David Clark v. Rouse (Putnam)

February 15th, 2011

State Tax Commission of Missouri






v.) Appeal Number 10-80502












Decision of the Putnam County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is AFFIRMED.True value in money for the subject property for tax year 2010 is set at $6,830, residential assessed value of $1,300.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 and discrimination, the decision of the Putnam 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, 2009 and whether there was an intentional plan by the assessing officials to assess the property under appeal at a ratio greater than 19% of true value in money, or at a ratio greater than the average 2009 residential assessment ratio for Putnam County.The Hearing Officer,

having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.


1.Jurisdiction.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Putnam County Board of Equalization.A hearing was conducted on January 11, 2011, at the Putnam County Courthouse,Unionville,Missouri.

2.Assessment.The Assessor appraised the subject property at $6,830, a residential assessed value of $1,300.The Board sustained the assessment.[1]

3.Subject Property.The subject property is located on Highway 129, north of Unionville, Missouri.It is identified by map parcel number 002+03707335003.01.The property consists of approximately one and a quarter acres of land (60,984 square feet), improved by a 31 x 46 foot wood frame shed.[2]The shed was built in 2009 by Complainant with used lumber, it has a dirt floor and no utilities.Complainant purchased the property in August 2009 for $1,500 in a private sale, under a contract for deed.

4.Complainant’s Evidence.Complainant and his wife testified at hearing.Mr. Clark stated his opinion of value to be $2,000 – $3,000.[3]The range of value was not supported by any documentation that would establish the market value for the property.The following exhibits were received into evidence.Exhibit A-1: Letter dated 1/3/11 by Jack Parrish.[4]Exhibit A-2: Two photographs of the subject property taken 1/10/11.

The shed was added to the property during 2009, therefore the assessed value for 2010 is established as the property physically existed on January 1, 2010, but under the economic conditions that existed as of January 1, 2009.[5]

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 either $2,000 or $3,000.

5.Respondent’s Evidence. Respondent testified in his own behalf.The assessment of the property under appeal was based upon the standards and practices applicable to all other similar property in Putnam County.[6]Exhibit 1 – Property Record Card on Subject – was received into evidence.



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.[7]

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.[8]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.[9]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 CountyBoardof Equalization.[10]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.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.[11]Complainant failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and to establish the fair market value for the property under appeal.

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.[12]True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use.[13]It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.[14]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.


6.The price represents a normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special financing amounts and/or terms, services, fees, costs, or credits incurred in the transaction.[15]

Complainant’s opinion of value and evidence did not come within the Standard for Valuation.


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.[16]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.[17] Complainant did not present an opinion of value that was derived from the application of any recognized appraisal methodology.

Complainant Failed To Prove Value of $2,000 – $3,000

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, 2009.[18]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.”[19]

Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.[20]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.[21]

Owner’s Opinion of Value

The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value.[22]The owner’s opinion is without probative value however, where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or an improper foundation.[23]The owner gave his opinion of value to be in a range from $2,000 to $3,000.This is a classic example of an opinion by speculation.When an owner provides the Hearing Officer with a range of value, it is nothing but speculation as to what value might be applied within that range.That is assuming there was some substantial and persuasive evidence to actually establish the range asserted.There was not in this instance.

A taxpayer does not meet his burden if evidence on any essential element of his case leaves the Commission “in the nebulous twilight of speculation, conjecture and surmise.”[24]Since there was no market evidence to establish the purported range of value, the taxpayer left the Hearing Officer with nothing but speculation, conjecture and surmise as to the fair market value of the property.The value put forth by Mr. Clark was not based upon proper elements, nor did it have a proper foundation.Accordingly, no probative weight can be given to the opinion of the owner.

Much of Mr. Clark’s testimony related to what he had been told by both Jack Parrish and Lowell Brown.[25]This hearsay provided nothing of substance and nothing that was material to the issue of what a willing buyer and seller would have paid for the subject property in an open market transaction on January 1, 2009.Any assertions by Mr. Brown as to his view of the

purchase by Mr. Clark or claims as to what he might, could, or wanted to do are irrelevant.They prove nothing material to this 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.[26] The sale price in August 2009 is irrelevant in this instance.Yes, the sale was at a time relevant to a January 1, 2009, valuation.However, neither the seller nor the buyer had any actual idea as to how much land was being bought and sold.[27]Although the parties were willing to conclude the transaction, it is unclear that either or both were knowledgeable or well informed to conclude the transaction.Most importantly, Mr. Clark did not rely on that sale to establish the value of the subject property for purposes of this appeal.The Hearing Officer found nothing of persuasive merit to the August 2009 transaction to establish the true value in money as of January 1, 2009.


