STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
KENT SCHROEDER Appeal No. 19-85008
JESSICA ADCOCK GOODMAN, ASSESSOR,
SALINE COUNTY, MISSOURI
DECISION AND ORDER
Kent Schroder (Complainant) appeals the determination of Jessica Adcock Goodman’s (Respondent) finding the fair market value of the subject property on January 1, 2019 was $11,000 for the subject tractor and $12,375 for the subject 33 calves weighing 400 pounds or less. Complainant claims the property was overvalued.
The hearing officer conducted an evidentiary hearing. Complainant did not present substantial and persuasive evidence establishing overvaluation. Respondent’s decision is affirmed.
FINDINGS OF FACT
A. The Subject Property
1. The subject is agricultural personal property, namely a 1997 New Holland 3430 tractor and thirty-three calves weighing 400 pounds or less. The account number is 2008374.
2. Respondent determined the true market value of the subject tractor to be $11,000 and the subject thirty-three calves, weighing 400 pounds or less to be $12,375.
C. Complainant’s Appeal
3. Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission (Commission).
4. Complainant alleged the subject property was overvalued.
D. Overvaluation Claim
5. Complainant submitted exhibits A-F. Each exhibit was admitted into evidence without objection. Complainant’s exhibits were as follows:
Summary of Exhibits A-F Summary
Exhibit A State Tax Commission Frequently Asked Questions
Exhibit B State Tax Commission Letter to Assessor
Exhibit C Weekly Market Summary
Exhibit D 2019 Assessment List
Exhibit E Values of Other Assessors/2019 Tax Bill/ Account Details
Exhibit F List of Cattle in Existence on 1/1/19
Exhibit A is information from the State Tax Commission webpage explaining that taxes are calculated by multiplying the property’s fair market value by the assessment ratio and application of the tax levy.
Exhibit B is a memo to county assessors informing them that the Assessors’ Livestock Advisory Committee met and established minimum livestock values for 2019. It listed average market values and assessed values for categories of cattle, hogs, sheep, horses and poultry. The memo explained that the figures are considered minimums for each category and the assessor should review local market activity and may use local market values.
Exhibit C is the Weekly Market Summary published by the Missouri Department of Agriculture dated January 4, 2019. The report lists prices for various cattle in regions in Missouri.
Exhibit D is Complainant’s 2019 Assessment List declared by Complainant on February 26, 2019.
6. Complainant testified that his tractor is a 1997 New Holland 3430 tractor and not a 1997 New Holland 3340 as it is listed in Respondent’s records. Complainant testified that he researched the market values the assessors in Johnson, Pettis, Benton and Howard counties attributed to a 1997 New Holland 3430 tractor. The value range was from $2,250 to $7,950
7. Complainant testified that 2 of his thirty-three calves were born on December 31, 2018, one day before the applicable tax date. Complainant testified that the twin calves and another calf are not worth the $375 attributed to each by Respondent, because they were not of sufficient weight on January 1, 2019. Complainant further testified that the Weekly Market Summary of January 4, 2019 does not list prices for calves under 300 pounds.
8. Respondent submitted Exhibits 1-3. Each exhibit was admitted into evidence without objection. Respondent’s exhibits were as follows:
Exhibit 1 2017 Assessment List
Exhibit 2 2018 Tax Receipt/ 2019 Assessment List
Exhibit 3 Weekly Market Summary 10/25/19
9. Respondent testified that she assigned a true value in money of $375, on average, to each of Complainant’s thirty-three declared calves. (See also Complainant’s Exhibit E). She also produced evidence that Complainant listed his tractor on his 2017 declaration as a 1997 New Holland 3340, instead of a 3430, that Complainant’s 2018 tax payment receipt reflected the incorrect description, and that Complainant did not cross out the incorrect description of such on his 2019 declaration. Complainant testified that she set the true value in money of the subject tractor by investigating the price of the most similar tractor, including horsepower, via tractordata.com and then applied depreciation. She testified that when a model number does not exist, she first attempts to call the taxpayer to obtain clarification from the taxpayer, and that if she receives no response she looks to the Farm Equipment Guide. Complainant testified that only if she cannot find a similar tractor in such publication does she look to tractordata.com.
10. The true value in money of the subject property tractor as of January 1, 2019 is $11,000. The assessed value of such is $1,320. The true value in money of the subject property thirty-three calves, 400 pounds or less as of January 1, 2019 is $12,375. The assessed value of such is $1,485.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
The Commission has authority, “under such rules as may be prescribed by law, to hear appeals from local boards in individual cases and, upon such appeal, to correct any assessment which is shown to be unlawful, unfair, arbitrary or capricious.” Mo. Const. art. X, § 14. Section 138.430.1, RSMo 2000, authorizes the Commission to hear appeals concerning assessment, valuation, the method or formula used in determining valuation, or the assignment of a discriminatory assessment. “The commission shall investigate all such appeals and shall correct any assessment or valuation which is shown to be unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary or capricious.” Id. “To hear and decide appeals pursuant to section 138.430, the commission shall appoint one or more hearing officers.” Section 138.431.1. 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.” Section 138.431.5.
