Couple must pay taxes on home even if it wasn’t completed

The Indiana Tax Court upheld a decision Wednesday from the Indiana Board of Tax Review which said a couple must pay taxes on their residence whether or not it was completed.

Larry and Sharon Jones owned a house on 100 acres of farmland in Hanover. Their property was assessed at $501,400 in 2008 and the property was assessed at $505,100 in 2009. In April 2011, they challenged the assessed value of their house, saying it should be zero because the house was not yet completed.

The former trustee of Hanover Township corroborated their claim with an affidavit that said because of a disagreement between the Joneses and their contractor, the house was uninhabitable in 2008 and 2009 and should not have been assessed. The county assessor claimed the affidavit was not probative evidence, and the Indiana Board of Tax Review upheld the assessments based on that reasoning.

Judge Martha Blood Wentworth wrote in her decision that Indiana Code 6-1.1-2-1 says “all tangible property which is within the jurisdiction of this state on the assessment date of a year is subject to assessment and taxation for that year.” She said the focus of the case should not be on the correction of an error, but the valuation of the Joneses’ property.

Because the Joneses did not submit any evidence that their valuation should be any different, the tax court upheld the valuation.

The case is Larry G. Jones and Sharon F. Jones v. Jefferson County Assessor, 39T10-1308-TA-00068.

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