The Indiana Tax Court has ruled BP does not owe additional property taxes on an air pollution control system at its Whiting refinery.
The Lake County assessor sought to invalidate BP's claim the pollution control system was exempt from personal property taxes under Indiana law. The assessor claimed BP used "unintelligible" acronyms and "cryptic codes" to describe the equipment on its returns, making it impossible for the assessor to determine whether the equipment qualified for a tax exemption.
As a result, the assessor said, he should not be bound by the five-month time limit to adjust assessments.
"The Assessor is incorrect," Tax Court Judge Thomas G. Fisher wrote in his 17-page decision.
Despite minor numbering differences in three annual returns, BP substantially complied with the requirements to obtain the air pollution control system tax exemption and is not subject to additional taxes, Fisher said.
For the assessor to be able to alter a return beyond the five-month limit, the assessor has to show the taxpayer committed fraud, and that is not the case here, the judge said.
Copyright (c) 2010, The Times, Munster, Ind. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.