State Tax Commission of Missouri
ALBERT J. & DORIS A. ROSE,)
v.) Appeal Number 07-32540
SCOTT SHIPMAN, ASSESSOR,)
ST. CHARLES COUNTY,MISSOURI,)
AFFIRMING HEARING OFFICER DECISION
UPON APPLICATION FOR REVIEW
On January 15, 2008, Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor entered his Decision and Order (Decision) setting aside the assessments by the St. Charles County Board of Equalization and setting the true value in money for the property under appeal at $250,000, residential assessed value of $47,500.
Complainants timely filed their Application for Review of the Decision.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Standard Upon Review
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).
The Commission will not lightly interfere with the Hearing Officer’s Decision and substitute its judgment on the credibility of witnesses and weight to be given the evidence for that of the Hearing Officer as the trier of fact.Black v. Lombardi, 970 S.W.2d 378 (Mo. App. E.D. 1998); Lowe v. Lombardi, 957 S.W.2d 808 (Mo. App. W.D. 1997); Forms World, Inc. v. Labor and Industrial Relations Com’n, 935 S.W.2d 680 (Mo. App. W.D. 1996); Evangelical Retirement Homes v. STC, 669 S.W.2d 548 (Mo. 1984); Pulitzer Pub. Co. v. Labor and Indus. Relations Commission, 596 S.W.2d 413 (Mo. 1980); St. Louis County v. STC, 562 S.W.2d 334 (Mo. 1978); St. Louis County v. STC, 406 S.W.2d 644 (Mo. 1966).
A review of the record in the present appeal provides support for the determinations made by the Hearing Officer.There is competent and substantial evidence to establish a sufficient foundation for the Decision of the Hearing Officer.A reasonable mind could have conscientiously reached the same result based on a review of the entire record. The Commission finds no basis to support a determination that the Hearing Officer acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner or abused his discretion as the trier of fact and concluder of law in this appeal.Hermel, Inc. v. STC, 564 S.W.2d 888 (Mo. 1978); Black v. Lombardi, 970 S.W.2d 378 (Mo. App. E.D. 1998); Holt v. Clarke, 965 S.W.2d 241 (Mo. App. W.D. 1998); Smith v. Morton, 890 S.W.2d403 (Mo. App. E.D. 1995).Phelps v. Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer Dist., 598 S.W.2d 163 (Mo. App. E.D. 1980).
Complainant Albert Rose’s letter setting forth the basis for the Application for Review presented four grounds for the appeal of the Hearing Officer’s Decision.Complainant failed to set forth any legal claim or basis as a ground to find the Hearing Officer had abused his discretion or acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner.Complainant simply disagreed with the conclusions and determinations reached by the Hearing Officer and had an opinion as to the fair market value of the property and its classification different from that determined by the Hearing Officer.In other words, Complainant failed to state any specific legal grounds upon which it was claimed the decision was erroneous.In the absence of specific facts of error or specific errors in applying the law, the Application for Review must be summarily denied.
Mr. Rose raised the following points in his Application for Review.
1. Inadequate time to point out inconsistencies in assessment procedures.
2. Issue of properties in the subject subdivision with lower assessments than the Rose property.
3. Issue of one of the sales comps used by Respondent’s appraiser which was assessed in 2007 for less than it sold for in May of 2006.
4. Only four units of 47 sales in the past 7 years have higher assessed values than the subject’s assessed value.
The taxpayer appears to think that pointing out various factors which he considers as inconsistencies is sufficient to establish the value which he proposed.This is simply not the case.As correctly noted by the Hearing Officer, the Complainants are required to present substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the fair market value of the property.Decision, pp. 9 – 10.Pointing out alleged inconsistencies in the assessment process is not evidence which addresses the critical issue of fair market value.Decision, Standard for Valuation, pp. 7 – 8.
A review of the points now raised by Mr. Rose and the evidence presented in the record in this appeal presents no basis for overturning the Decision.The Hearing Officer addressed in detail the issue of the settling problem, the matter of square foot valuation and sales of other condominiums.Decision, pp. 10 – 15.The conclusion was that Complainants’ evidence did not provide a basis to conclude the market value of $225,000 which was being proposed. The Commission finds nothing in the evidentiary record or in the points raised in the Application for Review which would support overturning or modifying the decision of the Hearing Officer.
