David Siering v. Shipman (St. Charles)

April 23rd, 2010

State Tax Commission of Missouri






v.) Appeal Number 09-32504












Decision of the St. Charles County Board of Equalization reducing the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE.True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $198,280, residential assessed value of $37,760.Complainant appeared pro se.Respondent appeared by Charissa Mayes, Assistant County Counselor

Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.


Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the St. Charles 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, 2009.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 St. Charles County Board of Equalization.A hearing was conducted on March 29, 2010, at the St. Charles County Administration Building, St. Charles, Missouri.

2.Assessment.The Assessor set the true value in money at $198,280, a residential assessed value of $37,760.The Board of Equalization reduced the value to $194,000, a residential assessed value of $36,860.

3.Subject Property.The subject property is located at 919 St. Joachim Dr. O’Fallon, Missouri.The property is identified by map parcel number 2-0050-8094-00-33 and Assessor’s account number T000300284.The property consists of .24 of an acre lot improved by a one-story ranch style single-family structure of average quality construction on a poured concrete basement.The home has three bedrooms with three baths.There is an attached three- car garage. The house was built in 2002 and has 1,737 square feet of living area.

4.Complainant’s Evidence.Complainant testified in his own behalf.He gave his opinion of value for the property under appeal as of January 1, 2009, to be $177,500.This was based upon his perception of a percentage decline in home values and the percentage decline in assessed values by the assessor for other properties on Joachim Drive.The following exhibits were offered into evidence by Complainant:





Articles on decline in home prices

Obj.- Excluded


Percentage Assessed Value Drop Four Properties-St. Joachim

Obj.- Excluded


2008/09 Assessor’s Valuation-Four Properties-St. Joachim

Obj.- Excluded


2008/09 Assessor’s & Board’s Valuation of Subject

Obj.- Excluded


Assessor’s Gross Rent Analysis Report on Subject

Obj.- Excluded


Assessor’s Preliminary Sales Grid/data sheets & photographs

Obj.- Excluded[1]

Counsel for Respondent objected to Exhibits A through F on the grounds of hearsay, relevance and lack of foundation.Objections were sustained.

There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2009, to January 1, 2010, therefore, the assessed value for 2009 remains the assessed value for 2010.[2]

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 $177,500, as proposed.

5.Respondent’s Evidence.Respondent presented the testimony and appraisal[3] of Teresa Macleod, State Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser.Ms. Macleod presented both the cost and sales comparison approach.She concluded a value of $216,000 based on the sales comparison analysis relying on sales of five different properties.

The properties relied upon by Respondent’s appraiser were comparable to the subject property for the purpose of making a determination of value of the subject property. The properties were located within less than a mile of the subject.Each sale property sold at a time relevant to the tax date of January 1, 2009.The sale properties were similar to the subject in style, quality of construction, age, condition, room, bedroom and bathroom count, living area, location, site size and other amenities of comparability.

The appraiser made various adjustments to the comparable properties for differences which existed between the subject and each comparable.All adjustments were appropriate to bring the comparables in line with the subject for purposes of the appraisal problem.The adjusted sales prices ranged from $209,000 to $226,700.The concluded value of $216,000, calculated to a per square foot value of living area of $124.35 which was in the middle of the range of unadjusted per square foot sales prices from $120.45 to $137.63.

Respondent’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, 2009, to be $216,000, as proposed.



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.[4]

Presumptions In Appeals

There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the CountyBoardof Equalization.[5]The presumption in favor of the Board is not evidence.A presumption simply accepts something as true without any substantial proof to the contrary.In an evidentiary hearing before the Commission, the valuation determined by the Board, even if simply to sustain the value made by the Assessor, is accepted as true only until and so long as there is no substantial evidence to the contrary.The presumption of correct assessment is rebutted when the taxpayer, or respondent when advocating a value different than that determined by the Board, 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.[6]Complainant’s evidence was insufficient to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the true value in money as of January 1, 2009, to be $177,500.Respondent’s evidence was substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption and establish the fair market value of the subject to be $216,000 as of January 1, 2009.

