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[TAX] Matthew E. Schiffler v. Marion Co. Assessor, No. 21T-TA-00014

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Thursday, September 9, 2021 10:00am to 12:00pm

[TAX] Matthew E. Schiffler v. Marion Co. Assessor, No. 21T-TA-00014
Court of Appeals of Indiana Courtroom View map

Statehouse, Room 413, Indianapolis, Indiana

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The Petitioner owns residential property in Indianapolis, Indiana.  His property consists of a house with an attached garage, a detached carriage house, and a second, free-standing garage, all of which are situated on approximately 2.5 acres of land.  The Petitioner uses the carriage house as “an entertainment room” and the free-standing garage as a place to enjoy hobbies such as woodworking. 

For the 2019 tax year, the Petitioner’s house, attached garage, and once acre of the land were awarded the benefit of Indiana’s homestead deduction and therefore received the credit allowed for under the Indiana Constitution’s 1% “tax cap.”  The Petitioner’s carriage house and free-standing garage, however, were not considered to be part of the statutorily defined “homestead” and, as a result, they received the 2% and 3% tax cap credits respectively.   

The Petitioner timely challenged the application of the tax caps on his carriage house and free-standing garage, first with the Marion County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals and then with the Indiana Board of Tax Review.  The Indiana Board held a telephonic hearing on the matter on November 17, 2020. 

During the Indiana Board hearing, Petitioner argued because he used the carriage house and free-standing garage as extensions of his main house, they should also be considered as his homestead and therefore eligible for the homestead deduction and applicable 1% tax cap credit.  Alternatively, he argued that those improvements should qualify for that 1% credit because they: 1) constitute “curtilage,” or 2) they should be considered “attached” to the main house because they are connected by a common driveway.

In a final determination issued on February 9, 2021, the Indiana Board denied the Petitioner’s appeal.  Petitioner subsequently initiated this original tax appeal, alleging that the Indiana Board’s final determination is contrary to law because it contravenes and therefore misapplies the definitions of homestead set forth in the homestead deduction statute, Indiana Code § 6-1.1-12-37.   

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