The Hearing Officer did not err in his determinations as challenged by Complainants.
The Commission upon review of the record and Decision in this appeal, finds no grounds upon which the Decision of the Hearing Officer should be reversed or modified.Accordingly, the Decision is affirmed.
Judicial review of this Order may be had in the manner provided in Sections 138.432 and 536.100 to 536.140, RSMo within thirty days of the date of the mailing of this Order.
If judicial review of this decision is made, any protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accordance with this appeal shall be held pending the final decision of the courts.If no judicial review is made within thirty (30) days, this decision and order is deemed final and the Collector of St. Charles County, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall disburse the protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accord with the decision on the underlying assessment in this appeal.
SO ORDERED February 20, 2008.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
Bruce E. Davis, Chairman
Jennifer Tidwell, Commissioner
Charles Nordwald, Commissioner
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the St. Charles County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE.Hearing Officer finds presumptions of correct assessment rebutted. True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2007 and 2008 is set at $250,000, residential assessed value of $47,500.
Complainant, Albert J. Rose appeared pro se.
Respondent appeared by Counsel, Charissa Mayes, Assistant County Counselor.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.
The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2007.
Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the St. Charles County Board of Equalization, which sustained the valuation of the subject property.The Assessor determined an appraised value of $266,710, assessed value of $50,710, as residential property.Complainant proposed a value of $225,000, assessed value of $42,750.Respondent proposed a value of $250,000, assessed value of $47,500.A hearing was conducted on
January 9, 2008, at theSt. CharlesCountyAdministrationBuilding,St. Charles,Missouri.
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
Mr. Rose testified on his own behalf.The following exhibits were received into evidence in support of Complainant’s case.
Exhibit A, An article on Reassessment.
Exhibit B, Nine photographs depicting various interior and exterior aspects of maintenance problems with Complainant’s home due to a settling problem.
Exhibit C , Seven photographs of the interior of the Rose home illustrating the space inside the house devoted to entrance, stair and hall ways.
Exhibit D, A locator map showing the location of nearby streets which have condominium developments.
Exhibit E, A listing of 43 condominium properties which had sold from November 1986 to May, 2007, with sale price and date, square footage, Assessor’s market value, Sale Price as a percentage of Assessor’s market value, bed room, bathroom and total room counts.
Exhibit F, Copy of the Board of Equalization Decision sustaining the Assessor’s value.
Exhibit G, Statement prepared by Mr. Rose setting forth the basis for his opinion of value.
Complainant’s argument was essentially that there have been no recent sales of condominiums that are the same age and condition as the property under appeal.It was also Mr. Rose’s opinion that additional living area in his home taken up by the entryway, stairway and hallway resulted in an overstating of the living area.Mr. Rose pointed out that the sale prices for condominiums as shown on Exhibit E did not exceed $260,000.Complainant also took issue with some of the properties that were given a lower market value according to the assessor’s records than the actual sale price.
Respondent placed into evidence the testimony of Mr. Thomas P. Babb, state certified general appraiser forSt. CharlesCounty.The appraiser testified as to his appraisal of the subject property.The Appraisal Report, Exhibit 1, of Mr. Babb was received into evidence.Mr. Babb arrived at an opinion of value for the subject property of $250,000, based upon a sales comparison approach to value.In performing his sales comparison analysis, the appraiser relied upon the sales of five properties which he deemed to be comparable to the subject property.The appraisal also presented the cost approach data utilized in assessing the property for the 2007-08 assessment cycle.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the St. Charles County Board of Equalization.Complaint for Review of Assessment; BOE Decision Letter.
2.The subject property is located at 12 Lockhaven Court, Lake St. Louis, Missouri.The property is identified by parcel number 4-0022-6306-00-12, account number A884000155.The property consists of a brick and frame, two-story townhouse condominium on a continuous walled concrete basement, built in 1987 and in less than average condition.The home suffers from an uncorrected settlement problem.The residence has a total of five rooms, which includes two bedrooms, three and a half baths, and contains 2,426 square feet of living area.There is a basement with 1,090 square feet of finished area and an attached two-car garage.Exhibit 1.
