Betty Anderson v. Rouse (Putnam)

December 29th, 2011

State Tax Commission of Missouri






v.) Appeal Number 11-80500












Decision of the Putnam County Board of Equalization reducing the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE.True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2011 and 2012 is set at $92,000, residential assessed value of $17,480.Complainant appeared in person and by Counsel Michael Trier, Unionville, Missouri.Respondent appeared in person and by Prosecuting Attorney, Thomas Keedy.

Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.


Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Putnam County Board of Equalization, which reduced the valuation of the subject property.The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2011.The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.


1.Jurisdiction.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Putnam County Board of Equalization.A hearing was conducted on December 8, 2011, at the Putnam County Courthouse, Unionville, Missouri.

2.Assessment.The Assessor appraised the property at $144,470, a residential assessment of $27,450.[1]The Board of Equalization reduced the value to $120,020, an assessed value of $22,804.[2]

3.Subject Property.The subject property is located at 17018 Spring Beauty Dr., Unionville, Missouri.The property is identified by parcel number 11051500400608.The property consists of a 24,755 square foot lot, improved by 1,400 square foot ranch-style, single- family home, constructed in 1982.The house has six rooms, with three bedrooms and two baths, a partially finished full basement and a two-car garage. The property was purchased by Complainant in April 2007 for $100,500.[3]It is part of the Lake Thunderhead development.

4.Complainant’s Evidence.Complainant testified in her own behalf and presented the testimony of the following witnesses:Athena Heidenwith, appraiser, Leonard Ashlin, listing agent on subject property in 2007, Jimmie C. Woodard, real estate agent with Lake Thunderhead.

There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2011, to January 1, 2012, therefore the assessed value for 2011 remains the assessed value for 2012.[4]

The following exhibits were offered into evidence on behalf of Complainant.Exhibit I was excluded on the grounds of hearsay and relevance.





Appraisal Report – Athena Heidenwith[5]


Contract for Sale – Subject – $100,500, dtd 4/2007


Century 21 Listing Advertisement on subject in 2007 – $107,950


Assessor’s Website on 2002 sale of subject – $82,000


Assessor’s Website showing 2005 – 2010 appraised values


Original Notice of Change – 2011 appraised value – $150,670


Adjusted Notice of Change – 2011 appraised value – $144,470


BOE Decision Form – appraised value – $120,020


S & P Indices Press Release dtd 5/31/11 – Excluded Upon Objection


STC Public Sales Report with photographs – Rebuttal Exhibit


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, 2011, to be $92,000, as proposed.See, Complainant Proves Value – $92,000, infra.

5.Respondent’s Evidence.Respondent testified in his own behalf.The following exhibits were received into evidence on behalf of Respondent.




BOE Letter dated 7/27/11 to Assessor – Resetting Map Factors to 2010 values


STC Compliance Order, dated 11/30/10


Property Record Card – Subject – change by Board


BOE Change Form to Assessor, dated 7/27/11 – change depreciation/map factor




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.[6]


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.[7]The constitutional mandate is to find the true value in money for the property under appeal. By statute real and tangible personal property is assessed at set percentages of true value in money.[8]In an overvaluation appeal, true value in money for the property being appealed must be determined based upon the evidence on the record that is probative on the issue of the fair market value of the property under appeal.

Presumption In Appeals

There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the County Board of Equalization.[9]This presumption is a rebuttable rather than a conclusive presumption.It places the burden of going forward with some substantial evidence on the taxpayer – Complainant.When some substantial evidence is produced by the Complainant, “however slight”, the presumption disappears and the Hearing Officer, as trier of facts, receives the issue free of the presumption.[10]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.[11]Upon presentation of the Complainant’s evidence[12] the presumption in this appeal disappeared.The case is decided free of the presumption.

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.[13]True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use.[14]It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.[15]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.[16]


Valuation of the property under appeal as reflected in Exhibit A was under the Standard for Valuation.[17]

Complainant Proves Value – $92,000

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, 2011.[18]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.”[19]A valuation which does not reflect the fair market value (true value in money) of the property under appeal is an unlawful, unfair and improper assessment.

Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.[20]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.[21]

Owner’s Opinion of Value

The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value.[22]The owner’s opinion is without probative value however, where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or an improper foundation.[23]In this instance, the taxpayer’s opinion of value was based upon the appraisal performed by Ms. Heidenwith.An appraisal, absent defects and deficiencies to void its reliability, will constitute both the proper element and proper foundation for an owner’s opinion of value.The Heidenwith appraisal was free of any matters that would reflect in a negative manner upon the conclusion of value reached.It constituted substantial and persuasive evidence of the fair market value of the Anderson property as of January 1, 2011.Accordingly, Ms. Anderson met her burden of proof.

Board’s Valuation

The evidence presented by the Assessor provided background for the changes ordered by the Board.However, the value calculated under the mass appraisal cost methodology reflected in the Property Record Card[24] was rebutted by the presentation of Complainant’s evidence.


The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization for Putnam County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.

The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2011 and 2012 is set at $17,480.

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.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, 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 application for review is based will result in summary denial. [25]

Disputed Taxes

The Collector of Putnam 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 December 29, 2011.





W. B. Tichenor

Senior Hearing Officer





Certificate of Service


I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid on this 29th day of December, 2011, to:Michael Trier, 10109 Wildflower Drive, Unionville, MO 63565, Attorney for Complainant; Tom Keedy, Prosecuting Attorney, 1802 Lincoln Street, P.O. Box 205, Attorney for Respondent; Paul Rouse, Assessor, Putnam County Courthouse, Room 201, Unionville, MO 63565-1600; Chrystal Perkins, Clerk, Putnam County Courthouse, Unionville, MO 63565; Sharon Thompson Parks, Treasurer & ex officio Collector, Putnam County Courthouse, Room 200, Unionville, MO 63565.




Barbara Heller

Legal Coordinator




Contact Information for State Tax Commission:

Missouri State Tax Commission

301 W. High Street, Room 840

P.O. Box 146

Jefferson City, MO 65102-0146


573-751-1341 Fax




[1] Residential property is assessed at 19% of its appraised (true value in money, fair market value), Section 137.115, RSMo.