But in every instance, obtaining an exemption requires timely and accurate applications.
It is a common misconception in Indiana that property owners must also be non-profit corporations to qualify for a property tax exemption. While tax-exempt status is critical for the application of some exemptions, Indiana law provides for-profit property owners with opportunities to reduce their tax liabilities by claiming exemption.
To obtain the exemption, the property owner must show that it uses the property in a manner that qualifies for tax exemption, and the application must clear mandated procedural hurdles.
There are several property uses that may qualify for exemption from property tax liability. Here are five common scenarios:
Eligible property includes not only the ground used for taking off and landing of aircraft, but also real estate "owned by the airport owner and used directly for airport operation and maintenance purposes" or "used in providing for the shelter, storage, or care of aircraft, including hangars."
The exemption does not apply to areas used solely for purposes unrelated to aviation.
How to apply
What is the process for claiming a tax exemption? Beginning in 2016, applications are due April 1, six weeks earlier than in past years. Indiana's Department of Local Government Finance provides a standard exemption form, Form 136, available on the agency's website at http://www.in.gov/dlgf/8516.htm.
The form can be used to claim both real and personal property tax exemptions. It includes three pages of questions and identifies the information and documents needed to process the request.
The property owner is responsible for explaining why the property is exempt to the assessor and to the county property tax assessment board of appeals, which has the authority to review and approve or reject each application.
Owners may need to provide in-formation beyond what the form requires. For example, assessors often want to review the relevant leases, such as a lease to a state agency or political subdivision. Indiana has 92 counties, and each county has its own procedures for processing applications.
There is no universally reliable test for weighing applications for tax exemption, so each claim stands on its own facts. Whether an owner's property qualifies for the exemption will depend on the statute under which the exemption is claimed and the particular evidence provided to support the claim.
Miss the filing deadline?
Exemptions are not automatically applied each year, but property that has been previously granted an exemption under certain provisions may not require new applications annually, depending on the facts of the case.
If the exemption does not carry forward and the owner fails to properly claim an exemption, it may be waived.
Even if the exemption is waived, however, hope remains. The owner may be able to obtain a legislative solution that permits a retroactive filing for an otherwise untimely application.