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[TAX] Richard and Thelma Jean Hatke v. Parke County Assessor, No. 20T-TA-00018

Thursday, June 17, 2021 10:00am to 12:00pm

[TAX] Richard and Thelma Jean Hatke v. Parke County Assessor, No. 20T-TA-00018
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The Petitioners own a house, and the .66 acres of land upon which it sits, in Rockville, Indiana.  Because the property sits directly on Raccoon Lake, a portion of it, .38 acres, is subject to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ flowage easement.  The easement allows the Corps to flood that portion of the Petitioners’ land when necessary to manage the lake’s water levels.  The easement does not, however, restrict the Petitioners from landscaping, installing (with the Corps’ approval) storage sheds on, or otherwise enjoying the use of, the property.

The Petitioners applied for an exemption from property tax for the 2019 tax year, claiming that the portion of their land subject to the easement should be exempt from taxation because it was controlled by the federal government.   The Parke County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals denied the exemption application and the Petitioners pursued an appeal with the Indiana Board of Tax Review.

The Indiana Board held a telephonic hearing on the matter on July 30, 2020.  In a final determination issued on October 26, 2020, the Indiana Board denied the Petitioners’ exemption application.  In doing so, the Indiana Board explained that 1) there was no statutory provision that allowed property subject to a flowage easement to receive the benefit of a property tax exemption and 2) the Petitioners failed to demonstrate that their property otherwise qualified for an exemption under Indiana Code § 6-1.1-10-16(a), i.e., that they owned, occupied, and used their property for an educational, literary, scientific, religious, or charitable purpose.        

On appeal, the Petitioners assert that the Indiana Board’s final determination is erroneous and must be reversed.

Hearing will be held remotely.  It will be recorded and available at a later date.

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