State Tax Commission of Missouri
COLLEEN LANG, )
v. ) Appeal No. 12-20132
ED BUSHMEYER, ASSESSOR, )
ST. LOUIS CITY, MISSOURI, )
DECISION AND ORDER
Appeal Dismissed. Decision of the St. Louis City Assessor setting the assessed value for Complainant’s personal property is AFFIRMED. Complainant failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the true value in money for the subject item of personal property as of 1/1/12.
Assessed value of Complainant’s personal property for tax year 2012 is set at $8,430.
Complainant appealed pro se.
Respondent represented by Associate City Counselor, Donald Dylewski.
Case submitted on documents and decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Assessor who set an assessed value of $8,430 on Complainant’s personal property. The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the Complainant’s personal property on January 1, 2012. The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper. Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission.
2. Submission on Documents. By Order dated 2/19/13, parties were to file and exchange their exhibits to be used for their case in chief. Parties were to inform the Hearing Officer on or before April 1, 2013, if they desired to have an evidentiary hearing or would waive hearing and have the case decided upon the exhibits submitted by each party. Complainant failed to so inform the Hearing Officer and is therefore deemed to have consented and waived her rights to an evidentiary hearing. Respondent consented to the submission of the appeal on the submission of exhibits in lieu of an evidentiary hearing.
3. Subject Property. The subject property consists of the motor vehicle listed for Account No. B34741, a 2011 GMC Terrain. The Assessor set the assessed value for the property at $8,430, rough trade-in value of $25,275.
4. Complainant’s Evidence. By the Order dated 2/19/13, Complainant was to file with the Commission and exchange with the Respondent a copy of the exhibits, including a brief Statement of Basis of Value, to be used in her case in chief. These documents were to be filed on or before April 1, 2013. Complainant did not comply with the Order. Complainant had submitted with the Complaint for Review of Assessment the following documents: (1) a document identifying the vehicle and asserting a $2000 estimate to repair damage to front bumper and grill; (2) Kelley Blue Book Good Condition value $19,670, dtd 12/26/12; & (3) copy of 2012 tax bill.
5. Respondent’s Evidence. The following exhibits are received into evidence on behalf of Respondent:
Complainant’s 2011 Tangible Personal Property Return
Mo. Dept. of Revenue Vehicle Record on subject automobile
October 2011 NADA Used Car Guide – Trade-In value for subject
Section 137.115, RSMo – Procedure for valuation of automobiles
Exhibit List and Statement of Basis of Value
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.
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. 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.
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. True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use. 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.
Recommended Guide for Automobile Valuation
The assessor of each county and each city not within a county shall use the trade-in value published in the October issue of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association Official Used Car Guide, or its successor publication, as the recommended guide of information for determining the true value of motor vehicles described in such publication. In the absence of a listing for a particular motor vehicle in such publication, the assessor shall use such information or publications which in the assessor’s judgment will fairly estimate the true value in money of the motor vehicle.
Complainant Fails To Prove Value
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 items of personal property on January 1, 2012. There is no presumption that the taxpayer’s opinion is correct. The taxpayer is the moving party seeking affirmative relief. The taxpayer bears the burden of proof. Therefore, Complainant must present evidence proving the vital elements of the case that is the assessment was “unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary or capricious.” 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. 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.
Complainant failed to comply with the Order on submission of evidence to establish her case in chief. Complainant set out on the Complaint the Taxpayer’s Proposed True Value (Market) of $20,000. The documents submitted with the Complaint do not establish value as of 1/1/12. Tax bill for 2012 does not establish true value in money for the automobile. The Kelley Blue Book website information as of 12/26/12 does not establish value as of 1/1/12. Accordingly, there is no evidence upon which the Hearing Officer can conclude the value of $20,000. Appeal is dismissed for failure to comply with the rules and order of the Commission, failure of prosecution, and failure to present a prima facie case for the relief sought.
The assessed valuation for the subject personal property as determined by the Assessor for the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.
The assessed value for Account Number 321426 for tax year 2012 is set at: $8,430.
Application for Review
Complainant 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, MO 65102-0146, 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 St. Louis City, 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 June 4, 2013.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
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 4th day of June, 2013, to: Colleen Lang, 6101 Tennessee Ave., St. Louis, MO 63111, Complainant; Donald Dylewski, Associate City Counselor, 314 City Hall, St. Louis, MO 63103, Attorney for Respondent; Ed Bushmeyer, Assessor, 120 City Hall, St. Louis, MO 63103; Gregory Daly, Collector, 110 City Hall, St. Louis, MO 63103.
 Daly v. P. D. George Company, et al, 77 S.W.3d 645, 649 (Mo. App E.D. 2002), citing, Equitable Life Assurance Society v. STC, 852 S.W.2d 376, 380 (Mo. App. 1993); citing, Stephen & Stephen Properties, Inc. v. STC, 499 S.W.2d 798, 801-803 (Mo. 1973).
 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.
 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 and persuasive evidence is not an extremely high standard of evidentiary proof. It is the lowest of the three standards for evidence (substantial & persuasive, clear and convincing, and beyond a reasonable doubt). It requires a small amount of evidence to cross the threshold to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board. The definitions, relevant to substantial evidence, do not support a position that substantial and persuasive evidence is an extremely or very high standard.
“Substantial evidence: Evidence that a reasonable mind would accept as adequate to support a conclusion; evidence beyond a scintilla.” Black’s Law Dictionary, Seventh Edition, p. 580.
The word scintilla is defined as “1. a spark, 2. a particle; the least trace.” Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second College Edition. Black’s definition at 1347 is “A spark or trace <the standard is that there must be more than a scintilla of evidence>.” There must be more than a spark or trace for evidence to have attained the standard of substantial. Once there is something more than a spark or trace the evidence has reached the level of substantial. Substantial evidence and the term preponderance of the evidence are essentially the same. “Preponderance of the evidence. The greater weight of the evidence; superior evidentiary weight that, though not sufficient to free the mind wholly from all reasonable doubt, is still sufficient to incline a fair and impartial mind to one side of the issue rather than the other.” Black’s at 1201. Substantial evidence is that a reasonable mind would accept as adequate to support the conclusion. Preponderance is sufficient to incline a fair and impartial mind to one side of the issue rather than the other, i.e. support the proposed conclusion.