2019 Legislative Priority - Improve Assessment Uniformity - Dark Box Assessments

 

Background:

Assessment uniformity is made worse with the continuation of “Dark Box” store assessment appeals. These occur when a chain-retail store (ex. Meijer, Lowes, CVS, Kohl’s) that has recently opened in a community appeals its property assessment of the new building by relying upon the valuation of an older, vacant building nearby in order to lower the property tax bill.

 

 Talking Points:

  • Tax fairness across all property owners is necessary to foster economic growth.
  • Uniformity in property tax assessments based on the manual as fact is essential to creating a fair tax environment for the entire state.
  • When assessments are not uniform and upheld to the manual, the effects of the decrease in the county assessed value cause property taxes to be unfairly redistributed to other property owners throughout the county.
  • Assessment uniformity prevents the reduction of property tax revenues to local governments that tend to occur in communities close to or above the circuit breaker cap.
  • A more uniform assessment process will reduce the costly legal expenses for local governments that are fighting these appeals. As an example, Boone Co has spent over $400,000 in county resources and Lebanon has contributed another $100,000.
  • State action is necessary because many local governments cannot afford the expense of fighting an appeal and concede to the lower assessment.

 

Key Message/ Ask:

Indiana Farm Bureau supports the General Assembly passing provisions that close the loophole being used by commercial businesses to reduce their property tax burden by seeking assessments based on the value of depreciated and older buildings.

 

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