3.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2007, to January 1, 2008.There was some concrete patching a repair to the front porch, however, it was not established that this maintenance would have resulted in an increase in market value from January 1, 2007, to January 1, 2008.Testimony of Complainant.
4.Complainant’s evidence was not substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment and establish the true value in money as of January 1, 2007, to be $225,000.
5.The properties relied upon by Respondent’s appraiser in performing his appraisal were comparable to the subject property for the purpose of making a determination of value of the subject property.Each sale property sold at a time relevant to the tax date of January 1, 2007.The sale properties were similar to the subject in style, quality of construction, age, condition, room, bedroom and bathroom count, living area, location, site size and other amenities of comparability.Exhibit 1.
6.The comparables were located within .37 to 1.03 mile of the subject.The sale properties sold in a time frame from May 2006 to June 2007.The comparable properties ranged in age from 8 to 21 years.Four of the homes had two bedrooms, one had three.The number of baths for the comparables ranged from three to three and a half.The living areas ranged from 1,536 to 1,768 square feet.Exhibit 1.
7.The appraiser made various adjustments to the comparable properties for differences which existed between the subject and each comparable.All adjustments were appropriate to bring the comparables in line with the subject for purposes of the appraisal problem.The appraiser recognized the settlement problem being experienced by the Rose home and made a downward adjusted to each comparable of $10,000 to account for the inferior condition of the Rose property.Exhibit 1; Testimony of Mr. Babb.
8.The appraiser adjusted for the difference in living area at a rate of $50 per square foot.This was appropriate given that the average unadjusted sale price of the five comparables was $130.40 per square foot of living area.Exhibit 1.
9.The net adjustments ranged from 13.2% to 28.2%.Exhibit 1.This was an acceptable range given the required adjustment to account for the subject’s larger living area.
10.The unadjusted per square foot sales prices ranged from $111.22 to $152.30, with an average of $130.40.The adjusted per square foot sales prices ranged from $99.55 to $114.36.The appraiser concluded on a $250,000 value which calculated to a value per square foot of $103.06.Exhibit 1.This fell at the lower end of the range for adjusted values and well below the unadjusted range.
11.Respondent’s evidence met the standard of substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment and establish the value of the subject, as of January 1, 2007, to be $250,000.
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.Article X, section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, RSMo.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 138.431.4, RSMo.
Presumptions In Appeals
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the CountyBoardof Equalization.Hermel, Inc. v. STC, 564 S.W.2d 888, 895 (Mo. banc 1978); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Co. v. STC, 436 S.W.2d 650, 656 (Mo. 1968); May Department Stores Co. v. STC, 308 S.W.2d 748, 759 (Mo. 1958).
The presumption in favor of the Board is not evidence.A presumption simply accepts something as true without any substantial proof to the contrary.In an evidentiary hearing before the Commission, the valuation determined by the Board, even if simply to sustain the value made by the Assessor, is accepted as true only until and so long as there is no substantial evidence to the contrary.
Notwithstanding the provision of Section 138.431.3, RSMo – “There shall be no presumption that the assessor’s valuation is correct,” – the Supreme Court of Missouri has held, “A tax assessor’s valuation is presumed correct.”Snider v. Casino Aztar/Aztar Missouri Gaming Corp., 156 S.W.3d 341 (Mo. 2005).Citing to Hermel, supra; and Cupples Hesse Corp. v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).
The presumption of correct assessment is rebutted when the taxpayer, or respondent when advocating a value different than that determined by the Board, presents substantial and persuasive evidence to establish that the assessor’s or Board’s valuation is erroneous and what the fair market value should have been placed on the property.Snider, Hermel & Cupples Hesse, supra.
Complainant’s evidence failed to meet the necessary standard to rebut the presumption of correct assessment and to establish a fair market value of $225,000 for the property under appeal.Respondent’s evidence did meet the standard and established a fair market value of $250,000.
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.St. Joe Minerals Corp. v. State Tax Commission, 854 S.W.2d 526, 529 (Mo. App. E.D. 1993); Missouri Baptist Children’s Home v. State Tax Commission, 867 S.W.2d 510, 512 (Mo. banc 1993).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 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:
1.Buyer and seller are typically motivated.