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.[7]True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use.[8]It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.[9]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.[10]


Respondent’s Appraiser valued the property under appeal relying on the Standard for Valuation.[11]

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.[12]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.[13] Complainant did not present any of the accepted methodologies in support of his opinion of value.Respondent’s appraiser presented both the cost approach[14] and sales comparison approach.[15]

Complainant’s Burden of Proof

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.[16]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.”[17]

Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.[18]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.[19]

The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value.[20]The owner’s opinion is without probative value however, where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or an improper foundation.[21]The opinion of value tendered by Mr. Siering was not based upon proper elements or a proper foundation.Accordingly, no probative weight can be given to the taxpayer’s opinion of value.

Complainant’s Exhibits – Hearsay, Lack Foundation, Irrelevant

The exhibits offered by Mr. Siering did not constitute the basis for any recognized approach for the appraisal of the subject property.The various documents were hearsay.A proper foundation was not established that the information as presented fell within any accepted appraisal methodology for ad valorem tax appeals before the Commission.Therefore, the documents had no relevance to establish what a willing buyer and seller would have agreed to as a price for the subject on January 1, 2009.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A consisted of a group of internet and newspaper articles on declining home prices.Taxpayers often attempt to base their appeal on such information.The reliance on such hearsay information is fatally flawed for two simple reasons.First, it is assumed that the previous assessment of the subject property by the assessor did in fact establish the true value in money of the property as of January 1, 2007.That may or may not be the case.There is no presumption that the Assessor’s value is correct in a hearing before the Commission.[22]Therefore, in order for a taxpayer to rely on articles concerning fluctuations in home values, it would be necessary to present appraisal or sales evidence to establish in fact the value of the home for the prior assessment date, in this instance January 1, 2007.No such evidence was forthcoming.

The second critical error in the reasoning of taxpayers relying on national, regional, or even local statistics and news articles regarding declines in home prices is that general declines do not establish price.The fact that in general homes declined for any given period at some particular percentage fails to establish what a willing buyer and seller would have paid for the property under appeal on January 1, 2009.General home sale date doesn’t prove value for a single property.Accordingly, there is no relevance for such information when the Hearing Officer must determine the value of the property under appeal, not whether home prices in general have declined.

Exhibits B, C & D

Exhibits B, C & D simply provided in summary fashion and demonstrated calculations the percentage of decrease in assessed values for the properties at 907, 912, 913, 918 St. Joachim Drive and for the subject (919 St. Joachim Dr.).The fact that the four neighboring properties had been reduced in the Assessor’s 2009 assessment from the 2007 assessment by 15 – 19.1% and the subject was only reduced by 5.37% does not establish that as of January 1, 2009 that a willing buyer and seller would have agreed to pay only $177,500 for the subject.Mr. Siering’s opinion of value based upon a 19% reduction in value does not find any basis in a recognized appraisal methodology.Percentages of changes in assessed values for other properties do not establish fair market value for any property.

Exhibit E

Exhibit E was not relied upon by Mr. Siering to establish his value of $177,500.Respondent did not present a valuation based upon an income approach to value.No foundation was presented to establish the appropriate use of this document in an appraisal analysis for the subject as of January 1, 2009.The exhibit had no relevance for establishing a value of $177,500 as proposed by the taxpayer.

Exhibit F

Exhibit F likewise was not relied upon by Mr. Siering to establish a value of $177,500.In point of fact this exhibit only served to rebut the owner’s opinion of value.This exhibit was a preliminary workup of a sales comparison grid utilizing only 4 of the five properties finally used in Respondent’s appraisal.The four adjusted sales prices ranged from $209,120 to $228,105.

