The filing date for the most recent round of Indiana property tax exemptions was May 15, 2008. Here is a summary of the rules governing the filing and review process.
Indiana law provides, “All or part of a building is exempt from property taxation if it is owned, occupied, and used by a person for educational, literary, scientific, religious, or charitable purposes.” A tract of land is exempt if an exempt building is situated upon it or a parking lot or structure that serves the exempt building is situated on the tract. Personal property (e.g. machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures) is exempt from property taxation if it is owned and used in such a manner that it would be exempt if it were a building. To qualify for the exemption, the property must be predominantly used for the exempt purpose.
Property owners were required to apply for property tax exemptions in 2008 (and must also apply in every subsequent even-numbered year, as well as every odd-numbered year in which new property is acquired or the use of the property changes). A property owner must file two copies of a Form 136 exemption application with the County Assessor. If an exemption is not timely requested, the exemption likely will be deemed to have been waived and the property will be subject to tax, even if it has been exempted in prior years. No fee is charged to apply. The Form 136 application requires the property owner to identify:
- the year for which the exemption is claimed;
- the legal description of the property;
- the parcel number for the property;
- the exemption percentage claimed;
- the statute under which the exemption is claimed (usually IC 6-1.1-10-16);
- who owns, occupies and uses the property;
- how the property is used to further the exempt purpose;
- what fees, if any, are charged; and
- whether the property is used for non-exempt purposes.
In addition, the property owner must provide copies of: (i) the current property record card, (ii) the owner’s articles of incorporation and bylaws, and (iii) the owner’s balance sheets and income/expense reports from the past three years.
The County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals will determine whether to grant the exemption. The decision is subject to appeal to the Indiana Board of Tax Review and the Indiana Tax Court.
Given the present environment regarding property taxes across Indiana, assessing officials are expected to exercise increased scrutiny of all property tax exemption applications filed during 2008 and in future years.