Indiana Tax Court declines to dismiss property tax appeal where Trust failed to timely file administrative record

Indiana Tax Court declines to dismiss property tax appeal where Trust failed to timely file administrative record

On December 30, 2016, in Lake County Trust Co., Trust No. 6 (Flowers for Heaven, Inc.) v. St. Joseph County Assessor, the Indiana Tax Court allowed a property tax appeal to move forward on the merits, even though the Trust failed to timely file a copy of the certified administrative record with the Court.  Tax Court Rule 3(E) requires the appealing party to file the record within thirty days of being notified of the record’s completion by the Indiana Board of Tax Review.  Here, the Trust undisputedly was approximately three months late in filing a copy of the record.  But the Assessor did not object to the late filing until after the Trust had filed its brief on the merits.  The Court observed that an objection to an untimely procedural prerequisite can be waived if not made at the “appropriate time” – which is the “earliest opportunity.”  Slip op. at 3 (quoting Packard v. Shoopman, 852 N.E.2d 927, 932 (Ind. 2006).)  That “earliest opportunity” must precede “the furtherance of the merits.” Id. (citing various decisions).  By the time the Assessor filed her motion to dismiss, the merits of the appeal had been advanced by the filing of the Trust’s brief.  The motion to dismiss was denied.  Slip op. at 4.

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