2.Both parties are well informed and well advised, and both acting in what they consider their own best interests.
3.A reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market.
4.Payment is made in cash or its equivalent.
5.Financing, if any, is on terms generally available in the Community at the specified date and typical for the property type in its locale.
6.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; Exhibit 1, p. 4.
Methods of Valuation
Proper methods of valuation and assessment of property are delegated to the Commission.It is within the purview of the Hearing Officer to determine the method of valuation to be adopted in a given case.See, Nance v. STC, 18 S.W.3d 611, at 615 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000); Hermel, supra;Xerox Corp. v. STC, 529 S.W.2d 413 (Mo. banc 1975).
Missouricourts have approved the comparable sales or market approach, the cost approach and the income approach as recognized methods of arriving at fair market value. St. Joe Minerals Corp. v. STC, 854 S.W.2d 526, 529 (App. E.D. 1993); Aspenhof Corp. v. STC, 789 S.W.2d 867, 869 (App. E.D. 1990); Quincy Soybean Company, Inc., v. Lowe, 773 S.W.2d 503, 504 (App. E.D. 1989), citing Del-Mar Redevelopment Corp v. Associated Garages, Inc., 726 S.W.2d 866, 869 (App. E.D. 1987); and State ex rel. State Highway Comm’n v. Southern Dev. Co., 509 S.W.2d 18, 27 (Mo. Div. 2 1974).
Respondent presented both a cost and sales comparison approach to establish value.These are both recognized approaches for purposes of arriving at an indicated value for an appeal before the Commission.The evidence presented by Mr. Rose did not constitute a recognized methodology for establishing value for ad valorem tax purposes.
Opinion Testimony by Experts
If specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert on that subject, by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto.
The facts or data upon which an expert bases an opinion or inference may be those perceived by or made known to the expert at or before the hearing and must be of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the field in forming opinions or inferences upon the subject and must be otherwise reliable, the facts or data need not be admissible in evidence.Section 490.065, RSMo; State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts v. McDonagh, 123 S.W.3d 146 (Mo. SC. 2004); Courtroom Handbook on Missouri Evidence, Wm. A. Schroeder, Sections 702-505, pp. 325-350; Wulfing v. Kansas City Southern Industries, Inc., 842 S.W.2d 133 (Mo. App. E.D. 1992).
The data relied upon by Mr. Babb in arriving at this conclusion of fair market value comported with the statutory and case law standard.Therefore, Exhibit 1 and Mr. Babb’s testimony possessed sufficient probative weight to establish value in the appeal.
Complainants’ Burden of Proof
In order to prevail, Complainants 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, 2007.Hermel, Inc. v. State Tax Commission, 564 S.W.2d 888, at 897.Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.See, Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).Persuasive evidence is that evidence which has sufficient weight and probative value to convince the trier of fact.The persuasiveness of evidence does not depend on the quantity or amount thereof but on its effect in inducing belief.Brooks v. General Motors Assembly Division, 527 S.W.2d 50, 53 (Mo. App. 1975).See also, 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).
The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value. 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.Shelby County R-4 School District v. Hermann, 392 S.W.2d 609, 613 (Sup. 1965).The owner may not support an opinion of value by reference to comparable sales unless the owner qualifies as an expert.State ex rel. Missouri Hwy. and Tr. Comm’n v. McDonald’s Corp., 872 S.W.2d 108, 113 (Mo. App. E.D. 1994); State ex rel. Missouri Hwy. and Tr. Comm’n v. Pracht, 801 S.W.2d 90, 94 (Mo. App. E.D. 1990).
Mr. Rose did not qualify as an expert in appraisal.His analysis (Exhibit G) of the sales of condominium units in St. Charles County (Exhibit E) does not constitute a recognized approach to establish an indicated fair market value.Accordingly, the conclusion of value of $225,000 was not supported by substantial and persuasive evidence.It was founded upon improper elements and an improper foundation.It cannot not be given any probative weight in the appeal.
Problem of Settling of Home
The subject house suffers from a problem of settling which has resulted in cracking in both interior and exterior walls.Exhibit B; Testimony of Mr. Rose; Exhibit 1; Testimony of Mr. Babb.There was no dispute on this matter.Conditions such as this prove to be difficult issues to address in the appraisal of property.
