State Tax Commission of Missouri
|ANGLIN FAMILY INVESTMENTS, LP||)|
|CONNIE HOOVER, ASSESSOR,||)|
|JASPER CO., MISSOURI,||)|
DECISION AND ORDER
The assessment made by the Board of Equalization of Jasper County is SET ASIDE. Complainant submitted substantial and persuasive evidence to overcome the presumption of correct valuation by the Jasper County Board of Equalization.
Assessed value in money for the subject property for tax year 2015 and 2016 is set at $14,895 ($78,400 True Market Value) residential.
Complainant appeared by counsel Paul Boudreau.
Respondent appeared by attorney Norman Rouse.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer John Treu.
Complainant appeals on the ground of overvaluation the residential valuation of the subject property.
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
FINDINGS OF FACT
- Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper. Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission.
- Evidentiary Hearing. The Evidentiary Hearing was held on March 30, 2016 at the Jasper County Courthouse, Carthage, Missouri.
- Identification of Subject Property. The subject property is identified by map parcel number or locator number 19-2.0-04-22-003-012.000. It is further identified as 2708 W. “D” Street, Joplin MO, Jasper County, Missouri (Complaint for Review).
- Description of Subject Property. The subject residential property consists of a tract of land of 12,656 square feet, improved by a single family ranch style home, with a gross living area of 1,568 square feet. Amenities include 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a covered porch, a storage building and a patio (Exhibit C).
- Assessment. The Assessor set a true market value on the subject property at $92,070, residential true market value. The Jasper County Board of Equalization affirmed such value (Complaint for Review).
- Complainant’s Evidence. Complainant offered Exhibits A through C which were received into evidence without objection. Such consisted of:
|Exhibit A||Settlement Statement|
|Exhibit B||BOE Hearing Results|
|Exhibit C||Appraisal Report of Williams for $78,400|
Complainant offered the testimony of certified residential appraiser, Allen Williams.
- Respondent’s Evidence. Respondent offered into evidence Exhibits 1, 2, 3 & 4 which were received into evidence without objection. Such consisted of:
|Exhibit 1||Property Record Card for Subject Property|
|Exhibit 2||Comparable Sale|
|Exhibit 3||Comparable Sale|
- No Evidence of New Construction & Improvement and Ownership. There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2015 to January 1, 2016, therefore the assessed value for 2015 remains the assessed value for 2016. Section 137.115.1, RSMo. As the subject property was sold by Complainant via a contract for deed and there was no evidence of the recording of such deed after the sale, Complainant and not the buyer is the “owner of record”. Ivey v. O’Flaherty, 2007 WL 1302530 (Mo.St.Tax.Com. 2007).
- Sale of Subject Property and Complainant’s Business. Complainant sold the subject property on 6/9/2015 on Contract for Deed of $94,900. A promissory note of $90,000 was executed. Complainant buys properties and then sells such on Contact for Deed to those who cannot get traditional bank financing. Complainant sells the properties at a premium price and attaches a higher than traditional interest rate to the sale. The sales are owner financed.
- Presumption of Correct Assessment Rebutted. Complainant’s evidence was substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment and establish the true value in money as of January 1, 2015 to be $78,400.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DECISION
The Commission has jurisdiction to hear this appeal and correct any assessment which is shown to be unlawful, unfair, arbitrary or capricious. The Hearing Officer shall issue a decision and order affirming, modifying or reversing the determination of the Board of Equalization, and correcting any assessment which is unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary, or capricious. Article X, Section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, 138.431.4, RSMo.
Basis of Assessment
The Constitution mandates that real property and tangible personal property be assessed at its value or such percentage of its value as may be fixed by law for each class and for each subclass. Article X, Sections 4(a) and 4(b), Mo. Const. of 1945. The constitutional mandate is to find the true value in money for the property under appeal. By statute real and tangible personal property are assessed at set percentages of true value in money. Section 137.115.5, RSMo – residential property at 19% of true value in money.
