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Tax Court affirms board’s valuations of Bloomington CVS store

May 26, 2017

In a case involving the same litigants, attorneys and issues previously raised by the Monroe County assessor and CVS corporation, the Indiana Tax Court has affirmed the Indiana Board of Tax Review’s final determination as to the assessed value of a CVS store in Bloomington.

During the 2007 through 2013 tax years, the Monroe County assessor assessed the Bloomington store’s property at values ranging from roughly $2.9 million to $3.1 million. CVS, however, thought the assessments were too high, so the store appealed to the Monroe County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals, which affirmed the assessments for each year.

During a subsequent administrative hearing before the Indiana Board of Tax Review, an appraisal report submitted by CVS alleged the cost approach was not applicable and, instead, relied solely on sales-comparison and income approaches. Those approaches yielded assessed values of $1.75 million to $2.04 million.

The assessor’s appraisal report, however, used all three approaches to reach values similar to, though slightly lower than, what had earlier been assessed. Further, the assessor presented another report that found CVS’ report was flawed because the cost approach was not applied and the sales-comparison and income approaches used non-comparable properties.

In November 2015, the Indiana Board issued a final determination finding CVS’ valuation under the income approach was the best evidence of market value-in-use.  The board then found assessed values ranging from $1.85 million to $2.2 million.

The assessor appealed in Monroe County Assessor v. SCP 2002 E19 LLC 6697, a/k/a CVS 6697-02, 49T10-1512-TA-32, arguing the board’s final determination was “random, not supported by substantial evidence, and lacks a coherent/rational basis for the values it reached.” Specifically, the assessor claimed the final determination was contrary to law because “it did not value the subject property in accordance with Indiana’s market value-in-use standard” under Indiana Code sections 6-1.1-4-43 and -44.

But Indiana Tax Court Judge Martha Blood Wentworth disagreed, writing Thursday she had rejected a similar argument involving another CVS store in Monroe County Assessor v. SCP 2007-C-26-002, LLC, 62 N.E.3d 478, 481 n.1 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2016). Thus, Wentworth declined to address the same argument in the current CVS case.

The assessor further argued the final determination was not support by substantial or reliable evidence and that the board should not have relied on CVS’ income approach because its values were close to those under the sales-comparison approach, which the board had rejected for including properties inconsistent with Indiana Code section 6-1.1-4-44(d)(1).

But “the Assessor has not identified evidence that demonstrates that the Indiana Board’s final determination is against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances in this matter,” Wentworth wrote. Thus, there was substantial and reliable evidence to support the final determination.

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