State Tax Commission of Missouri
|DGS No. 3 LLC, Walgreens Real Estate||)|
|v.||)||Appeal Number 09-13249|
|JAKE ZIMMERMAN, ASSESSOR,||)|
|ST LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI,||)|
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE. Complainant presented 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 2009 and 2010 is set at $950,000, commercial assessed value of $304,000.
Complainant appeared by Counsel Thomas Caradonna
Respondent appeared by Associate County Counselor Ed Corrigan
Case heard and decided by Hearing Officer Maureen Monaghan.
Complainant appeals, on the grounds of overvaluation and discrimination, the decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization, which sustained the valuation of the subject property. The ground of discrimination has been abandoned. Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2009. The value as of January 1 of the odd numbered year remains the value as of January 1 of the following even numbered year unless there is new construction and improvement to the property. Section 137.115.1 RSMo
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
FINDINGS OF FACT
- Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper. Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization.
- Evidentiary Hearing. Exchange and Hearing Order was issued by the State Tax Commission. Parties were ordered to file their exhibits by June 2, 2015, Objections by July 2, 2015, Responses and Surrebuttal by August 3, 2015 and the parties were to request a hearing by September 2, 2015 or the appeal would be submitted upon the exhibits received. No party requested a hearing on this appeal and therefore the appeal was submitted on exhibits.
- Identification of Subject Property. The subject property is identified by map parcel number 08G520923. It is further identified as 12400 Old Halls Ferry Rd, St. Louis, Missouri.
- Assessment. The Assessor appraised the property at $1,231,100, an assessed commercial value of $393,950. The Board of Equalization sustained the assessment.
- Description of Subject Property. The subject property consists of a 1.12 acre tract of land improved with a 12,200 square foot retail building with a 2,800 square foot basement. The improvements were constructed in 1992 for a Walgreen’s drugstore.
- Complainant’s Evidence. Complainant submitted Exhibit A and B. Exhibit A is an appraisal report by Certified General Appraiser Steven Teague. Exhibit B is Mr. Teague’s written direct testimony. The exhibits were received into evidence without objection.
- No Evidence of New Construction & Improvement. 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. Section 137.115.1, RSMo.
- Respondent’s Evidence. The Respondent submitted Exhibit 1 – the Board of Equalization decision, Exhibit 2 the written direct testimony of John Gillick, Exhibit 3 – Deed dated September 30, 2011, and Certificate of Value as of October 5, 2011. The Exhibits were received into evidence without objection.
- Presumption of Correct Assessment Rebutted – Value Established. The evidence presented by Complainant was substantial and persuasive to both rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and to establish the fair market value of the subject property to be $950,000.
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. Article X, Section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, 138.431.4, RSMo.
Presumption In Appeal
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the County Board of Equalization. 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).
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. Hermel, supra; Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).
Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. See, Cupples-Hesse, supra. 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. Brooks v. General Motors Assembly Division, 527 S.W.2d 50, 53 (Mo. App. 1975).
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. Hermel, supra. 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.” 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). 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.
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. 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). True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use. 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).
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:
- Buyer and seller are typically motivated.
- Both parties are well informed and well advised, and both acting in what they consider their own best interests.
- A reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market.
- Payment is made in cash or its equivalent.
- 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 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. 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.
Issuance of Decision Absent Evidentiary Hearing
The Hearing Officer, after affording the parties reasonable opportunity for fair hearing, shall issue a decision and order affirming, modifying or reversing the determination of the board of equalization, correcting any assessment which is unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary or capricious. Section 138.431.5 RSMo; 12 CSR 30-3.080 (2). The filing of exhibits and written direct testimony establishes the basis upon which opportunity for an evidentiary hearing can be held. The Complainant has the burden to present substantial and persuasive evidence. The Respondent did not file any objections or rebuttal exhibits. Therefore, the Hearing Officer simply considered the exhibits filed and then proceeded to ascertain if said exhibits met the standard of substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the market value of the property.
Complainant Proves Value
Complainant presented substantial and persuasive evidence to establish a fair market value as of January 1, 2009, to be $950,000 for the subject property. Complainant’s appraiser developed an opinion of value relying upon an established and recognized approaches for the valuation of real property, the sales comparison and the income approach. The appraiser reviewed five sales that occurred from June 2006 to October 2009. The properties were similar to the subject. The appraiser also reviewed leases of properties, market vacancy, collection loss and expenses to establish market net operating income and reviewed authoritative sources and sales to develop an appropriate capitalization rate. The adjustments made by the appraiser were consistent with generally accepted guidelines for the appraisal of property of the subject’s type. The appraiser concluded on a value of $946,000 using the income capitalization approach and $952,000 using the sales comparison approach. The appraiser found the sales comparison approach less reliable. The appraiser reconciled the approaches to conclude a value of $950,000.
The Assessor presented information regarding documents filed with the Recorder of Deeds in 2011. According to the appraisal report, the Complainant has owned the property since 1996. The Assessor did not provide information regarding the sale. The certificate of value was completed by the purchases. The Assessor did not present evidence as to the market conditions on January 1, 2009 and the market conditions of October 2011. The exhibits presented by the Respondent were not substantial and persuasive of market value of the subject property.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization for St. Louis 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 $304,000.
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, MO 65102-0146, 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. Section 138.432, RSMo
The Collector of St. Louis 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 this 29th day of September, 2015.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been sent electronically or mailed postage prepaid on this 29th day of September, 2015 to: the county Assessor, county Collector and the following:
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