Due to a recent decision by the Indiana Tax Court in Joseph and Jeanne Hutcherson v. Robin L. Ward, Hamilton County Assessor, Indiana taxpayers may petition to correct errors under Indiana Code 6-1.1-15-12 relating to their property tax assessment beyond the former three (3) year limitation period. The Indiana Tax Court itself noted that its decision “has the potential to open the floodgates for petition to correct error appeals by finding, as it must, that no statutory or regulatory time limitation exists after April 1, 2000.”
In Hutcherson, the Hamilton County Auditor, failed to give the taxpayer credit for the homestead deduction as permitted by law from 2004-2010. Upon discovery of the error, the Hamilton County Auditor corrected the immediately preceding three tax years (2008, 2009 and 2010). To correct the error for the 2004 through 2007 tax years, the taxpayer filed petitions to correct errors with the Hamilton County Auditor, but the petitions were subsequently denied because the petitions were not filed within three (3) years after the taxes were first due.
In ruling in favor of the taxpayer, the Indiana Tax Court in Joseph and Jeanne Hutcherson v. Robin L. Ward, Hamilton County Assessor, explained that the provisions in the Indiana Code 6-1.1-15-12, which previously gave taxpayers three (3) years to claim a refund for errors in assessed value had been removed. Additionally, the Indiana Tax Court found neither state statute nor regulations provided any time limits for property owners to file petitions to correct errors related to their property tax assessments.
As such, a taxpayer may petition to correct errors under Indiana Code 6-1.1-15-12 for any one or more of the following reasons:
- The description of the real property was in error;
- The assessment was against the wrong person;
- Taxes on the same property were charged more than one (1) time in the same year;
- There was a mathematical error in computing the taxes or penalties on the taxes;
- There was an error in carrying delinquent taxes forward from one (1) tax duplicate to another;
- The taxes, as a matter of law, were illegal;
- There was a mathematical error in computing an assessment; or
- Through an error of omission by any state or county officer, the taxpayer was not given:
- the proper credit under IC 6-1.1-20.6-7.5 for property taxes imposed for an assessment date after January 15, 2011;
- any other credit permitted by law;
- an exemption permitted by law; or
- a deduction permitted by law.
This is a significant ruling for taxpayers who may now correct errors in property tax assessments and receive refunds for errors dating back to April 1, 2000.
Have errors previously occurred in the assessed value of your property, but you only received a refund for the last three (3) years? If so, you may benefit from filling a petition to correct errors with your local county assessor. The Indiana General Assembly is likely to pass emergency legislation to help curb the number of potential appeals, so time may be of the essence.
For more information about this or any related legal matter, please contact KDDK attorney Ryan M. Schulz at (812) 423-3183 or RSchulz@KDDK.com, or contact any member of the KDDK Real Estate Law Practice Team.
About the Author
Ryan M. Schulz, an attorney at Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn, LLP, in Evansville, Indiana, focuses his practice on business law, real estate law, construction law, estate planning, and litigation and trial services. Ryan has helped counsel clients through complicated business and construction transactions and can be of assistance to any company in reviewing, negotiating and drafting contracts, and handling litigation involving a variety of business transactions, including construction, manufacturing, real estate and other business contracts.