Judge: Tax board correctly reduced shopping center’s assessment

The Indiana Board of Tax Review did not err when it reduced the real property assessment of an Indianapolis shopping center by reinstating the previous year’s assessment, the Indiana Tax Court held Thursday.

The Marion County assessor challenged the tax board’s decision in 2012 to reinstate the 2005 settlement value of the property after the board determined the assessor failed to make a prima facie case regarding the 2006 assessment because the evidentiary presentation lacked probative value. The decision amounted to a nearly $7 million tax reduction for Gateway Arthur.

Gateway Arthur had appealed the 2006 assessment, and because it was an increase of more than 5 percent from the previous year, the assessor bore the burden of proof with respect to the appeal.

The assessor appealed, arguing that the tax board decision must be reversed because it erred in determining the assessor, rather than Gateway Arthur, bore the burden of proof and in determining that the assessor’s evidence lacked probative value. The assessor also challenged the decision to value the subject property at $10,504,100 for the 2006 tax year, the value from 2005.

The burden-shifting statute dictates in this instance that the burden of proof falls on the assessor because of the more than 5 percent increase in the assessment, Senior Judge Thomas Fisher wrote. The judge found the board faced conflicting evidence from the assessor regarding how it assessed the value of the property, so he deferred to the board’s decision.

There was no error by the board in reverting to the 2005 assessment, because the burden-shifting statute – which was amended while this appeal was pending and is applicable – dictates that the assessment for the prior year will be used. Under the plain language of the statute, Gateway Arthur was not required to submit independent valuation evidence as argued by the assessor.

The case is Marion County Assessor v. Gateway Arthur, Inc., 49T10-1212-TA-82.

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