State Tax Commission of Missouri
v.) Appeal Number 07-62539
DON DAVIS, ASSESSOR,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Jasper County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is AFFIRMED.Hearing Officer finds presumption of correct assessment rebutted. True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2007 and 2008 is set at $128,200, residential assessed value of $24,360.
Complainant appeared pro se.
Respondent appeared by Counsel, Dean Dankelson, Prosecuting Attorney.
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.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Jasper County Board of Equalization, which sustained the valuation of the subject property.The Assessor determined an appraised value of $128,200, assessed value of $24,360, as residential property.Complainant proposed a value of $117,800, assessed value of $22,380.A hearing was conducted on February 7, 2008, at the Jasper County Courthouse Annex,Carthage,Missouri.
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
Mr. Eldridge testified as to his opinion of value of $117,800.This was based upon a Comparative Market Analysis prepared by Enoch Black, Charles Burt Realtors – Exhibit A.Exhibit B – ten photographs of the subject property’s driveway and Exhibit C – internet articles on homes sales were received into evidence. Exhibit A was also received into evidence.
Respondent offered into evidence the appraisal report (Exhibit 1) of Ms. Christine Meadows, appraiser for Respondent.The appraiser testified as to her appraisal of the subject property.Exhibit 1 was received into evidence.Exhibit 1 concluded on a value for the subject property of $128,200 based upon a cost analysis.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Jasper County Board of Equalization.
2.The subject property is located at 1623 S. Marwalk, Dr.,Joplin,Missouri.The property is identified by parcel number 20-3.0-08-40-001-016.000.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2007, to January 1, 2008, upon which an increase in value from 2007 to 2008 could be calculated.
3.Complainant’s evidence was not 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 $117,800.
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.
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 of correct assessment is rebutted when the taxpayer presents substantial and persuasive evidence to establish that 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 testimony and evidence was not substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment.
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.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).
The opinion of value tendered by Mr. Eldridge is based upon a comparative market analysis prepared by a realtor.This is not a recognized methodology for the appraisal of real property for ad valorem tax purposes.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).
The analysis prepared by Mr. Black relied upon an active listing and an expired listing and four recently sold properties. The sales ranged in sale prices from $90,000 to $138,000.All listings and sales were adjusted by Mr. Black to an indicated value of $117,843 for the subject.However, no detail was provided as to how each property was adjusted.Two sales were adjusted downward 15 and 11 percent respectively, without any explanation as to how or why any adjustments were made.The other two sales were adjusted upward 12 and 31 percent respectively again with no detail to justify any adjustments.No effective date for the analysis was provided.
There is no evidence to establish that Mr. Black could be qualified as an expert in the appraisal of property. However, the submission of Exhibit a essentially purports to hold Mr. Black out as such an expert.Mr. Black was not present to testify as to his analysis.Nevertheless, the offered evidence must be viewed in light of the general standard for presentation of an expert’s opinion on value.
“The facts upon which an expert’s opinion is based, like the facts sufficient to support a verdict, must measure up to the legal requirements of substantiality and probative force; the question of whether such opinion is based on and supported by sufficient facts or evidence to sustain the same is a question of law for the court.”Robinson v. Empiregas Inc. of Hartville, 906 S.W.2d 829 (Mo. App. S.D. 1995).
An expert’s opinion must be founded upon substantial information, not mere conjecture or speculation, and there must be a rational basis for the opinion.Missouri Pipeline Co. v. Wilmes, 898 S.W.2d 682, 687 (Mo. App. E.D. 1995). The facts upon which an expert’s opinion is based, like the facts sufficient to support a verdict, must measure up to the legal requirements of substantiality and probative force; the question of whether such opinion is based on and supported by sufficient facts or evidence to sustain the same is a question of law for the court.Robinson v. Empiregas Inc. of Hartville, 906 S.W.2d 829 (S.D. 1995).
The Hearing Officer cannot ignore a lack of support in the evidence for calculations and adjustments made by the expert witnesses in the application of a particular valuation approach.Drey v. State Tax Commission, 345 S.W.2d 228, 234-236 (Mo. 1961), Snider v. Casino Aztar/Aztar Missouri Gaming Corp., 156 S.W.3d, 341, 348 (Mo. 2005).
Exhibit A is totally lacking in the required supporting evidence for calculations and adjustments which were made.A comparative market analysis does not meet the standards required by 12 CSR 30-3.065(1)(B)2 for appraisals before the Commission.The Commission has never recognized a realtor’s market analysis as a basis for establishing fair market value in an appeal.The Hearing Officer after review of Exhibit A finds no reasonable basis to do so in this appeal.Exhibit A does not constitute substantial and persuasive evidence of fair market value as of January 1, 2007.
Therefore, the owner’s opinion of value can be given no probative weight in this appeal.Said opinion is not based upon proper elements or a proper foundation.Exhibit C likewise provides no basis upon which the Hearing Officer can conclude a value of the subjst property as of January 1, 2007, to be $117,800.
Complainant failed to meet his burden of proof, therefore the Assessor and Board’s value must be sustained.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization forJasperCountyfor the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2007 and 2008 is set at $24,360.
Complainant 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 Jasper 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 February 26, 2008.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
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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 26thday of February, 2008, to:Buck Eldridge, 1623 S. Marwalk Drive, Joplin, MO 64801, Complainant; Dean Dankelson, Prosecuting Attorney, 601 Pearl, Room 100, Joplin, MO 64801, Attorney for Respondent; Donald Davis, Assessor, 302 S. Main Street, Carthage, MO 64836; Bonnie Earl, Clerk; Stephen Holt, Collector, Jasper County Courthouse, Carthage, MO 64836.