About this Event
Lexington Square owns a multi-building apartment complex in Elkhart, Indiana. Lexington Square appealed its property assessments for the 2016 through 2018 tax years, first with the Elkhart County Property Tax Board of Appeals and then with the Indiana Board of Tax Review. In conjunction with contesting its property’s valuation, Lexington Square also alleged that it was assessed unfairly in comparison to other similarly-situated properties in Elkhart County.
The Indiana Board conducted a hearing on Lexington Square’s appeal on May 18, 2021. During that hearing, the Elkhart County Assessor admitted that pursuant to Indiana Code § 6-1.1-15-17.2, she bore the burden of proving her assessment was correct. To that end, she submitted a USPAP appraisal valuing the property for each of the years at issue. In rebuttal, Lexington Square presented its property manager’s testimony as to what he believed the property’s value to be during each of the years at issue, based on its net operating income history.
In a final determination issued on March 24, 2022, the Indiana Board determined that the Assessor’s appraisal failed to prove that her assessment was correct because it did not precisely and exactly conclude to the property’s assessed value as was required by Indiana Code § 6-1.1-15-17.2. In turn, the Indiana Board also determined that Lexington Square failed to demonstrate both what the proper value of its property should be and that it was unfairly assessed in relation to other similarly-situated properties. As a result, the Indiana Board ordered that each of Lexington Square’s contested assessments revert to the property’s 2015 assessed value in accordance with Indiana Code § 6-1.1-15-17.2.
The Assessor subsequently petitioned the Indiana Board for a rehearing, claiming that the Indiana Board erroneously applied Indiana Code § 6-1.1-15-17.2. More specifically, she explained that after the Indiana Board conducted its administrative hearing in the case, but three days before it issued its final determination, the Indiana Legislature repealed Indiana Code § 6-1.1-15-17.2 and adopted a new burden-shifting statute. She argued that because 1) the new statute specifically stated that it applied only to appeals filed after its effective date of March 21, 2022, and 2) there was no savings provision in the enrolled act providing that the old statute would remain in effect as to pending appeals, it was as if the old burden-shifting statute never existed. Thus, she concluded, she never bore the burden of proof at the administrative hearing.
The Indiana Board subsequently denied the Assessor’s petition for rehearing, stating that it correctly applied the burden of proof because the now-repealed burden shifting statute was in effect at the time it conducted its evidentiary hearing. The Assessor now appeals that decision to this Court.
Oral argument will be held remotely via videoconference.