Tax Court: Shopping center’s assessment should be reduced

The Indiana Tax Court ruled a shopping center’s property assessment should be reduced for the 2006 tax year.

Gateway Arthur owned The Shoppes at County Line Road during the 2006 tax year, which the Marion County assessor valued at $17,451,900 for the 2006 tax year. In 2008, Gateway challenged that figure with the Marion County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals, but it did not issue an opinion in time. Gateway then sought relief from the Indiana Board of Tax Review, which dropped the value of the property to $10,504,100. It found the assessor did not make a prima facie case because his evidence lacked probative value.

The assessor said Gateway should bear the burden of proof because of the burden shifting statute. However, the tax court said that statute has always been triggered by a property assessment increase over 5 percent, and the assessment increased by more than 5 percent from 2005 to 2006. Thus, the assessor bore the burden of proof under the statute.

The assessor also said the board erred in determining his evidence did not have probative value. However, the court was presented with conflicting evidence, and when presented with that it always defers to the board as long as a reasonable mind could find sufficient evidence to support the finding. Also, a printout the assessor had did not include all of the requisite information needed, and Gateway’s evidence was persuasive.

Finally the assessor claimed the board erred in its $10,504,100 valuation because Gateway did not present any valuation evidence of its own. However, Gateway was not required to submit valuation evidence under an amendment to the burden-shifting statute. Also, the statute directs the reinstatement of the valuation from the year before, which is where the valuation number comes from, when the assessor fails to satisfy its burden of proof and the taxpayer did not offer its own valuation evidence.

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


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