Senate panel backs bill dealing with big-box store values

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A bill addressing county assessors' concerns about tax bills on big-box stores passed an Indiana Senate committee Tuesday.

The Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee unanimously supported a bill authored by Chairman Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, requiring certain special-purpose properties to be assessed based on the cost of construction for the first seven years.

Hershman amended his bill, Senate Bill 436, in reaction to Meijer’s successful property-tax appeal in Marion County. The Indiana Board of Tax Review case has county assessors throughout Indiana worried that they’ll lose millions in value on retail stores. That’s because the tax review board sided with Meijer, which argued that its store on East 96th Street should be valued according to sales of comparable stores, which were vacant or located in economically depressed areas.

Hershman’s bill dealt with a variety of local taxation matters, including the business personal property tax exemption for companies with $20,000 or less in equipment and the valuation of agricultural land.

Hershman, who introduced his amendment last week, said he tweaked the language based on feedback from the Council on State Taxation, which represents business taxpayers. The language originally called for value to be based on the business income or construction costs, whichever was higher. Hershman dropped references to the income approach.

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