State Tax Commission of Missouri
DALE W. & PATRICE A. SPRUCE,)
v.) Appeal Number 09-62504
CONNIE HOOVER, ASSESSOR,)
JASPER COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Jasper County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is AFFIRMED.True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $20,400, residential assessed value of $3,880.Complainant, Dale W. Spruce, appeared pro se.Respondent appeared by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Jeremy Crowley.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, 2009.
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 $20,400, assessed value of $3,880, as residential property.Complainant proposed a value of $15,000, assessed value of $2,850.A hearing was conducted on October 27, 2009, at the Jasper County Courthouse, Carthage, Missouri.
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 from the decision of the Jasper County Board of Equalization.
2.Subject Property.The subject property is located at 1014 Grove Street, Carthage, Missouri.The property is identified by map parcel number 14-2-4-3-12-2.
3.No Evidence of New Construction and Improvement.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2009, to the date of hearing.Owner had no plans to do any new construction and improvement prior to January 1, 2010.Therefore the value for 2009 will remain the value for 2010 in the absence of any new construction and improvement.
4.Complainant’s Evidence.Mr. Spruce testified in his own behalf.He stated his opinion of value as of January 1, 2009, to be $15,000.He offered into evidence Exhibit A.There was no objection and Exhibit A was received into evidence.
Exhibit A consisted of the following documents: (1) 2009 Assessor’s Change Notice; (2) Tax record from 2002 – 2008 on the subject property; (3) Aerial photograph showing the location of the subject property and the flood zone; (4) Photograph of the subject lot before flooding and photograph of one corner of the subject lot showing water standing around a fire hydrant; (5) Blacktop estimate dated 4/2/07; (6) News article from the Joplin globe; (7) Copy of a 2008 tax bill on a 52 acre tract of land in Jasper County.Exhibit A provided no market data upon which a conclusion of value as of January 1, 2009 could be concluded.
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, 2009, to be $15,000.
5.Respondent’s Evidence.Respondent offered into evidence Exhibit 1 – valuation data and the testimony of Lisa Perry, Administrative Assistant to Respondent.
Exhibit 1 consisted of the following documents:Property Record Card and photographs of subject; Locator Map for three comparable properties; Property Record Cards and photographs for three comparable properties.Exhibit 1 was received into evidence.
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.
Presumptions In Appeals
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the CountyBoardof Equalization.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.When, as in this instance, the Complainants only present an opinion of value, unsubstantiated by persuasive market data, the presumption of correctness of the assessment by the Board is not rebutted.
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.
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.Missouri courts have approved the comparable sales or market approach, the cost approach and the income approach as recognized methods of arriving at fair market value.Complainants presented no evidence to establish fair market value as of January 1, 2009 under any accepted methodology for the appraisal of real estate for ad valorem tax purposes.
Complainants’ Burden of Proof
In order to prevail, Complainants 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, 2009.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.
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.In the present case, Mr. Spruce’s opinion of value is based upon his testimony that the value should be dropped because the property is in a flood plain and should not be raised because of the economy.This testimony provided no market data to establish what the fair market value of the property was as of
January 1, 2009.Therefore, the owner’s opinion of value was not shown to have been based upon proper elements or a proper foundation.Accordingly, it can be given no probative weight.
Complainants failed to meet their burden of proof.The Board presumption must be affirmed.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization for Jasper County for the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $3,880.
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 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 Jasper 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 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 November 24, 2009.
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 24thday of November, 2009, to:Dale Spruce, 9500 County Road 90, Carthage, MO 64836, Complainant; Jeremy Crowley, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, 601 Pearl, Room 100, Joplin, MO 64801, Attorney for Respondent; Connie Hoover, Assessor, 302 S. Main Street, Carthage, MO 64836; Bonnie Earl, Clerk; Stephen Holt, Collector, Jasper County Courthouse, Carthage, MO 64836.
 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. 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).
 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).