State Tax Commission of Missouri
CLIFFORD ERNEST TAYLOR, JR.,)
v.) Appeal Number 07-62532
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 Complainant failed to carry his burden of proof and establish the subject property to be exempt from ad valorem taxation.True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2007 and 2008 is set at $39,690, residential and commercial assessed value of $8,840.
Complainant appeared pro se.
Respondent appeared by Counsel, Jeremy Crowley, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.
The Commission takes this appeal to determine whether the subject property is exempt from taxation under the Constitution and Statutes of Missouri.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of exemption, the decision of the Jasper County Board of Equalization, which sustained the valuation of the subject property.The Assessor determined an appraised value of $39,690, assessed value of $8,840, as residential property and commercial.Complainant did not challenge the valuation of the subject property. A hearing was conducted on February 6, 2008, at the Jasper County Courthouse Annex,CarthageMissouri.
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
Complainant testified he was claiming his property was exempt from taxation based upon the property under appeal being in Patent at Law Status, as shown by the documents in Exhibit A.Exhibit A was received into evidence.
Respondent offered into evidence the appraisal report (Exhibit 1) of Ms. Christine Meadows, appraiser for Respondent.Exhibit 1 was received into evidence.Exhibit 1 concluded on a value for the subject property of $39,690 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 at8221 County Road164,Carthage,Missouri.The property is identified by parcel number 14-3.0-06-00-000-077.000.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2007, to January 1, 2008.
3.Complainant’s evidence was not substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumptions of correct assessment by the Assessor and the Board and establish the subject property to be exempt from taxation.
4.Exhibit A consisted of the following five (5) documents:
1.Recorder of Deeds Certificate Jasper County, Missouri Non-Standard Document, dated 6/23/2003, Book 1795, Page 957.
2. Quitclaim Deed, dated 6/16/2003, Recorded in Book 1795, page 958,
Grantor: Clifford Ernest Taylor, Jr.Grantee: Clifford Ernest Taylor, Jr.
Said Deed contains the following recitals:
Clifford Ernest Taylor, Jr., as assignees of, Reme C. Julian, named as “assigns” in the Patent Number 48873 bring this legally described land as described below out of Equity Status, and do hereby remise, release, and forever quitclaim to: Clifford Ernest Taylor, Jr., in At Law Status.By right of Ownership I am claiming the below described Land by authority of Assigned and inherent Patent Rights secured at least in Common Law and so bring said Land into At Law Status.
The real property inJasper County,Missouri, is described as:
Tract 1.All of the South 218 feet of the following described tract, To-With:Beginning at a point 250 feet west of the intersection of the West line of the Public Highway on the East side of Lot Numbered One (1) of the Southwest Fractional Quarter Section 6, Township 28, Range 31, Jasper County, Missouri, with the North line of the South one-half of Lot one (1), thence South 668 Feet, Thence West 500 Feet, Thence North 688 Feet, Thence East 500 Feet to the Point of Beginning.
This Deed, when recorded publicly, serves as notice to all that may have concerns that the above described land is secured and protected under the named Land Patent.All of the relevant certified Land Patent documents are in the private possession of Clifford Ernest Taylor, Jr. and are only viewable by appointment at the address shown above.
Done and dated 6/16/03, now, and nunc pro tunc on the date of the underlying Deed, which date is December 15, 2000.
See attached Warranty Deed # 23569 BK 1650 PG 0375, attached Declaration of Land Patent # 48873.
3. Warranty Deed, dated December 15, 2000, Document No. 23569. Recorded originally in Book 1650, Pages 0375 – 376.Recorded as attachment to Quitclaim Deed, in Book 1795, Page 0959.
Grantor: Loren G. Rinehart.Grantee: Clifford Ernest Taylor, Jr.
Said deed conveys the land described asTract 1 in the above referenced Quitclaim Deed, and an additional Tract 2 described as follows:All of a tract of land described as beginning 450 feet South of the intersection of the South right-of-way line of U.S. Highway 66-71 and the West line of the public road on the east side of Lot numbered one (1) of the Southwest fractional quarter of section 6, township 28, range 31, Jasper county, Missouri, thence South 218 feet, thence West 250 feet, Thence North 218 feet, Thence East 250 feet to the point of beginning.
