VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) - A $1.1 million northern Indiana home has attracted
the attention of local tax officials who want to know how the property it
sits on obtained a tax exemption.
Porter County Assessor Jon Snyder said former members of the county’s
Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals granted a religious tax exemption
in 2009 for the 36 acres of land the Valparaiso home sits on and the
property’s two barns.
But Snyder said the home’s registered owner hasn’t been paying taxes on the
house either. For the 8,700-square-foot, two-story house to qualify for a
religious exemption, he said it would have to be used predominantly for
“Those are the questions that need to be asked,” he told The Times.
The current members of the property tax-assessment board will question the
homeowner Dec. 16.
Snyder said the homeowner runs an online church sermon provider called
PreachIt Inc. but his office has been unable to reach a Preachit
James Smith, who’s identified by the Indiana Secretary of State’s office as
the registered agent of the Preachit nonprofit corporation, declined to
comment on the pending inquiry about his tax-exempt status.
However, he said that PreachIt.org, which claims to offer more than 3,900
manuscript and outlined sermons, is just a small part of what the group
“There’s a whole lot more,” Smith said, declining to elaborate.
Preachit Inc. declared $24,580 in personal property associated with the
corporation for the first time this year and will receive a tax bill in
2014, according to the county assessor’s office.
The site is zoned A1 general agriculture, which allows various agricultural
and residential uses, according to the county planners office. That office
knew of no special exceptions granted for other uses at the site.