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College Park Club, Inc. is a non-profit homeowners’ association that owns and maintains an almost six-acre vacant lot used as green space in a residential neighborhood. The green space, previously owned by a religious group, was purchased by College Park in 2014. On September 23, 2016, the Marion County Assessor, after becoming aware of the sale, sent a letter to College Park explaining that the current exemption on the green space property was being suspended until College Park could prove it was eligible for an exemption. College Park responded on October 14, 2016, with an email explaining that the green space property was exempt from property tax as common area. The Assessor did not respond to this email. College Park re-platted the green space specifically as common area property in December 2017.
In April 2018, College Park filed an appeal with the Marion County Property Tax Board of Appeals (“PTABOA”) seeking to have the common area exemption reinstated for tax years 2016 and 2017. The PTABOA failed to issue a decision and thereafter, College Park appealed to the Indiana Board of Tax Review.
The Indiana Board held a telephonic hearing on June 23, 2020 and issued its final determination on November 18, 2020. The Indiana Board determined that College Park provided sufficient notice under Indiana Code § 6-1.1-10-37.5(d) and the Assessor’s failure to respond triggered a statutory default provision granting the common area exemption for both 2016 and 2017.
On January 4, 2021, the Marion County Assessor filed an original tax appeal in the Tax Court. In its appeal, the Assessor asserts that the Indiana Board abused its discretion and exceeded its authority by granting an exemption to an ineligible property. Specifically, the Assessor contends that the Indiana Board misconstrued College Park’s October 14, 2016 email as sufficient notice and that College Park was required to have recorded the property as common area. Additionally, to be considered common area property, it needed to meet all statutory requirements, which it failed to do. In response, College Park asserts that the Indiana Board properly interpreted the statute and that its green space property was entitled to the common area exemption for 2016 and 2017.
Oral argument will be held remotely via videoconference.