State Tax Commission of Missouri
DARLENE D. WILSON,)
v.) Appeal Number 11-63000
JOHNSON COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Johnson County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE.True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2011 and 2012 is set at $36,500, residential assessed value of $6,935.Complainant appeared pro se.Respondent appeared pro se.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Johnson County Board of Equalization, which sustained the valuation of the subject property.The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2011.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 Johnson County Board of Equalization.
2. Submission on Documents. Complainant requested in a letter accompanying the Complaint for Review of Assessment that the appeal be submitted on documents and waived an evidentiary hearing.By Order issued September 1, 2011, Respondent was given until and including October 3, 2011, to file and exchange exhibits and written direct testimony and to file objections as to waiving of the evidentiary hearing and submission of the appeal on documents filed.Respondent did not file any objections to Complainant’s exhibits.Respondent did not file any exhibits or written direct testimony.Respondent did not file any objection to waiving of the evidentiary hearing and submission of the appeal for decision on the documents filed by Complainant.
4.Subject Property.The subject property is located at 629 SE 501 Road, Warrensburg, Missouri.The property is identified by map parcel number 20-7-26-4.The property consists of seven acres, improved by a one-story frame house, built in 1980, which contains 1,600 square feet of living area, with two bedrooms and two baths, no garage or carport, and a unfinished partial basement.
5.Complainant’s Evidence.Complainant submitted the following exhibits, which are hereby received into the record, to establish her proposed value of $36,500.
Complainant’s Basis of Appeal Statement
Settlement Statement, dated7/22/10 – $36,500
Collector’s Tax Bill – Subject – Paid
Property Record Card – Subject
Tax Computation Formula
MultiList Service Data Sheet – Subject
Aerial Map Subject & Adjoining Property/ Tax Bill – Adjoining Property
Section 137.115, RSMo & STC pamphlet – Property Reassessment & Taxation
Complainant’s evidence was substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the true value in money as of January 1, 2011, to be $36,500.
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.In an overvaluation appeal, true value in money for the property being appealed must be determined based upon the evidence on the record that is probative on the issue of the fair market value of the property under appeal.
Presumption In Appeals
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the County Board of Equalization.This presumption is a rebuttable rather than a conclusive presumption.It places the burden of going forward with some substantial evidence on the taxpayer – Complainant.When some substantial evidence is produced by the Complainant, “however slight”, the presumption disappears and the Hearing Officer, as trier of facts, receives the issue free of the presumption.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.Upon receiving Complainant’s evidence the presumption in this appeal disappeared.The case is decided free of the presumption.
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.
The purchase by Complainant in July, 2010 meets the Standard for Valuation.
Complainant Proves Value of $36,500
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, 2011.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.In this instance the owner’s opinion of value was based upon the purchase price of the property at a time relevant to the assessment date in an open market transaction.This provides a valuation based upon proper elements and a proper foundation.Accordingly, the owner’s opinion must be accorded probative weight in the appeal.
Sale of Subject
Evidence of the actual sales price of property is admissible to establish value at the time of an assessment, provided that such evidence involves a voluntary purchase not too remote in time.The actual sale price is a method that may be considered for estimating true value. A price agreed to between a willing buyer and seller creates a presumption that the transaction was a market transaction.Complainant’s purchase of the property in July 2010 provides substantial and persuasive evidence as to the fair market value of the subject property and rebuts the presumption of correct assessment by the Board.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization for Johnson County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2011 and 2012 is set at $6,935.
Application for Review
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 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, 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 Johnson County, 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 November 29, 2011.
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 29thday of November, 2011, to:Darlene Wilson, P.O. Box 25207 #PTY13680, Miami, FL 33102, Complainant; Lynn Stoppy, Prosecuting Attorney, Johnson County Justice Center, 101 S. Market, Suite 301, Warrensburg, MO 64093, Attorney for Respondent; Mark Reynolds, Assessor, 300 North Holden, Suite 204; Diane Thompson, Clerk, 300 North Holden, Suite 205; Ruthane Small, Collector, 300 North Holden, Suite 201, Warrensburg, MO 64093.
Contact Information for State Tax Commission:
Missouri State Tax Commission
301 W. High Street, Room 840
P.O. Box 146
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0146
 The basis for the waiver of evidentiary hearing and submission on documents was that Complainant is a senior citizen residing with a friend in Panama and not able to afford the expense of flying to the United States for a hearing.
 When Respondent fails to offer evidence of value, he appears to consent to the value presented by Complainant’s prima facie case (qui tacet consentire videtur – a party who is silent appears to consent).