101 N.E.3d 887 (Ind.Tax 2018), 49T10-1708-TA-00013, Nova Tube Indiana II LLC v. Clark County Assessor
|Docket Nº:||Cause 49T10-1708-TA-00013|
|Citation:||101 N.E.3d 887|
|Opinion Judge:||WENTWORTH, J.|
|Party Name:||NOVA TUBE INDIANA II LLC, Petitioner, v. CLARK COUNTY ASSESSOR, Respondent.|
|Attorney:||ATTORNEYS FOR PETITIONER: BRENT A. AUBERRY, BENJAMIN A. BLAIR, FAEGRE BAKER DANIELS LLP, Indianapolis, IN ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT: CURTIS T. HILL, JR., ATTORNEY GENERAL OF INDIANA, BENJAMIN J. LEGGE, WINSTON LIN, ALEKSANDRINA P. PRATT, DEPUTY ATTORNEYS GENERAL, Indianapolis, IN|
|Case Date:||May 18, 2018|
|Court:||Tax Court of Indiana|
ON APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE INDIANA BOARD OF TAX REVIEW
ATTORNEYS FOR PETITIONER: BRENT A. AUBERRY, BENJAMIN A. BLAIR, FAEGRE BAKER DANIELS LLP, Indianapolis, IN
ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT: CURTIS T. HILL, JR., ATTORNEY GENERAL OF INDIANA, BENJAMIN J. LEGGE, WINSTON LIN, ALEKSANDRINA P. PRATT, DEPUTY ATTORNEYS GENERAL, Indianapolis, IN
Nova Tube Indiana II, LLC appeals the Indiana Board of Tax Reviews final determination, which upheld the assessments of its real property for the 2011, 2012, and
2013 tax years. Upon review, the Court reverses the Indiana Boards final determination.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
During the years at issue, Nova Tube owned two parcels of land in Clark County, Jeffersonville, Indiana. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 451-59.) Together, the parcels were comprised of 29.1 acres of land with rail spurs that provided access to the nearby railroad and a 109,443 square foot industrial warehouse. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 195, 215, 616-17, 622-624.)
In 2010, the property was assessed at $2,245,900. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 452, 459.) In 2011, however, the Clark County Assessor increased the propertys assessment by over 50%, assigning it a total assessed value of $4,653,100. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 452, 459, 522.) Over the next two years, the propertys assessments increased incrementally, with it being assessed at $4,767,200 in 2012 and $4,767,300 in 2013. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 522-23.)
On October 3, 2013, Nova Tube appealed its assessments for the years at issue to the Clark County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals (the PTABOA). In May of 2014, while the appeals were still pending with the PTABOA, Nova Tube sold the property to the Port of Indiana for $6,125,000. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 650-54.) The PTABOA subsequently affirmed all three of Nova Tubes assessments.
Nova Tube appealed the PTABOAs determinations to the Indiana Board on July 18, 2014. After conducting a hearing on the appeals, the Indiana Board issued a final determination in the matter on June 30, 2017. In that final determination, the Indiana Board explained that with respect to the 2011 appeal, the Assessor bore the burden of proving that the assessment increase was correct under Indiana Code § 6-1.1-15-17.2.1 (See Cert. Admin. R. at 97-98 ¶ 36.) The Indiana Board then determined that the Assessor met her burden because the evidence that the property was sold in a "market value" transaction in May 2014 and that the market was relatively stable during the years at issue supported her assessment values. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 97 ¶¶ 34-35, 99-102 ¶¶ 41-46.) Consequently, the burden shifted to Nova Tube to rebut the Assessors prima facie case. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 101-02 ¶ 46.)
In its rebuttal presentation, Nova Tube asserted that the May 2014 sale was not a market value transaction because the buyer, the Port of Indiana, was atypically motivated given that it was a government entity that already owned "the vast majority of the land in that area[,]" including land adjacent to Nova Tubes property. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 100-01 ¶ 43, 651-57.) Nova Tube also asserted that the Assessor had admitted that the May 2014 sales price did not actually reflect the propertys market value-in-use because the property record cards stated that the sale was "invalid." (See, e.g., Cert. Admin. R. at 596-601, 656-57.) Finally, Nova Tube presented an appraisal, completed in conformance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), that
valued the property at $2,900,000 for 2011. (See,
e.g., Cert. Admin. R. at 194-280, 561-62, 644-806.)
The Indiana Board weighed the competing evidence and determined that Nova Tube did not persuasively rebut the Assessors prima facie case, explaining that the lack of support for certain adjustments and valuations in Nova Tubes 2011 appraisal, particularly the land valuations, had diminished its probative value. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 102-03 ¶¶ 47-53.) Consequently, the Indiana Board upheld the propertys 2011 assessment of $4,653,100. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 100-05 ¶¶ 43-46, 54-57.)
With respect to Nova Tubes 2012 and 2013 appeals, the Indiana Board did not state which party bore the burden of proof; rather, it stated that the Assessor had made a prima
facie case for 2012 and 2013 by using the same evidence offered to support her 2011 assessment. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 101-02 ¶ 46.) The Indiana Board determined that Nova Tubes 2012 and 2013 appraisals, which valued the property at $3,000,000 for 2012 and $3,100,000 for 2013, did not persuasively rebut the Assessors prima facie case because they suffered from the same infirmities as its 2011 appraisal. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 101-04 ¶¶ 46-53, 55.) (See also Cert. Admin. R. at 836-37, 859-60.) Accordingly, the Indiana Board also upheld the propertys 2012 assessment of $4,767,200 as well as its 2013 assessment of $4,767,300. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 104-05 ¶ 57.)
On July 17, 2017, Nova Tube filed a Request for Rehearing. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 106-17.) On July 31, 2017, the Indiana Board denied Nova Tubes Request for Rehearing. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 123-26.)
On August 11, 2017, Nova Tube initiated this original tax appeal. The Court heard oral argument on February 14, 2018. Additional facts will be supplied if necessary.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The party seeking to overturn a final determination of the Indiana Board bears the burden of demonstrating its invalidity. Osolo Twp. Assessor v. Elkhart Maple Lane Assocs., 789 N.E.2d 109, 111 (Ind.Tax Ct. 2003). Thus, Nova Tube must demonstrate to the Court that the Indiana Boards final determination is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law; contrary to constitutional right, power, privilege, or immunity; in excess of or short of statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations; without observance of the procedure required by law; or unsupported by substantial or reliable evidence. See IND. CODE § 33-26-6-6(e)(1)-(5) (2018).
On appeal, Nova Tube asks the Court to reverse...
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