BECC IV LLC v. James Strahan

August 22nd, 2008

State Tax Commission of Missouri





v.) Appeal No.07-89511 through 07-89513









Decision and Order issued August 19, 2008 is corrected nunc pro tunc in the caption by striking the words: PHILIP MUEHLHEAUSLER, ASSESSOR,ST. LOUIS COUNTY,MISSOURI, and inserting in lieu thereof the words:JAMES STRAHAN, ASSESSOR,TANEY COUNTY,MISSOURI.

In all other respects said Decision and Order is confirmed and ratified as written with the correction herein made.

SO ORDERED August 22, 2008.





Decisions of the Taney County Board of Equalization reducing the assessments made by the Assessor are SET ASIDE.Hearing Officer finds Complainant rebutted the presumption of correct assessment by the Board.

True value in money for the subject properties for tax years 2007 and 2008 is set as follows:

Appeal No.07-89511 – $227,273, commercial assessed value of $99,340.

Appeal No.07-89512 – $310,454, commercial assessed value of $72,730.

Appeal No.07-89513 – $62,273, commercial assessed value of $19,930.

Complainant appeared by Counsel Bruce McCurry, Chaney & McCurry,Springfield,Missouri.

Respondent appeared by Counsel, Robert R. Paulson, II,Forsyth,Missouri.

Case 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.


Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decisions of the Taney County Board of Equalization, which reduced the valuations of the properties under appeal.

The Assessor determined an appraised value for the property in Appeal No. 07-89511 of $474,906, assessed value of $151,970, as commercial property.The Board reduced the value to $271,375, assessed value of $86,840.Complainant proposed a value of $227,273, assessed value of $72,727, in its Complaint for Review of Assessment.

The Assessor determined an appraised value for the property in Appeal No. 07-89512 of $648,719, assessed value of $270,590, as commercial property.The Board reduced the value to $370,687, assessed value of $118,620. Complainant proposed a value of $310,454, assessed value of $99,345, in its Complaint for Review of Assessment.

The Assessor determined an appraised value for the property in Appeal No. 07-89513 of $130,125, assessed value of $41,640, as commercial property.The Board reduced the value to $104,093, assessed value of $33,310.Complainant proposed a value of $62,273, assessed value of $19,928, in its Complaint for Review of Assessment.

The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.

Complainant’s Evidence

Complainant submitted the following exhibits which are received into evidence.There were no objections to any of the exhibits.




Complaints for Review of Assessment & Board Decision Letters


Settlement Statement


Receipt and Disbursement Agreement


Affidavit of Douglas Johns before TaneyCountyBOE


Written Direct Testimony of W. L. Gehrs, Jr.


Written Direct Testimony of Jimmie D. Allen

Respondent’s Evidence

Respondent did not file any exhibits or written direct testimony.When Respondent fails to offer evidence of value, he appears to consent to the value presented by Complainant’s prima facie case (qui tacet consentire videtur – a party who is silent appears to consent)


1.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Taney County Board of Equalization.

2.By Order dated July 17, 2008, Respondent was given until and including

August 5, 2008, to advise the Hearing Officer in writing if he desired to cross-examine Complainant’s witnesses.Failure to respond to the Order was deemed as waiver of cross-examination and consent to having the case submitted and decided on Complainant’s exhibits.

3.The subject property is located in Branson Place Subdivision, Branson, Missouri.The property is otherwise known as Lots 10 and 11 of Branson Place Subdivision.The property consists of vacant land.The property is identified by three parcel numbers: 18-1.0-01-001-003-001-017 (07-89511); 18-1.0-01-004-001-001.000 (07-89512); and 17-3.0-06-002-009-010.000 (07-89513).Complaints for Review of Assessment/BOE Decision Letters.

4.There was no new construction and improvement to the subject properties from October 28, 2006 to January 1, 2007.Exhibit E, Q & A 16 & 21.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement to the subject properties from January 1, 2007, to January 1, 2008.

5.Complainant’s evidence was substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the true value in money as of January 1, 2007, to be $600,000, as proposed for the three parcels combined.Exhibits B, C, D, E & F.

6.The True Values in Money and Assessed Values (rounded) for the parcels are:

Appeal Number

True Value











Exhibit F, Q & A 18.



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.

Presumption 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 is accepted as true only until and so long as there is no substantial evidence to the contrary.The presumption of correct assessment is rebutted when the taxpayer presents substantial and persuasive evidence to establish that the Board’s valuation is erroneous and what the fair market value should have been placed on the property.Hermel, supra; Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959)Complainant’s evidence of the actual sale of the subject property in an open market transaction On October 26, 2006 was substantial and persuasive evidence of the fair market value of the combined parcels as of January 1, 2007.

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.

Complainant’s 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, 2007.Hermel, Inc. v. State Tax Commission, 564 S.W.2d 888, at 897. 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).Industrial Development Authority of Kansas City v. State Tax Commission of Missouri, 804 S.W.2d 387, 392 (Mo. App. 1991).

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).

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 establishes an outer limit on the value of real property, in a transaction between a willing seller who is not obligated to sell and a willing buyer who is not compelled to buy,. St. Joe Minerals Corp. v. STC, 854 S.W.2d 526 (App. E.D. 1993). The evidence in this case clearly establishes an open market transaction just sixty-six (66) days prior to the valuation date.Such evidence clearly meets the test of substantial and persuasive evidence to prove the true value in money of the combined properties.There is no evidence to rebut the allocation of the purchased price among the three properties.


The assessed valuations for the subject properties as determined by the Board of Equalization forTaneyCountyfor the subject tax day are SET ASIDE.

The assessed value for the subject properties for tax years 2007 and 2008 are set as follows:

Appeal Number

Assessed Value







Respondent 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.Said application must be in writing addressed to the State Tax Commission of Missouri, P.O. Box 146, Jefferson City, MO65102-0146, 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 appeal is based will result in summary denial.Section 138.432, RSMo 2000.

The Collector of Taney County, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall continue to hold the disputed taxes pending a filing of an Application for Review, unless said taxes have been disbursed pursuant to a court order under the provisions of 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 August 19, 2008.


W. B. Tichenor

Senior Hearing Officer