4. Declaration of Land Patent – Patent Number: 48873, dated June 16, 2003, Recorded in Book 1795, Page 962.
Said Declaration contains the following recitals:
Know All Men By These Presents:That Clifford Ernest Taylor, Jr. does certify and declare as follows:That, named as “assigns” in the Land Patent named above, I bring up said patent in my name as it pertains to the land below described.
(1) THE CHARACTER OF SAID PROPERTY SO CLAIMED BY PATENT, and legally described and referenced under Patent Number listed above is:Tract 1.All of the South 218 feet of the following described tract, To-With:Beginning at a point 250 feet west of the intersection of the West line of the Public Highway on the East side of Lot Numbered One (1) of the Southwest Fractional Quarter Section 6, Township 28, Range 31, Jasper County, Missouri, with the North line of the South one-half of Lot one (1), thence South 668 Feet, Thence West 500 Feet, Thence North 688 Feet, Thence East 500 Feet to the Point of Beginning.
(2) NOTICE AND EFFECT OF A LAND PATENT.A grant of land is a public law standing on the statue books of the State, and is notice to every subsequent purchaser under any conflicting sale made afterward:Wineman V. Gastrell, 54 FED. 819, 4 CCA 596, 2 US App. 581.a patent alone passes title to the Grantee:Wilcox v. Jackson, 12 PET (U.S.) 498, 10 L. Ed. 264.Where theUnited States has parted with title by a patent legally issued and upon surveys legally made by itself and approved by the proper department, the title so granted cannot be impaired by an subsequent survey made by the government for its own purposes:Cage v. Danks, 13 LA. ANN. 128.
(3) LAND TITLE AND TRANSFER.The existing system of land transfer is a long and tedious process involving the observance of many formalities and technicalities, a failure to observe any one of which may defeat title, even where these have been traced to its source, the purchaser must but at his peril, there always being, in spite of the utmost care and expenditure, the possibility that his title may turn outr (sic – out) bad:Yeakle, Torrens system 208.If this land patent is not challenged within sixty days (60), in a court of law by someone, or by the government, it then becomes my property, as no one has followed proper steps to get legal title, the final certificate or receipt acknowledging the payment in full by a homesteader or preemptor is not in legal effect a conveyance of land.U.S. v. Steenerson, 50 FED 504, 1 CCS 552, 4U.S. App. 332.A land patent is conclusive evidence the patent has complied with the act of Congress as concerns improvements on the land, etc:Jankins v. Gibson, 2 LA ANN 203
See attached Quitclaim Deed # 48873, attached Warrnty (sic – Warranty) Deed # 23569 BK 1650 PG 0275, attached U.S. Land Patent # 48873.
5. MilitaryWarrant, Vol. 247, P. 72, Bureau of Land Management – Eastern States, Recorded in Book 1795, Pages 963 & 964, as attachment to Document 1, above.
Said Warrant reads as follows (Brush Script represents hand written portions of the Warrant):
THEUNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
To all to whom these Presents shall come, Greeting:
WHEREAS, in pursuance of the Act of Congress, approved March 3, 1855, entitled “An Act in addition to certain Acts granting Bounty Land to certain Officers and Soldiers who have been engaged in the military service of the United States,” there has been deposited in the GENERAL LAND OFFICE Warrant No. 48873for 120 acres in favor of Abraham D. White Private in Captain Bailey’s Company, Tennessee Militia, War 1812,
with evidence that the same has been duly located upon the South half of Lot numbered one of the South West fractional quarter of Section six and the North half of Lots numbered one and two of the North West fractional quarter of Section Seven, in Township twenty eight, of Range thirty one, in the District of Lands subject to Sale at Springfield, Missouri, containing, one hundred and thirty three acres and twenty two hundredths of an acre.
according to the Official Plat of the Survey of said Lands returned to the GENERAL LAND OFFICE by the SURVEYOR GENERAL the said warrant having been assigned by the said Abraham D. White to Rene C. Julian in whose favor said tract has been located.
NOW KNOW YE, That there is therefore granted by the UNITED STATES unto the saidRene C. Julian as assignee as aforesaid and to his heirs
the tract of Land above described:TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said tract of Land, with the appurtenances thereof, unto the saidRene C. Julian as Assignee as aforesaid and to his
heirs and assigns forever.
In testimony whereof, IJames BuchananPRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, have caused these Letters to be made Patent, and the Seal Of The General Land Office to be hereunto affixed.
GIVEN under my hand, at the City of Washington, theTenthday ofJulyin the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred andfifty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States theEight Third
BY THE PRESIDENT:James Buchanan
ByT J AlbrightSec’y
J M Granger,Recorder of the General Land Office.