It is seldom if ever that an appraiser is able to find paired sales of a house with a settling problem and a house without a settling problem, otherwise sufficiently comparable to arrive at a market derived amount for the adjustment for such a factor.It is often necessary to resort to an analysis of a cost to repair to arrive at an adjustment.This is assuming that sufficient information can be obtained for such an analysis.The important matter in the appraisal process is to recognize the problem and make the adjustment.
Mr. Rose clearly demonstrated the nature and extent of the settlement problem affecting his house.Exhibit B.However, photographs do not establish the impact on market value.There was no evidence presented by Complainants from which the Hearing Officer could find an amount to support an adjustment for this factor.
Mr. Babb adjusted for the subject’s inferior condition by making a reduction in the sale price of each of the sale comparables of $10,000.The appraiser applied his experience in appraisal to arrive at this adjustment.There had been mud-jacking of the subject during 2005 in an attempt to address this matter.(Exhibit 1, p. 21)In hearings before the Commission it is not practical for the Assessor’s appraiser to obtain estimates of repair to support an adjustment for a condition factor such as is present here.The appraiser does not have access to the home, or the authority to have a contractor enter a private residence to prepare a proposal for repair.
When taxpayers have condition problems, such as presented in this appeal, they should take the initiative in collecting data on cost to repair if they wish to address the matter in that manner.It is also good for such information to be shared with the Assessor’s staff in order that an appraiser has such data to consider in developing an adjustment amount.In the absence of such documentation being presented, the conclusion of the appraiser relying on general experience will be the best that is possible.
Square Foot Valuation
Complainant believes his property is being valued based on square footage and not strictly market values.Mr. Rose is mistaken in his understanding of the appraisal process.The square footage of living area is a unit of comparison when appraising homes.The overall value is sometime reduced to a per square foot value for purposes of comparison.It is not a method for valuation.Gross living area is an important factor of comparability.The adjustment for this is important to account for any difference in size.
When, as in this case, there are no recent sales of properties similar in size, an appraiser is forced to go to those sales of properties otherwise most comparable and adjust for the difference in living area.That is what Mr. Babb properly did in this appraisal problem.Mr. Babb did not account for the space in the subject home occupied by entryway, stairs and hallways.This does not constitute a defect in the appraisal.
Mr. Rose contends that these areas really are not living area.This is essentially the basis for his square foot valuation argument.However, this line of reasoning ignores the simple fact that without foyers and stairs, in two-story houses, and hallways, the rest of the house would be severely deficient in basis utility.The aspects of homes are required for essential functional utility.The argument that the subject home is overburdened by this type of space fails to recognize that all two-story homes have to have stairs to be functional.
It is completely impractical to assume that in valuing homes that the space for hallways, entryways, stairs, closets, or furnace rooms are to be excluded from the gross living area because they are not a bedroom, bathroom or living area.All of these non-living areas contribute to the usefulness of any given house to function as a house.Mr. Babb properly adjusted for gross living area of the subject with each comparable.There is no appraisal practice which would support ignoring these areas as suggested by Mr. Rose.
Sales of Other Condominiums
Mr. Rose further argued the point of sales of other condominiums not supporting the valuation of his home by the Assessor.This line of argument did not provide a recognized basis to arrive at a value of $225,000, as asserted by Complainants.The argument advanced by Mr. Rose was based upon the listing of some 43 sales of condominiums in the general area where the subject is located.
There were essentially two parts to this argument.First, no condominium, except one had sold for more than $250,000 among the 43 properties.According to Mr. Rose that sale was of a much newer home than the subject.Second, Mr. Rose pointed out that the $260,000 sale was only given an appraised (market) value by the Assessor in 2007 of $238,400.
The information contained in Exhibit E has several problems in attempting to establish value for the subject of $225,000.The majority of the sales listed are too remote in time for a 2007 valuation to be considered.Only 12 of the sales occurred during 2005 – 2007.Seven more sales took place in 2004.The remaining 24 sales all occurred prior to 2004 and could not reasonably be considered in valuating a property as of January 1, 2007.
