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Indiana Considers Wide-Ranging Property Tax Bill

by Morgan Thomas, Chicago, April 2015

 

Indiana lawmakers are debating legislation that makes numerous modifications to current property tax law. The proposal has both good news and bad news for some business property owners.

 

Included in the 43-pages of Senate Bill 436 are the following positive changes:

 

  • Taxpayers with personal property in multiple tax districts may file single returns with the county assessor

  • Businesses with less than $20,000 of total personal property are tax exempt

  • When a property's classification changes, the assessor has the burden of proving
    the change is correct

SB 436 also contains some negative aspects for owners of certain "special purpose" properties such as big box retail, fast-food restaurants, manufacturing plans, movie theaters, and industrial properties. It states that these properties must be valued using only the cost approach, essentially eliminating the application of economic or functional obsolescence. This portion of the legislation is a direct reaction to recent appeal decisions where assessments for big box retail stores were reduced based on using dark stores as sale comps.

 

If passed, the effective date for the SB 436 is retroactive to March 1, 2015.