State Tax Commission of Missouri
DONALD & ELIZABETH ELSON,)
v.) Appeal Number 09-85003
MARGARET POND, ASSESSOR,)
SALINE COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Saline County Board of Equalization is AFFIRMED.Complainant, Elizabeth Elson, appeared pro se.Respondent appeared pro se.Case heard and decided by Hearing Officer Maureen Monaghan.
The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2009.
Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Saline County Board of Equalization.The Assessor determined a true value of $3000, assessed residential value $570.The Complainant proposed a value of $900, assessed value of $171.
A hearing was conducted on November 17, 2009, at the Saline County Courthouse, Marshall, Missouri.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 Saline County Board of Equalization.
2.Complainant’s Evidence.The subject property is a vacant lot leased by the Complainant.Ms. Elson stated her opinion of the true value of the subject property as of
January 1, 2009, is $900.This opinion of value was based on Ms. Elson’s conclusion that the city of Miami market would not support the valuation determined by the Assessor.Ms. Elson testified that the property is rough terrain and there is no access.Ms. Elson submitted Exhibit A which consists of (a) statement of reasons for appeal; (b) property record card for the subject property; and (c) tax bill for the subject property.
3.Respondent’s Evidence.Respondent’s employee testified as to her valuation of the property under appeal for general assessment purposes.The Assessor uses a value of $3000 per acre for l acre lots in Miami, Missouri.The employee provided a map of the area and lots, property record card for the property, the land valuation tables for Miami area and other cities in Saline County.
She testified that the Assessor’s office will combine lots that are contiguous and owned by the same person(s) and use a price per acre on those lots.
5.No New Construction.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2009, to the date of the hearing.
6.Complainant Failed To Prove Value.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 $900.
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.
Presumptions In Appeals
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the CountyBoardof Equalization.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 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.
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.
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. Complainants failed to present an opinion of value based upon a recognized methodology for the valuation of real property for ad valorem tax purposes.There was no relevant market data presented to establish value based upon the methodology relied upon by Ms. Elson.
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.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.A taxpayer does not meet her burden if evidence on any essential element of his case leaves the Commission “in the nebulous twilight of speculation, conjecture and surmise.”
Ms. Elson asserts that the value of her property should be reduced from the Assessor’s appraised value for the 2009 assessment cycle, because she does not believe the market would support the price established by the Assessor’s Office and affirmed by the Board of Equalization.
Although as a resident Ms. Elson is familiar with properties in the area, she provided no market data for her opinion.In short, the opinion of value tendered by Ms. Elson was not based upon proper elements and a proper foundation.It can be given no probative value.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization for Saline County for the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.
The assessed value for the subject properties is set at $570.
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 Saline 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 December 2, 2009.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid on this 2nd day of December, 2009, to:Donald Elson, 822 W. North, Marshall, MO 65340, Complainant; Donald Stouffer, Prosecuting Attorney, 101 E. Arrow, Room 100, Marshall, MO 65340, Attorney for Respondent; Margaret Pond, Assessor, 101 E. Arrow, Room 203, Marshall, MO 65340; Kenneth Bryan, Clerk, 101 E. Arrow, Room 202, Marshall, MO 65340; Grace Miles, Collector, 101 E. Arrow, Room 201, Marshall, MO 65340.
 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 SW3d 645, 649 (Mo. App E.D. 2002), citing, Equitable Life Assurance Society v. STC, 852 SW2d 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).
 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).