2. True Value in Money
All real property and tangible personal property must be assessed at its value or a percentage of its value as fixed by law for each class and for each subclass. Mo. Const. art. X, sec. 4(a), 4(b). Section 137.115.5(1) (a) provides residential property is assessed at 19% of its true value in money. The true value in money “is an estimate of the fair market value on the valuation date.” Hermel, Inc. v. State Tax Comm’n, 564 S.W.2d 888, 897 (Mo. banc 1978). The fair market value is “the price which the property would bring from a willing buyer when offered for sale by a willing seller.” Mo. Baptist Children’s Home v. State Tax Comm’n, 867 S.W.2d 510, 512 (Mo. banc 1993). Determining the true value in money is a factual issue. Parker v. Doe Run Co., 553 S.W.3d 356, 360 (Mo. App. 2018).
3. Evidentiary Standards
The hearing officer is the trier of fact and determines the credibility and weight of the evidence. Citizens for Rural Pres., Inc. v. Robinett, 648 S.W.2d 117, 132 (Mo. App. 1982); see also Exch. Bank of Mo. v. Gerlt, 367 S.W.3d 132, 136 (Mo. App. 2012) (the trier of fact determines credibility and is free to disbelieve all or part of a party’s evidence). The hearing officer is not bound by any single formula, rule or method in determining true value in money, and “is free to consider all pertinent facts and estimates and give them such weight as reasonably they may be deemed entitled to.” St. Louis Cty. v. State Tax Comm’n, 515 S.W.2d 446, 450 (Mo. 1974); see also Kelly v. Mo. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., Family Support Div., 456 S.W.3d 107, 111 (Mo. App. 2015) (the relative weight of any relevant factor is for the administrative hearing officer to decide). “Although technical rules of evidence are not controlling in administrative hearings, fundamental rules of evidence are applicable.” Mo. Church of Scientology v. State Tax Comm’n, 560 S.W.2d 837, 839 (Mo. banc 1977).
4. Complainant’s Burden of Proof
A taxpayer challenging the assessment, valuation, the method or formula used in determining valuation, or the assignment of a discriminatory assessment bears the burden of proving the assessment or valuation was “unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary or capricious.” Section 138.430.1; Westwood P’ship v. Gogarty, 103 S.W.3d 152, 161 (Mo. App. 2003).
Substantial evidence is evidence which “has probative force upon the issues . . . and from which the trier of fact can reasonably decide the case on the fact issues.” Cupples Hesse, 329 S.W.2d at 702 (internal quotation omitted). To prevail, the taxpayer must produce “persuasive” evidence sufficient to convince the trier the disputed fact has been established. White v. Dir. of Revenue, 321 S.W.3d 298, 305 (Mo. banc 2010); see also Daly v. P.D. George Co., 77 S.W.3d 645, 651 (Mo. App. 2002) (evidence is persuasive when it has “sufficient weight and probative value to convince the trier of fact”).
5. Personal Property
Section 137.115.3 RSMo. states in pertinent part:
The following items of personal property shall each constitute separate subclasses of tangible personal property and shall be assessed and valued for the purposes of taxation at the following percentages of their true value in money:
(2) Livestock, twelve percent;
(3) Farm machinery, twelve percent;
Complainant did not produce substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the true value in money of the subject property. As to the 1997 New Holland 3430 tractor, Complainant offered various values that other county assessors assigned to tractors bearing the same model number. Complainant offered no evidence of the various factors utilized by such assessors in assigning values, such as hours of use, age, depreciation, etc. As to the valuations of the cattle, Complainant alleges it was in correct for Respondent to utilize the minimum calf value set by the Assessors’ Livestock Advisory Committee. Complainant’s evidence of market value was the Weekly Market Summary Report (Exhibit C) which did not list prices for calves under 300 pounds; three of the thirty-three calves, according to Complainant, were under 300 pounds.
Complainant’s evidence was not substantial and persuasive to establish the true value in money of the subject property as of January 1, 2019.
CONCLUSION AND ORDER
The determination of the Assessor is affirmed. The true value in money of the subject property tractor as of January 1, 2019 is $11,000. The assessed value of such is $1,320. The true value in money of the subject property thirty-three calves, 400 pounds or less as of January 1, 2019 is $12,375. The assessed value of such is $1,485.
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, or emailed to email@example.com, and a copy of the application must be sent to each person listed below in the certificate of service.
Failure to state the specific facts or law upon which the application for review is based will result in summary denial. Section 138.432.
The Collector of Saline 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.