Prescription for success:  Indiana Tax Court again affirms property tax reduction for retail property used as CVS

Prescription for success: Indiana Tax Court again affirms property tax reduction for retail property used as CVS

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The Indiana Tax Court declined to reweigh the evidence in affirming the assessment reductions for a retail store used as a CVS.

On May 25, 2017, the Indiana Tax Court affirmed the assessment reduction for a 10,800 square foot retail store used as a CVS in Monroe County.  In Monroe County Assessor v. SCP 2002 E19 LLC 6697 a/k/a CVS 6697-02, the Tax Court considered an appeal by the Assessor for the 2007 to 2013 tax years.  The Indiana Board of Tax Review had reduced the assessments for each year based on the income approach analyses in the USPAP-compliant appraisal submitted by Taxpayer.  On appeal, the Assessor claimed that the Indiana Board’s final determination was erroneous because it applied the wrong standard of value and because Taxpayer’s appraisal was based on unreliable data and inadequate explanations.

The Tax Court rejected both claims. As to the first point, i.e. the wrong standard of value, the Court had recently dismissed the same argument for another CVS store in the same county with the same litigants and the same attorneys.  The Court declined to “address the argument anew” and simply incorporated its prior analysis and conclusions.  Slip op. at 5.  As to the second point, i.e. the reliability of data and explanations in Taxpayer’s appraisal, the Assessor’s argument was two-fold:  (i) the appraisal failed to rely on local data; and (ii) the Indiana Board had given no weight to the sales comparison approach in Taxpayer’s appraisal, and the values under that approach were close to the values determined under the appraisal’s income approach.  The Tax Court declined to reweigh the evidence, and the evidence showed that Taxpayer’s appraisal “adjusted the comparable properties used in its income approach to reflect their differences from the subject and that it provided thorough explanations of the methodologies it employed.”  Slip op. at 6.  The Assessor failed to identify any evidence showing that the Indiana Board’s final determination was against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances.  In short, the evidence of record supported the Board’s ruling, and the Board had not abused its discretion in reducing the property’s assessed value for each year.  The Assessor is currently seeking review of this decision by the Indiana Supreme Court.

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