The unadjusted data does not establish value.It is not the responsibility of the Hearing Officer to attempt to make adjustments to sale prices to arrive at an indication of fair market value which will support or establish the value proffered by Complainants.Such a listing of data does not qualify as substantial and persuasive evidence of fair market value of the subject.
As to Mr. Rose’s concern that the one property which had sold for $260,000 in 2004 was appraised for the 2007 assessment cycle at only 92% of that value fails to establish a value for his home.A review of the Exhibit E data on all the sales shows that the range of percentage of sale price to the Assessor’s 2007 appraised value shows that only 6 of the 42 properties were appraised in 2007 at a value less than their sale prices.Furthermore those six properties were with 92 to 99% of the sale price value.Of those sales which occurred during 2005 – 2007, the relevant time period for valuation, as well as comparison of sale price to appraised value, only 3 properties were appraised at less than their sale price.Those properties were still appraised at 97 and 99% of sale price.The average for the 12 properties was that they were assessed on average at 106.84 percent of sale price.Further analysis of the remaining sales simply does not support the line of argument put forth by Mr. Rose in Exhibit G.
The twelve relevant sales, based upon sales in 2005-07, are appraised by the assessor at values ranging from $125,140 to $233,830.However, comparing appraised values does not account for all of the differences existing between these 12 properties.These properties range in living area from 1182 to 1752 square feet.Thus, the appraised values on a square foot of living area range from $95.97 to $147.89, with an average of $125.01.This is not valuing properties on square footage.It is simply converting the appraised value as a gross figure into a common unit of measurement – square feet of living area.The subject home, valued at $250,000 as determined in this Decision, calculates to only a per square foot value of $103.06.Lower than 10 of the properties, and only 4 cents above one other.In other words, the subject property on the standard unit of comparison is being valued at only 83% of the average for these most recent sales.
All of the sales of properties containing more than 2000 square feet, like the subject, are too dated to be used for a comparable sales analysis.The other Lockhaven Court properties which are in the 2,000+ square feet of living area, like the subject, have been appraised by the Assessor at values comparable to the subject.
The Hearing Officer finds no basis from Exhibit E or the analysis presented in Exhibit G upon which a conclusion of fair market value of $225,000 for the subject property can be made.
Respondent’s Burden of Proof
Respondent, when advocating a value different from that determined by the original valuation or a valuation made by the Board of Equalization, must meet the same burden of proof to present substantial and persuasive evidence of the value advocated as required of the Complainant under the principles established by case law.Snider, Hermel & Cupples Hesse, supra.
The appraisal by Mr. Babb relied upon sales which occurred at a time relevant to tax date.The appraiser recognized the condition (settling) problem existent with the Rose property and adjusted for it.Mr. Babb found sales which were as close in living area as possible based upon the data shown by Exhibit E and consistent with the January 1, 2007, valuation date.Simply because an appraiser cannot find three or more recent sales of a property the exact age and size of the property being appraised, does not mean that the market does not provide information from which an opinion of value can be derived.The appraiser properly adjusted the sale properties to arrive at his conclusion of value.
There is no evidence upon which the Hearing Officer can conclude that Exhibit 1 should not be given sufficient probative weight to rebut the presumption of correct assessment and establish true value in money.
Complainants failed to meet their burden of proof.Respondent’s evidence met the required standard to establish a fair market value of $250,000.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization forSt. CharlesCountyfor the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2007 and 2008 is set at $47,500.
A party may file with the Commission an application for review of this decision within thirty (30) days of the mailing of such decision.The application shall contain specific grounds upon which it is claimed the decision is erroneous.Failure to state specific facts or law upon which the appeal is based will result in summary denial.Section 138.432, RSMo 2000.
If an application for review of this decision is made to the Commission, any protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accordance with this appeal shall be held pending the final decision of the Commission and an order to the Collector to release and disburse the impounded taxes.§139.031.3, RSMo.If no application for review is received by the Commission within thirty (30) days, this decision and order is deemed final and the Collector of St. Charles County, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall disburse the protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accord with the decision on the underlying assessment in this appeal.If any or all protested taxes have been disbursed pursuant to Section 139.031(8), RSMo, either party may apply to the circuit court having jurisdiction of the cause for disposition of the protested taxes held by the taxing authority.
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 January 15, 2008.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
W. B. Tichenor
Senior Hearing Officer