State Tax Commission of Missouri
v.) Appeal Number 10-51501
JERRY HOWARD, ASSESSOR,)
CLINTON COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Clinton County Board of Equalization setting value of the subject property at $79,600 (assessed value $15,120) is AFFIRMED.At hearing Complainant asserted a value of $40,000 (assessed value $7,598).Hearing Officer finds Complainant did not rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board of Equalization. Complainant appeared pro se.
Respondent appeared by Jayson Watkins, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer Luann Johnson.
The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2010.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Clinton County Board of Equalization, which set value at $79,650 (assessed value of $15,120, as residential property).The Assessor asks that the Commission approve the Board value.Complainant proposes a value of $40,000 (assessed value of $7,598) based upon a purchase price of $33,000 at foreclosure sale in October, 2008.A hearing was conducted on November 30, 2010, at the Clinton County Courthouse in Plattsburg, Missouri.
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
Complainant testified that he purchased the subject property at foreclosure sale in October of 2008 for the price of $33,000.Complainant presented MLS listings demonstrating sales of similar properties for $19,000, $17,900 and $18,000 in 2010.Complainant testified that he did not believe these sales to have been foreclosure sales.No appraisal was presented and no adjustments were made to the various proposed comparables for market reaction to areas of significant variation.
Respondent presented the property record card for the subject property showing a depreciated value for the subject improvements at $62,400 with a lot value of $17,200 for a depreciated value of the subject property of $79,600.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Clinton County Board of Equalization.
2.The subject property is located at 737 S. Chestnut Street, Cameron, Missouri.The property is identified by parcel number 26-01-06-0-23-003-027-013-000.The property consists of a 113 x 156 foot lot improved by two-story single-family structure of average condition and quality.The residence has three bedrooms and one bath and contains a base area of 1,162 square feet and an adjusted area of 1,903 square feet.The improvements were built in 1923.
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, 2010, to be $40,000, (assessed value $7,598) as proposed.Complainant presented no evidence tending to demonstrate that Respondent’s cost approach to value was improperly calculated.Further, Complainant presented insufficient evidence to allow the hearing officer to make a determination as to the comparability of the proposed comparable sales.Even the purchase price of the subject property, standing alone, is insufficient to prove overvaluation.For the reasons set forth below, prices paid at foreclosure sales do not automatically determine market value for a property under appeal.
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.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.
Official and Judicial Notice
Courts will take judicial notice of their own records in the same cases.In addition, courts may take judicial notice of records in earlier cases when justice requires or when it is necessary for a full understanding of the instant appeal. Courts may take judicial notice of their own records in prior proceedings involving the same parties and basically the same facts.
Presumptions In Appeals
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.
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 Board’s valuation is erroneous and what the fair market value should have been placed on the property.
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.It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.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.
Duty to Investigate
In order to investigate appeals filed with the Commission, the Hearing Officer has the duty to inquire of the owner of the property or of any other party to the appeal regarding any matter or issue relevant to the valuation, subclassification or assessment of the property.The Hearing Officer’s decision regarding the assessment or valuation of the property may be based solely upon its inquiry and any evidence presented by the parties, or based solely upon evidence presented by the parties.
Weight to be Given Evidence
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.
Trier of Fact
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.
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.
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.
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, 2010.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.”
Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.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.
Owner’s Opinion of Value
The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value.The owner’s opinion is without probative value however, where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or an improper foundation.“Where the basis for a test as to the reliability of the testimony is not supported by a statement of facts on which it is based, or the basis of fact does not appear to be sufficient, the testimony should be rejected.”
Complainant Fails To Prove Overvaluation
Complainant argues that the price paid at foreclosure sale is relevant in determining value for this property.However, “[t]he market value means the fair value of the property as between one who wants to purchase and one who wants to sell, not what could be obtained under peculiar circumstances when a greater than its fair price could be obtained, nor its speculative value; not a value obtained from the necessities of another; nor, on the other hand, is it to be limited to that price which the property would bring when forced off at auction under the hammer.It is what it would bring at a fair public sale, when one party wanted to sell and the other wanted to buy.”Although market conditions have certainly softened, it would be a rare day when a foreclosure sale would be considered to represent market value.As articulated by the Journal of Property Tax Assessment and Administration, “when foreclosure-related sales constitute a preponderance of sales in an area or research shows little difference between them and comparable conventional sales, then validated foreclosure related sales can be used without adjustment.”Complainant has failed to demonstrate that foreclosure sales constitute a preponderance of sales in the area.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization for Clinton County for the subject tax day is SUSTAINED.
A party may file with the Commission an application for review of this decision within thirty (30) days of the mailing date shown in the Certificate of Service.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.
The Collector of Clinton 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 December 21, 2010.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
Senior Hearing Officer
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid on this 21stday of December, 2010, to:Carl Johnson, 10399 NW Hwy. 36, Cameron, MO 64429, Complainant; Bill Burris, Prosecuting Attorney, P.O. Box 285, Plattsburg, MO 64477, Attorney for Respondent; Jerry Howard, Assessor, P.O. Box 436, Plattsburg, MO 64477; Mary Blanton, Clerk, P.O. Box 245, Plattsburg, MO 64477; Sharon Cockrum, Collector, P.O. Box 282, Plattsburg, MO 64477.
Contact Information for State Tax Commission:
Missouri – State Tax Commission
P.O. Box 146
301 W. High Street, Room 840
Jefferson City, MO 65102
 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).
 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.
 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).
 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).
 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).
 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).
 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).
 Cohen v. Bushmeyer, 251 S.W.3d 345, (Mo. App. E.D., March 25, 2008); Carmel Energy, Inc. v. Fritter, 827 S.W.2d 780, 783 (Mo. App. W.D. 1992); State, ex rel. Missouri Hwy & Transp. Com’n v. Pracht, 801 S.W.2d 90, 94 (Mo. App. E.D. 1990); Shelby County R-4 School District v. Hermann, 392 S.W.2d 609, 613 (Sup. 1965).
 A Guide to Foreclosure-Related Sales and Verification Procedures, Volume 6, Issue 4 – 2009;pp. 37 – 56; International Association of Assessing Officers and the International Property Tax Institute.