Utility Company Property Tax In Indiana
"The property owned or used by a public utility company shall be taxed in the manner prescribed in chapter eight of Indiana Code 6-1.1." IND. CODE 6-1.1-8-1.
Within Chapter eight is a centralized assessment scheme by which the State Board assesses the operating property (distributable property) used in providing utility services. IND. CODE 6-1.1-8-25.
In calculating the value of the distributable property, the State Board first considers the total value (unit value) of the public utility company's property and then subtracts the value of its fixed property. IND. CODE 6-1.1-8-26(a).
The fixed property (i.e., non-operating property) of the public utility company is assessed locally by township assessors. IND. CODE 6-1.1-8-24(b).
Once the State Board determines the assessed value of a public utility company's distributable property, it is required to equalize that assessment if necessary. IND. CODE 6-1.1-8-25(a).
"Equalization is a process applied to certain taxpayers and their property by which the assessed value of a taxpayer's property is adjusted so that it bears the same relationship of assessment value to . . . true tax value as other properties within the same taxing jurisdiction." GTE North Inc. v. State Bd. of Tax Comm'rs, 634 N.E.2d 882, 886 (Ind. Tax Ct. 1994).
"The equalization process provides the State Board with a method to cure assessment problems and bring all assessments into compliance with Article X, 1" of Indiana's Constitution, id., which states that
The General Assembly shall provide, by law, for a uniform and equal rate of property assessment and taxation and shall prescribe regulations to secure a just valuation for taxation of all property, both real and personal. IND. CONST. Art. X, 1. See also IND. CODE 6-1.1-2-2.