Complainants’ Burden of Proof
In order to prevail, Complainant must present an opinion of market value and substantial and persuasive evidence that the proposed value is indicative of the market value of the subject property on January 1, 2015. Hermel, supra. There is no presumption that the taxpayer’s opinion is correct. The taxpayer in a Commission appeal still bears the burden of proof. The taxpayer is the moving party seeking affirmative relief. Therefore, the Complainant bears the burden of proving the vital elements of the case, i.e., the assessment was “unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary or capricious.” See, Westwood Partnership v. Gogarty, 103 S.W.3d 152 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003); Daly v. P. D. George Co., 77 S.W.3d 645 (Mo. App. E.D. 2002); Reeves v. Snider, 115 S.W.3d 375 (Mo. App. S.D. 2003).
Owner’s Opinion of Value
The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value. Rigali v. Kensington Place Homeowners’ Ass’n, 103 S.W.3d 839, 846 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003); Boten v. Brecklein, 452 S.W.2d 86, 95 (Sup. 1970). The owner’s opinion is without probative value; however, where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or an improper foundation. Cohen v. Bushmeyer, 251 S.W.3d 345, (Mo. App. E.D., March 25, 2008); Carmel Energy, Inc. v. Fritter, 827 S.W.2d 780, 783 (Mo. App. W.D. 1992); State, ex rel. Missouri Hwy & Transp. Com’n v. Pracht, 801 S.W.2d 90, 94 (Mo. App. E.D. 1990); Shelby County R-4 School District v. Hermann, 392 S.W.2d 609, 613 (Sup. 1965).
“Where the basis for a test as to the reliability of the testimony is not supported by a statement of facts on which it is based, or the basis of fact does not appear to be sufficient, the testimony should be rejected.” Carmel Energy at 783. A taxpayer does not meet his burden if evidence on any essential element of his case leaves the Commission “in the nebulous twilight of speculation, conjecture and surmise.” See, Rossman v. G.G.C. Corp. of Missouri, 596 S.W.2d 469, 471 (Mo. App. 1980).
Weight to be Given Evidence
The Hearing Officer is not bound by any single formula, rule or method in determining true value in money, but is free to consider all pertinent facts and estimates and give them such weight as reasonably they may be deemed entitled. The relative weight to be accorded any relevant factor in a particular case is for the Hearing Officer to decide. St. Louis County v. Security Bonhomme, Inc., 558 S.W.2d 655, 659 (Mo. banc 1977); St. Louis County v. STC, 515 S.W.2d 446, 450 (Mo. 1974); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company v. STC, 436 S.W.2d 650 (Mo. 1968).
The Hearing Officer as the trier of fact may consider the testimony of an expert witness and give it as much weight and credit as he may deem it entitled to when viewed in connection with all other circumstances. The Hearing Officer is not bound by the opinions of experts who testify on the issue of reasonable value, but may believe all or none of the expert’s testimony and accept it in part or reject it in part. St. Louis County v. Boatmen’s Trust Co., 857 S.W.2d 453, 457 (Mo. App. E.D. 1993); Vincent by Vincent v. Johnson, 833 S.W.2d 859, 865 (Mo. 1992); Beardsley v. Beardsley, 819 S.W.2d 400, 403 (Mo. App. 1991); Curnow v. Sloan, 625 S.W.2d 605, 607 (Mo. banc 1981).
Standard for Valuation
Section 137.115, RSMo, requires that property be assessed based upon its true value in money which is defined as the price a property would bring when offered for sale by one willing or desirous to sell and bought by one who is willing or desirous to purchase but who is not compelled to do so. Missouri Baptist Children’s Home v. State Tax Commission, 867 S.W.2d 510, 512 (Mo. banc 1993). True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use. Daly v. P. D. George Company, et al, 77 S.W.3d 645, 649 (Mo. App E.D. 2002), citing, Equitable Life Assurance Society v. STC, 852 S.W.2d 376, 380 (Mo. App. 1993); citing, Stephen & Stephen Properties, Inc. v. STC, 499 S.W.2d 798, 801-803 (Mo. 1973).
