Prima Facie Taxation In Indiana
The taxpayer bears the burden of demonstrating the invalidity of the State Board's final determination and must do so by establishing a prima facie case that the assessment is incorrect. Miller Structures, Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Comm'rs, 748 N.E.2d 943, 952 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2001) (stating that "a taxpayer must offer probative evidence concerning the alleged assessment error in order to establish a prima facie case"); Clark v. State Bd. of Tax Comm'rs, 694 N.E.2d 1230, 1233 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998).
Once the taxpayer has established a prima facie case, the burden shifts to the State Board to support its final determination with substantial evidence. Miller Structures, 748 N.E.2d at 952.
If, however, the taxpayer fails to provide the State Board with probative evidence supporting his position on the alleged assessment error, the State Board's duty to support its final determination with substantial evidence is not triggered. Kemp v. State Bd. of Tax Comm'rs, 726 N.E.2d 395, 400 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2000).
A taxpayer's conclusory assertions that the State Board's assessment is erroneous do not constitute probative evidence. Id.
Summary judgment is appropriate only where no genuine issues of material fact exist and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Ind. Trial Rule 56(C); Bulkmatic Transp. Co. v. Ind. Dep't of State Revenue, 691 N.E.2d 1371, 1373 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998).
Nevertheless, "when any party has moved for summary judgment, the court may grant summary judgment for any other party upon the issues raised by the motion although no motion for summary judgment is filed by such party." Ind. Trial Rule 56(B).
The Court gives great deference to the State Board's final determination when it acted within the scope of its authority. Wetzel Enters., Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Comm'rs, 694 N.E.2d 1259, 1261 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1998).
Accordingly, this Court reverses final determinations of the State Board only when they are unsupported by substantial evidence, are arbitrary or capricious, constitute an abuse of discretion, or exceed statutory authority. Id.