board reduced the assessment to $1.05 million in March 2014.

Kooshtard appealed the ruling on April 24, 2014, and the Tax Court heard oral arguments on Jan. 23, 2015.

In Kooshtard Property I, LLC v. Monroe County Assessor, 49T10-1404-TA-00015, the Tax Court, again upheld the IBTR’s ruling.
“Kooshtard did not present any evidence, binding legal authority, or persuasive authority during the administrative hearing that impeached (the assessor’s) testimony,” Senior Judge Thomas Fisher wrote. “Accordingly, Kooshtard has not demonstrated that the Indiana Board abused its discretion when it accepted (the assessor’s) testimony….”

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