Quick Property Tax Cuts:  Indiana Board of Tax Review Final Determinations (June – August 2020) – market data necessary; purchase price probative; vague testimony not probative

Quick Property Tax Cuts:  Indiana Board of Tax Review Final Determinations (June – August 2020) – market data necessary; purchase price probative; vague testimony not probative

Reports should “set out the main points in a series of short, crisp paragraphs. . . .  Let us not shrink from using the short expressive phrase, even if it’s conversational.”  Winston Churchill (as quoted in The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson, pages 154-55).

Case: Mutchner, LLC v. Vigo County Assessor

Date Issued:8/14/2020

Property Type: 119-space outdoor storage facility

Assessment Date: 1/1/2018

Synopsis: Owner, which leased space for the storage of boats, trailers and other equipment, offered an income capitalization approach analysis based exclusively on its own average monthly rental rates.  No market-based rent, vacancy, expenses or capitalization rate data were provided. The analysis thus lacked probative value. IBTR applied a slight reduction (from $225,400 to $222,200) in value based on the Assessor’s concession.

Case: Everett v. Vigo County Assessor

Date Issued: 7/29/2020

Property Type: Single-family dwelling

Assessment Date: 1/1/2018

Synopsis: “The purchase price of a property can be the best evidence of its value.” (citation omitted).  Here, Owner purchased the property approximately one month before the assessment date for $25,000.  The property had been on the market for more than six months.  It was a valid, arm’s length transaction. The purchase price was probative evidence of the property’s market value-in-use.  Assessor, in response, only argued that he had correctly applied the Real Property Assessment Guidelines. That was insufficient to rebut Owner’s market data.  The IBTR reduced the property’s assessment from $88,900 to its sale price.

Case: Gaines v. Dearborn County Assessor

Date Issued: 6/12/20

Property Type: Single-family dwelling and undeveloped lot

Assessment Date: 1/1/2018

Synopsis: The Assessor, who had the burden of proof for the improved parcel, “offered only vague testimony regarding the assessed values and sales of unidentified, purportedly comparable properties from the surrounding area, and claimed they support the 2018 assessments. Statements that are unsupported by probative evidence are conclusory and of no value to the Board in making its determination.”  The assessment on the improved parcel was reduced from $445,300 to $403,800.  (The assessment for the lot remained unchanged at $36,200.)

This case also serves as an important reminder for taxpayers to keep records of their filings.  Assessor insisted that Homeowners had never filed an appeal – until they produced a file-stamped copy of their petition.  After conceding that Homeowners, in fact, had filed an appeal, the Assessor insisted that the date stamp on the document showed it was filed untimely and should still be rejected.  The IBTR found Assessor’s testimony lacked credibility, and it questioned the reliability of the date-stamp.

Image by anttikanes at morguefile.com.

 

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