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Indiana Tax Court: The Basics about Indiana Tax Cases

Indiana tax cases can arise under one of several Indiana tax laws. Every individual and business in Indiana is subject to various state and local taxes, but few understand the reasons behind tax disputes. Learning about the different types of tax cases, Indiana Tax Court proceedings, and having an experienced Indiana tax attorney can be key to successfully resolving your case.

Indiana Tax Cases

The Indiana Tax Court handles cases that arise under Indiana tax laws including appeals, injunctions, and small claims. The court has exclusive jurisdiction over these cases, meaning only the tax court can hear cases involving Indiana tax disputes. The tax court hears appeals of cases mostly in Indianapolis, but can also hear cases in Allen, St. Joseph, Lake, Marion, Vigo, Vanderburgh, and Jefferson Counties. All trials before the Indiana Tax Court are done without a jury.

Understanding the different types of Indiana tax cases heard by the Indiana Tax Court can help taxpayers better understand and prepare their own cases.

Types of Indiana Taxes

The major types of taxes Hoosiers pay each year are income tax, sales tax, property tax, and some various other taxes, such as gaming tax.

Residents of Indiana are taxed a flat state income rate of 3.23 percent, which means no matter how much an individual makes each year, every Hoosier is taxed the same rate. In addition, each county in Indiana imposes its own local income tax rates, which ranges from .35 percent to 3.38 percent.

Indiana taxpayers have the responsibility of filing timely tax returns, being familiar and complying with Indiana tax laws, providing notice of an address change, and asking for assistance with any tax questions or concerns.

Indiana sales tax is a flat seven percent, and Indiana property tax is a flat .87 percent.

Who Manages Indiana Taxpayer Issues

The Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) handles tax returns, audits, tax protests, and works with individuals, business owners, tax preparers and stakeholders. The DOR has over 700 team members who administer over 65 different tax types and process nearly $21 billion of tax revenue.

The Indiana Board of Tax Review (IBTR) is the state agency that decides real and personal property tax assessment appeals. The board consists of three members who impartially review appeals concerning the following:

  • Assessed value of tangible property;
  • Property tax deductions;
  • Property tax exemptions; and
  • Property tax credits.

The IBTR cannot address appeals in which taxpayers are contesting only their tax bill and not their property’s tax assessment as well. The IBTR also reviews assessments determined by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance.

The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) is responsible for ensuring property tax assessment and local government budgets are in accordance with Indiana law. This department creates property tax assessment rules and annually reviews and approves tax rates.

Indiana Tax Appeals

Indiana taxpayers may find themselves in tax court because they are appealing a previous judgment regarding a tax decision from one of several different Indiana state or local agencies. The purpose of a tax appeal is to initiate an argument that the final decision of the Indiana Department of Revenue, the Indiana Board of Tax Review, or the Department of Local Government Finance was incorrect and should be changed.

In order to initiate an appeal, the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s attorney must file a petition through Indiana’s e-filing system. One may file an appeal for the purpose of wanting a tax refund, appealing the denial of a refund, or appealing a certain property tax rate assessment.

Appeals from the DOR must be filed with the court within 180 days of the letter of findings or within 90 days of the denial of the refund, with a few exceptions to certain fuel taxes. If taxpayer files a refund claim and the Department of Revenue does not act within 180 days, then the claim is considered denied.

Appeals from the IBTR or the DLGF must be filed within 45 days from the final determination appealed.

Tax Audits in Indiana

Taxpayers may also find themselves in tax court to address a tax audit, which verifies the accuracy of the information reported to the state. An auditor looks for reporting errors and provides the taxpayer with suggestions on how to avoid that error in the future. The purpose of tax audits in Indiana is to ensure all taxpayers are following Indiana tax laws, to check and correct mathematical errors, and to detect tax evasion.

Small Claims Regarding Indiana Tax Laws

The Indiana Tax Court hears two different types of small claims regarding tax matters. These are cases involving relatively lesser amounts of money. First, the tax court hears cases about Department of Revenue refunds that do not exceed $5,000 for any year. Second, the court hears appeals from IBTR assessed value final determinations that do not exceed $45,000.

How an Indiana Tax Attorney from Camden & Meridew, P.C. Helps with Indiana Tax Cases

Taxpayers often try to handle tax issues themselves to find out that the issue it too big to handle alone. Taxes can be difficult to manage and hard to understand, but an experienced Indiana tax attorney can guide you through the process and fight for a positive resolution.

Whether you live in central Indiana or elsewhere around the state, an Indianapolis tax attorney at Camden & Meridew, P.C. is ready to help. For help with Indiana tax cases including refund disputes, audits, and small claims, contact Camden & Meridew by calling 317-770-000 or filling out our online contact form to schedule a consultation.