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.
Constitutional and Statutory Exemption Provisions
Article X, Section 6 of the Missouri Constitution exempts from taxation all real and personal property of the state, counties and other political subdivision and nonprofit cemeteries.The Constitution also provides that all real and personal property, not held for private or corporate profit and used exclusively for religious worship, for schools and colleges, for purposes purely charitable, or for agricultural and horticultural societies may be exempted from taxation by general law.
The legislature by enactment of Section 137.100, RSMo has exempted property not held for private or corporate profit and used exclusively for religious worship, for schools and colleges, for purposes purely charitable, and for agricultural and horticultural societies.
Complainant has presented no claim for exemption under these constitutional and statutory provisions ofMissourilaw.There is no provision in the Missouri Constitution or Statutes which provides for real property to be exempt from ad valorem taxation because it has been Quitclaimed as “At Law Status” or as Patent at Law.Complainant has cited to noMissouricase law recognizing land as exempt from taxation because it has a Patent from the federal government, or a military warrant from the federal government granting land to an individual who served in theUnited Statesmilitary.No such case law is known to exist, since all land now held by private individuals or entities, at some point in the legal history of the land, received a Patent or a Military Warrant from theUnited Statesgovernment whereby the federal government divested itself of title and granted title to some private person or entity.
Burden of Proof
Complainant has the burden to present substantial evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board of Equalization.Hermel, Inc. v. State Tax Commission, 564 S.W.2d 888, 895 (Mo. banc 1978).In order to meet this burden in an appeal seeking exemption from taxation, the Complainant must meet the substantial burden to establish that the property falls within an exempted class under the provisions of the Missouri Constitution and Statutes. State ex rel. Council Apartments v. Leachman, 603 S.W.2d 930, 931 (Mo. 1980).It is well established that taxation is the rule and exemption from taxation is the exception.Exemption is not favored in the law.(See, Missouri Church of Scientology v. STC, 560 S.W.2d 837, 844 (Mo. banc 1977); CSCEA v. Nelson, 898 S.W.2d 547, 548 (Mo. banc 1995), citing Scientology).As noted above Complainant has failed to meet his burden of proof underMissouri constitutional and statutory provisions and under applicableMissouri case law.
Complainant’s Federal Grant of Exemption Argument Without Merit
For Complainant’s claim of exemption to be recognized it must then rest upon some aspect of Federal law.There must exist under the United States Constitution or Statutes this grant of exemption for land subject to a Patent for Mr. Taylor’s assertion to be valid.The taxpayer has failed to point the Hearing Officer to any provision of the U. S. Constitution which provides for an exemption from state ad valorem taxation.
Power of Ad Valorem Taxation and Exemption Reserved to the States
In point of fact, Amendment X to the Constitution provides:“The powers not delegated to theUnited Statesby the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”There is no delegation to the federal government by the Constitution of authority to exempt real property from the ad valorem taxation of a state.There is no prohibition in the Constitution against a state enacting ad valorem taxation.Therefore, under Amendment X, the right to impose ad valorem taxation is reserved to the states and likewise the right to exempt real property from ad valorem taxation is reserved to the states.
No Federal Statutory Authority for the Exemption Claimed
In like manner no citation was provided to any federal statute which requires individual states to exempt from ad valorem taxation land for which a Patent issued.No citation was provided which would establish that by executing and filing a Declaration of Land Patent and a Quitclaim Deed to “bring said Land into At Law Status” that thereby property is exempted from state taxation.Research of the United States Code Annotated failed to locate any statute providing an exemption from state ad valorem taxation on land for which a United States Patent has issued.Likewise no statute was found creating a category of land as “At Law” status, or creating a classification of “Patent In Law” land.Very simply such terms and the basis for exemption asserted by Mr. Taylor do not exist in the Federal Code.
Cases Cited Do Not Grant Exemption
Mr. Taylor relies upon six cases cited in the Declaration of Land Patent as authority for his claim of exemption.However, a review of those cases failed to provide any basis upon which the exemption claim can be established.It is unnecessary to provide a recitation of the facts of each case.None of the cases involved a claim by a citizen to exemption from state ad valorem taxation as is the present case.Therefore, the holdings of the various courts in these cases are not applicable to and provide no support for the claim advanced by Complainant.
