State Tax Commission of Missouri
|ANDREW SMITH,||)||Appeal No. 15-10034|
|JAKE ZIMMERMAN, ASSESSOR,||)|
|ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI,||)|
DECISION AND ORDER
AFFIRMING HEARING OFFICER DECISION
UPON APPLICATION FOR REVIEW
On February 29, 2016, Senior Hearing Officer John J. Treu (Senior Hearing Officer) entered his Decision and Order (Decision) dismissing the Complaint for Review of Assessment. Complainant subsequently filed an Application for Review of the Decision with the State Tax Commission (the Commission). The only issue before the Commission is whether or not the Complainant filed his appeal in a timely manner.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Standard of Review
A party subject to a Decision and Order of a Hearing Officer with the State Tax Commission may file an application requesting the case be reviewed by the Commission. Section 138.432 RSMo Cum. Supp. 2015; 12 CSR 30-3.080(4). The Commission may then summarily allow or deny the request. Section 138.432; 12 CSR 30-3.080(5). The Commission may affirm, modify, reverse, set aside, deny, or remand to the Hearing Officer the decision and order of the Hearing Officer on the basis of the evidence previously submitted or based on additional evidence taken before the commission. Section 138.432; 12 CSR 30-3.080(5)(A).
The Senior 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. St. Louis County v. State Tax Commission, 515 S.W.2d 446, 450 (Mo. 1974). The relative weight to be accorded any relevant factor in a particular case is for the Senior Hearing Officer to decide. St. Louis County v. Security Bonhomme, Inc., 558 S.W.2d 655, 659 (Mo. banc 1977); St. Louis County, 515 S.W.2d at 450; Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company v. STC, 436 S.W.2d 650 (Mo. 1968). Likewise, the Commission is free to consider all pertinent facts and give them such weight as reasonably the Commission deems them entitled.
The Commission, having reviewed the record and having considered the Decision of the Senior Hearing Officer and the briefs of the parties, enters its Decision and Order. The Senior Hearing Officer’s Decision has been incorporated into our Decision and Order without further reference.
Review of the Motion to Dismiss
Findings of Fact
Complainant filed an appeal with the St. Louis County Board of Equalization on August 11, 2015. Such appeal with the Board was rejected as untimely. The Complainant filed an appeal with the State Tax Commission on or before September 30, 2015.
On February 17, 2016, the Respondent moved to dismiss the appeal as to Complainant’s 2015 assessment as being out of time and failing to exhaust administrative remedies.
On February 24, 2016, Complainant responded to the Motion to Dismiss. Complainant alleged in his response that:
- The 2014 Personal Property Tax Bill was not received until March 2015;
- The appeal filed with the State Tax Commission was for 2014;
- The appeal could not be for 2015 because he did not receive the 2015 Property Tax Bill until October 2015; and
- No appeal for 2015 has been filed; however, the issues would be the same as the 2014 appeal.
On February 29, 2016, the Complaint for Review of Assessment was dismissed. An appeal for an assessment must be filed within 30 days after a mailing of a tax statement or by December 31 of the tax year whichever is later. Complainant failed to file his appeal within thirty days of receipt of the tax statement (which by his own admissions was March, 2015).
Conclusions of Law
Complainant only filed an appeal as to the 2014 personal property assessment. Complainant received the assessment for the 2014 tax year in March of 2015. Complainant did not file his appeal with the State Tax Commission until September of 2015. Pursuant to 12 CSR 30-3.010(1)(B)1: “Appeals under this paragraph shall be filed within thirty (30) days after a county official mailed a tax statement or otherwise first communicated the assessment or the amount of taxes to the owner or on or before December 31 of the tax year in question, whichever is later. Proof of late notice, the date of purchase, and/or notice sent to the prior owner shall be attached to, or set forth in, the complaint.” Complainant clearly did not file this appeal within thirty (30) days, as set forth above. Since Complainant did not file his 2014 tax year appeal within thirty (30) days, any claim relating to tax year 2014 was appropriately dismissed.
Complainant did not file an appeal as to the 2015 personal property tax assessment. The Complaint for Review of Assessment was filed prior to September 30, 2015. Complaint admits to not receiving his Personal Property Tax Bill or having notice of the assessment until “late October 2015.” No Complaint for Review of Assessment was received from the Complainant prior to December 30, 2015.
Summary & Conclusion
A review of the record in the present appeal provides ample support for the determinations made by the Senior Hearing Officer as to the limited issue of whether or not the appeal was filed timely. There is competent and substantial evidence to establish a sufficient foundation for the Decision of the Senior Hearing Officer. Mid-America Financial Corporation, 2015 WL 7456073 at *11. 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 Senior Hearing Officer acted in an erroneous, arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable manner, or that he abused his discretion as the trier of fact and concluder of law in this appeal. See Drury, Chesterfield, Inc., v. Muehlheausler, 347 S.W.3d 107, 112 (Mo. App. E.D. 2011) (proper methods of valuation and assessment of property and determinations of credibility of witnesses before the administrative body are delegated to the Commission, even if evidence would support either of two opposed findings). The Senior Hearing Officer did not err in his determinations as challenged by Complainant.
Upon review of the record and Decision and Order in this appeal, the Commission finds no grounds upon which the Decision and Order of the Senior Hearing Officer should be reversed or modified. Accordingly, the Decision is affirmed. The Decision and Order of the Senior Hearing Officer, including the findings of fact and conclusions of law therein, is incorporated by reference, as if set out in full, in this final decision of the Commission.
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 mailing date set forth in the Certificate of Service for 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 unless disbursed pursuant to Section 139.031.8, RSMo.
If no judicial review is made within thirty days, this decision and order is deemed final and the Collector of St. Louis 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 April 26, 2016.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
Bruce E. Davis, Chairman
Victor Callahan, Commissioner
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been emailed on this 26th day of April, 2016 to: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org