It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date. Hermel, supra.
Market value is the most probable price in terms of money which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller, each acting prudently, knowledgeable and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus.
Implicit in this definition are the consummation of a sale as of a specific date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby:
- Buyer and seller are typically motivated.
- Both parties are well informed and well advised, and both acting in what they consider their own best interests.
- A reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market.
- Payment is made in cash or its equivalent.
- Financing, if any, is on terms generally available in the Community at the specified date and typical for the property type in its locale.
- The price represents a normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special financing amounts and/or terms, services, fees, costs, or credits incurred in the transaction. Real Estate Appraisal Terminology, Society of Real Estate Appraisers, Revised Edition, 1984; See also, Real Estate Valuation in Litigation, J. D. Eaton, M.A.I., American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers, 1982, pp. 4-5; Property Appraisal and Assessment Administration, International Association of Assessing Officers, 1990, pp. 79-80; Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, Glossary.
Sale of Subject
Evidence of the actual sales price of property is admissible to establish value at the time of an assessment, provided that such evidence involves a voluntary purchase not too remote in time. The actual sale price is a method that may be considered for estimating true value. The actual sales price, between a willing seller, who is not obligated to sell, and a willing buyer who is not compelled to buy, establishes an outer limit on the value of real property. St. Joe Minerals Corp. v. STC, 854 S.W.2d 526 (App. E.D. 1993).
In the present appeal, there was a sale, albeit a conditional sale, by Complainant of the subject property on 6/9/15 for $94,000. Community Title Co. v. Roosevelt Federal Savings and Loan Assoc., 796 S.W.2d 369 (Mo en banc. 1990); Community Title Co. v. Roosevelt Federal Savings and Loan Assoc., 670 S.W.2d 895 (Mo. App. 1984); In Re Swofford v. Swofford, 837 S.W.2d 560 (Mo. App. 1992) Ivey v. O’Flaherty, 2007 WL 1302530 (Mo.St.Tax.Com. 2007). Nevertheless, the Hearing Office was not persuaded that such sale constituted a market sale complying with factor five (5) set forth in the Standard for Valuation section above regarding financing.
Evidence Was Substantial and Persuasive to Establish Value
The evidence in the record was sufficient to meet the evidentiary burden of being substantial and persuasive. Complainant provided the opinion of a licensed residential appraiser who opined a value of $78,400. The adjustments made by the appraiser were consistent with generally accepted guidelines for the appraisal of property of the subject’s type. The adjustments properly accounted for the various differences between the subject and each comparable.
The true market valuation for the subject property as determined by the Jasper County Board of Equalization is SET ASIDE.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2015 and 2016 is set at $14,895 residential.
Application for Review
A party may file with the Commission an application for review of this decision within thirty days of the mailing date set forth in the Certificate of Service for this Decision. The application shall contain specific facts or law as grounds upon which it is claimed the decision is erroneous. Said application must be in writing addressed to the State Tax Commission of Missouri, P.O. Box 146, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0146, and a copy of said application must be sent to each person at the address listed below in the certificate of service.
Failure to state specific facts or law upon which the application for review is based will result in summary denial. Section 138.432, RSMo
The Collector of Jasper County, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall continue to hold the disputed taxes pending the possible filing of an Application for Review, unless said taxes have been disbursed pursuant to a court order under the provisions of Section 139.031.8, RSMo.
Any Finding of Fact which is a Conclusion of Law or Decision shall be so deemed. Any Decision which is a Finding of Fact or Conclusion of Law shall be so deemed.
SO ORDERED May 3, 2016.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
John J. Treu
Senior Hearing Officer
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been sent electronically or mailed postage prepaid this 3rd day of May, 2016, to: Complainants(s) counsel and/or Complainant, the County Assessor and/or Counsel for Respondent and County Collector.