Wilcox v. Jackson
38 U.S. 498 (1839); 13 Pet. 498; 1839 WL 432; 10 L.Ed. 264
The Wilcox case although providing interesting and lengthy historical reading concerning Fort Dearborn, Illinois and land transfers related thereto, sheds no legal light on the search for authority for Mr. Taylor’s exemption claim. The general holding of the Court was:A state has no power to declare that a title derived from the United States shall be deemed as perfect a title as if a patent had issued; the various acts of congress being to the effect that title is reserved in the federal government until passed by a patent. This is simply what has always been recognized in land law, that the federal government passes title to land by a patent.Nothing in this holding established an exemption from state taxation.
Litchfield v. The Register and Receiver
76 U.S. 575, (1869); 9 Wall. 575; 1869 WL 11460 (U.S. Iowa); 19 L.Ed. 681
Litchfielddealt with a mandamus action. It did not address in any shape, form or fashion the issue of land under a Patent being exempt from state taxation.It provides no support for Complainant’s argument.
Wineman v. Fastrell
54 F. 819 (1893); 4 C.C.A. 5th (Miss) 596; 2 US App. 581
The cited case is nothing but a denial for a rehearing.The underlying case is found at 53 F. 697 and addresses in no way the matter of land being exempt from taxation because it has a federal patent.The case has no application to the issue before the Commission.
Cage v. Danks
13 La. Ann. 128 (La. S. C. 1858); 1858 WK 5069 (La)
This case stands for the proposition that when title to land has issued by Patent of the United States based upon surveys made by the federal government and approved by it, the title granted cannot be impaired by any subsequent survey which the government may make.Once again, the case does not stand for the proposition as claimed by Complainant.The holding does not establish an exemption.
United States v. Steenerson
50 F. 504, 1 C.C.A. 8th (Minn) 552
The Steenerson case involved the cutting of timber on federal lands.The court ruled that the commissioner of the general land office has authority to cancel a pre-emption entry and certificate on the ground that the entry was fraudulently made and void.Nothing in the case discusses or establishes an exemption from state ad valorem taxes.
Jenkins v. Gibson
3 La. Ann 203 (La. S.C. 1848); 1848 WL 3756 (La.)
The final case Mr. Taylor relies on provides no more support for his exemption claim and any of the preceding five cases.The Louisiana Court simply held that the United States patent was conclusive evidence that the patentee has fulfilled the requisitions of the acts of Congress relative to improvements on the land.No claim or grant of an exemption is even raised in the Court’s Decision.
Westlaw KeyCite Research
A search under Westlaw KeyCite – Public Lands – Patents failed to turn up any state or federal case which stands for the proposition advanced by Mr. Taylor that his actions in recording a Quitclaim Deed and a Declaration of Land Patent created an exemption from ad valorem taxation under the laws of theUnited Statesor ofMissouri.
A Patent is a Deed
It has been long established that a “patent” for land is nothing more than a deed of the United States.The operation of a “patent” as a deed is that of a quit claim, or rather of a conveyance of such interest as the United Statespossessed in the land.Beard v. Federy, 70 U.S. 478; 1865 WL 10733 (U.S. Ca); 18 L.Ed. 88; 3 Wall. 478.The Hearing Officer finds no authority for an individual to “patent” land to himself.A patent is not an exemption.
The recording of Mr. Taylor’s Declaration of Land Patent and Quitclaim Deed was an act of no consequence.Mr. Taylor’s chain of title apparently runs from the warrant (“patent”) of the United States government conveying land to Abraham D. White (Exhibit A, Document 5).By said warrant the federal government deeded the land to Mr. White (who had assigned it to Mr. Julian).TheUnited States did not grant Mr. White, Mr. Julian, or their successors, heirs, or assigns any exemption from taxation.The Federal government possessed no such power to grant any such exemption.
Summary and Conclusion
There exists no state constitutional or statutory authority to grant an exemption as claimed by the taxpayer.The Federal Constitution and Statutes do not grant an exemption from state ad valorem taxation of Complainant’s real property.The cases cited by Mr. Taylor do not stand for the proposition that by filing a Declaration of Land Patent and quitclaiming land to be owned in “At Law” status creates any exemption from taxation.Accordingly, Complainant’s claim for exemption has no foundation in law and is therefore, denied.
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 $8,840.
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.
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 March 4, 2008.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
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 4thday of March, 2008, to:Clifford Taylor, 8221 County Road 164, Carthage, MO 64836, 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.