Indiana Tax Court Hears Oral Arguments at Valparaiso University Law School

Judge Martha Blood Wentworth of the Indiana Tax Court heard oral arguments in the case Fraternal Order of Eagles v. Morgan County Property Tax Assessment Board, at Valparaiso University Law School. The event was sponsored by the Valparaiso University Law School Tax Law Society.

This case started in 2004 and is now in the appeal stage. Judge Wentworth will issue a ruling in the coming months regarding the oral arguments that were presented.

The plaintiff argued that all of the property owned by the Eagles is 100% used for charitable and fraternal purposes, thus qualifying the organization for tax exemption under Indiana statute. The lawyer representing the Eagles pointed out that while they do allow some social activities on the grounds, all of the proceeds go toward charitable purposes. The lawyer representing the defendant asked that the Indiana Board of Tax Review ruling be upheld. He claimed that the building in question contains a social room, an entertainment room, a lodge room, a pool and dart room, a kitchen and two offices. He cited Indiana case law which stated that the term “use” applies to the property itself and not the use of the funds raised when determining what qualifies as “charitable use” under the statute.

Judge Martha Blood Wentworth was appointed by Governor Mitch Daniels in January 2011. Prior to her appointments, she was employed by Deloitte Tax, LLP as the Tax Director for Deloitte’s Indiana and multi state tax services and for the firm Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman, PC. She also clerked for the Honorable Thomas G. Fisher, the first Indiana Tax Court Judge.

Contact: Nicole Skinner - (219) 465-7832, nicole.skinner@valpo.edu

 # # #

About Valparaiso University Law School

For more than 130 years, Valparaiso University Law School has empowered talented individuals to realize personal and professional success. Nine “live client” clinics, a nationally recognized externship program, and a commitment to innovation, highlight a program of education that serves as both a path to a career and a path to personal and professional growth. Located in metropolitan Chicago and in Northwest Indiana, Valparaiso Law has one of the most diverse law student bodies in country. The faculty is distinguished by their commitment to student success and to continuing impact on the advancement of law and legal understanding.