This was, of course, not a work product of Mr. Siering.Therefore, he could provide no foundational testimony to establish how it might be relevant to prove his value.To the extent he desired to use it in some form or fashion to rebut Exhibit 1, it was likewise irrelevant for such a purpose.Preliminary work on appraisal reports has no probative weight in establishing true value in money.By the fact that the appraiser did not go with the preliminary adjustments, it is evident such was rejected in favor of the more complete work presented in Exhibit 1.


Complainant failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence to establish what a willing buyer and seller would have agreed to as the purchase price on January 1, 2009.

Evidence of Increase in Value

In any case in St. Charles County where the assessor presents evidence which indicates a valuation higher than the value finally determined by the assessor or the value determined by the board of equalization, whichever is higher, for that assessment period, such evidence will only be received for the purpose of sustaining the assessor’s or board’s assessed valuation, and not for increasing the assessed valuation of the property under appeal.[23]The Supreme Court of Missouri has recently interpreted Section 138.060.The Court stated:

“Section 138.060 prohibits an assessor from advocating for or presenting evidence advocating for a higher ‘valuation’ than the ‘value’ finally determined by the assessor…. Because the legislature uses the singular terms ‘valuation’ and ‘value’ in the statute, however, it clearly was not referring to both true market value and assessed value.While the assessor establishes both true market value and assessed value, which are necessary components of a taxpayer’s assessment, as noted previously, the assessed value is the figure that is multiplied against the actual tax rate to determine the amount of tax a property owner is required to pay.The assessed value is the ‘value that is finally determined’ by the assessor for the assessment period and is the value that limits the assessor’s advocacy and evidence.Section 138.060.By restricting the assessor from advocating for a higher assessed valuation than that finally determined by the assessor for the relevant assessment period, the legislature prevents an assessor from putting a taxpayer at risk of being penalized with a higher assessment for challenging an assessor’s prior determination of the value of the taxpayer’s property.”[24]


Therefore, while the appraisal of Ms. Macleod provides substantial and persuasive evidence that as of January 1, 2009, the true value in money or fair market value of the Complainant’s property was $216,000, the assessed value cannot be raised above $37,760.[25]


The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization for St. Charles County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.

The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $37,760.

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.

Failure to state specific facts or law upon which the appeal is based will result in summary denial. [26]

Disputed Taxes

The Collector of St. Charles 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 April 23, 2010.





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 23rdday of April, 2010, to:David Siering, 919 St. Joachim Drive, O’Fallon, MO 63366, Complainant; Charissa Mayes, Assistant County Counselor, 100 North Third Street, Room 216, St. Charles, MO 63301, Attorney for Respondent; Scott Shipman, Assessor, 201 North Second, Room 247, St. Charles, MO 63301-2870; Ruth Miller, Registrar, 201 North Second Street, Room 529, St. Charles, MO 63301; Michelle McBride, Collector, 201 North Second Street, Room 134, St. Charles, MO 63301.




Barbara Heller

Legal Coordinator




[1] Photographs of the four comparable properties used in Exhibit 1 were received into evidence, other portions of Exhibit F were excluded.


[2] Section 137.115.1, RSMo.


[3] Exhibit 1


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


[5] 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).


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


[7] 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).


[8] 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).


[9] Hermel, supra.


[10] 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.


[11] Exhibit 1, p. 4 – Market Value.


[12] 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).


[13] 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).


[14] Exhibit 1, pp. 12-16, indicated market value= $198,280


[15] Exhibit 1, pp. 17-20, indicated market value = $216,000.


[16] Hermel, supra.


[17] 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).


[18] See, Cupples-Hesse, supra.


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


[20] 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).


[21] 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).


[22] Section 138.431, RSMo.


[23] Section 138.060, RSMo; 12 CSR 30-3.075.


[24] State ex rel. Ashby Road Partners, LLC et al v. STC and Muehlheausler, 297 S.W.3d 80, 87-88 (Mo 8/4/09),


[25] The assessment of $198,280 (Assessor’s Original Assessment) at 19% – statutory residential assessment ratio.Section 137.115.5 (1) RSMo.


[26] Section 138.432, RSMo.