In order to obtain a reduction in assessed value based upon discrimination, the Complainant must (1) prove the true value in money of the subject property on January 1, 2009; and (2) show an intentional plan of discrimination by the assessing officials resulting in an assessment of that property at a greater percentage of value than other property, generally, within the same class within the same taxing jurisdiction.[28]Evidence of value and assessments of a few properties does not prove discrimination.Substantial evidence must show that all other property in the same class, generally, is actually undervalued.[29]The difference in the assessment ratio of the subject property the average assessment ratio in the subject county must be shown to be grossly excessive.[30]No other methodology is sufficient to establish discrimination.[31]

Complainant presented no evidence upon which a claim of discrimination could be sustained.Complainant failed to prove the fair market value of the property under appeal and failed to present any evidence to establish that the property under appeal was being assessed at a percentage of value greater than other residential property inPutnamCountyfor the 2009 – 2010 assessment.Respondent’s testimony established that the Clark property had been assessed in accordance with the policies and procedures employed by Mr. Rouse in his appraisal of all other similar property inPutnamCounty.


Complainant failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and to establish true value in money as of January 1, 2009.Therefore, the assessment by the Board must be affirmed.


The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization forPutnamCountyfor the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.

The assessed value for the subject property for tax year 2010 is set at $1,300.

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 for this Decision.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.

Failure to state specific facts or law upon which the application for review is based will result in summary denial. [32]

Disputed Taxes

The Collector of Putnam 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 February 15, 2011.





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 15th day of February, 2011, to:David Clark, 423 N. 20th, Centerville, IA 52544, Complainant; James Garrett, Prosecuting Attorney, 1702 W. Main, Unionville, MO 63565, Attorney for Respondent; Paul Rouse, Assessor; Chrystal Perkins, Clerk; Sharon Thompson, Treasurer & ex officio Collector, Putnam County Courthouse, Unionville, MO 63565.




Barbara Heller

Legal Coordinator





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


573-751-1341 Fax



[1] Exhibit 1


[2] Exhibit 1; Testimony of Respondent and Complainant.Complainant testified the shed was 30 x 45.Respondent testified the property record card showed linear feet rounded to the nearest whole foot.


[3] The Complaint for Review of Assessment gave the owner’s opinion of value to be $3,000


[4] Jack Parrish was the seller of the property in the August 2009 sale.


[5] Section 137.115.1, RSMo.


[6] Testimony of Respondent


[7] Article X, Section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, 138.431.4, RSMo.


[8] Article X, Sections 4(a) and 4(b), Mo. Const. of 1945


[9] Section 137.115.5, RSMo


[10] 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)


[11] Hermel, supra; Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959)


[12] St. Joe Minerals Corp. v. State Tax Commission, 854 S.W.2d 526, 529 (Mo. App. E.D. 1993); Missouri Baptist Children’s Home v. State Tax Commission, 867 S.W.2d 510, 512 (Mo. banc 1993).


[13] 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).


[14] Hermel, supra.


[15] 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.


[16] See, Nance v. STC, 18 S.W.3d 611, at 615 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000); Hermel, supra;Xerox Corp. v. STC, 529 S.W.2d 413 (Mo. banc 1975).


[17] 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).


[18] Hermel, supra.


[19] 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).


[20] See, Cupples-Hesse, supra.


[21] Brooks v. General Motors Assembly Division, 527 S.W.2d 50, 53 (Mo. App. 1975).


[22] Rigali v. Kensington Place Homeowners’ Ass’n, 103 S.W.3d 839, 846 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003); Boten v. Brecklein, 452 S.W.2d 86, 95 (Sup. 1970).


[23] 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).


[24] See, Rossman v. G.G.C. Corp. of Missouri, 596 S.W.2d 469, 471 (Mo. App. 1980).


[25] Mr. Brown performed contract work on mapping for the Assessor, but was not an employee of the Assessor’s office.


[26] St. Joe Minerals Corp., supra.


[27] Testimony of Mr. Clark


[28] Koplar v. State Tax Commission, 321 S.W.2d 686, 690, 695 (Mo. 1959).


[29] State ex rel. Plantz v. State Tax Commission, 384 S.W.2d 565, 568 (Mo. 1964).


[30] Savage v. State Tax Commission of Missouri, 722 S.W.2d 72, 79 (Mo. banc 1986).


[31] Cupples-Hesse, supra.


[32] Section 138.432, RSMo.