State Tax Commission of Missouri
DAVID L. & HATTIE M. LARSON,)
JAMES STRAHAN, ASSESSOR,)
TANEY COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Taney County Board of Equalization reducing the assessment made by the Assessor is AFFIRMED.Complainants failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board of Equalization.
True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2011 and 2012 is set at $69,900, residential assessed value of $13,280.
Complainants appeared pro se.
Respondent appeared by Counsel Jason Keck, Keck Austin, Springfield, Missouri
Case decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.
Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Taney County Board of Equalization, which reduced 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.Complainants timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Taney County Board of Equalization.
2.Submission on Documents.By Order dated 12/27/11, parties were given until and including February 29, 2012, to file exhibits and written direct testimony to establish their case in chief.Neither party filed objection to submission of the appeal on documents in lieu of an evidentiary hearing.
3.Subject Property.The subject property is identified by map parcel number 18-7-36-3-1-49 and is further identified as Emerald Point – PH VII Lt 141The property is located at 539 Crescent Dr. Hollister, Missouri.The property is an unimproved lot measuring 97.16 x 357.56 or 34,740 square feet (.80 of an acre more or less).
5.Complainants’ Evidence.Complainants filed with their Complaint for Review of Assessment a list of lot sales in Emerald Point during 2009, 2010 and 2011.This listing provided sales data on eight properties.The sale dates ranged from 10/22/09 to 4/26/11.The lots ranged in size from .14 to .64 of an acre, with one lot having no size given.The sale prices per lot ranged from$9,900 to $40,000.Complainant’s submitted their Written Direct Testimony stating “We feel taxes paid in 2011 and 2012 a fair market value of $61,500 was reflective on these Exhibit A lower prices.”
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, 2011.
6.Respondent’s Evidence.Respondent elected to present no 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.
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.Complainant’s evidence was not sufficient to rebutted the Board 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.
Submission of a list of sales does not establish value under 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.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.Submission of a list of sales does not qualify as a sales comparison approach to appraising real property.
Complainants Fail to Prove Value
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, 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.”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.The listing of sales is not substantial and persuasive evidence from which a conclusion of value can be made.No correlation of the eight sales prices which ranged from $9,900 to $40,000 with an average of $21,675 and a median sale price of $23,600 was provided to support the owner’s opinion of $61,500.It is not the responsibility of the Hearing Officer to take raw sales data and attempt to appraise the property under appeal.The information on the sales is insufficient to establish the degree of comparability of each sale to the subject.The information provides no basis for any adjustments which might be warranted to any given comparable.
A taxpayer does not meet the burden of proof if evidence on any essential element of the case leaves the Hearing Officer “in the nebulous twilight of speculation, conjecture and surmise.”The list of sales provides nothing but speculation, conjecture and surmise to support the owner’s opinion of $61,500.
Complainants failed to satisfy the burden of proof.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization for Taney County for the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2011 and 2012 is set at $13,280.
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.
The Collector of Taney 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 May 21, 2012.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
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W. B. Tichenor
Senior Hearing Officer
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid this 21st day of May, 2012, to:David L. Larson, 6401 Baker Ave. NE, Fridley, MN55432, Complainant; Jason Coatney, 1112 E. Walnut, Springfield, MO 65806, Attorney for Respondent; James Strahan, Assessor, P.O. Box 612, Forsyth, MO 65653; Donna Neeley, Clerk, P.O. Box 156, Forsyth, MO 65653; Sheila Wyatt, Collector, P.O. Box 278, Forsyth, MO 65653.
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
 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)
 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.
 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).