Dorothy & Paul Harrington v. Harmon (Monroe)

April 23rd, 2010

State Tax Commission of Missouri



Trustees Harrington Family Trust,)




v.) Appeal Number 09-72000











Assessment of the Monroe County Assessor is SET ASIDE.[1]True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $8,000, residential assessed value of $1,520.Complainants appeared pro se.Respondent appeared pro se.

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


Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation, the Assessor’s 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 acquired the property after time for appealing to the Board of Equalization.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission upon receipt of 2009 tax bill.

2.Submission of Case.By Order, issued February 22, 2010, the Hearing Officer suggested the case be submitted for decision on documents from each party.Each party was given until and including April 1, 2010, to file any documents, including a narrative statement setting forth the basis for each party’s opinion of value.Either party could file objections to the suggested procedure on or before March 15, 2010.If either party objected, the case would be set for an evidentiary hearing.Neither party filed objection to the submission of the case on documents for decision without holding an evidentiary hearing.

3.Assessment.The Assessor appraised the property at $22,400, assessed residential value of $4,260.[2]

4.Subject Property.The subject property is located at 211 E. Dover Street, Monroe City, Missouri.The property is identified by map parcel number 1-4-18-2-35-3.The property consists of an 8,680 square foot lot (62 x 140 feet/.20 of an acre).[3] The lot is improved by a single-family bungalow home built in 1950.The house has 2 bedrooms and one bath and an estimate 850 square feet of total living area.[4]There is a detached one-car garage.[5]The house and garage suffer from a number of deferred maintenance items.[6]

5.Exhibits.The following exhibits were received into the record

CP Exhibit

RP Exhibit




Letter dtd 12/17/09 – Harmon to Paul Harrington – Valuation



Letter dtd 12/17/09 – Harmon to Paul Harrington – Market Ratio Study



Letter dtd 12/17/09 – Paul Harrington to Harmon – Valuation



2009 Tax Bill for subject



Property Record Card on subject



Settlement Agreement dtd 7/24/09 – purchase of subject



9 photographs of interior and exterior of subject



Listing Sheet on subject



Letter dtd 12/22/09 to Commission from Dorothy/Paul Harrington


Plat Map of subject neighborhood


2 photographs of subject home and garage


Letter dtd 3/2/10 – Harmon to Hearing Officer


6.No New Construction and 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.[7]

7.Sale of Subject.Complainants purchased the property that is under appeal on

July 24, 2009, for $8,000.[8]The property sold in as is condition.It had been listed with Century 21 since mid 2008 for $15,000.[9]The July 2009 purchase is substantial and persuasive evidence that the true value in money of the property as of January 1, 2009, was $8,000.



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.[10]

No Presumption Assessor’s Value Correct

There is no presumption that the value determined by the Assessor is correct.[11]

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]


There is no evidence upon which it can be concluded that the July, 2009 purchase of the subject property did not comport with the Standard for Valuation.There is a presumption at law that a price agreed to between a willing buyer and seller creates a presumption that the transaction was a market transaction.[16]Being established by presumption to have been a market transaction, the 2009 sale, by implication comes within the Standard for Valuation absent evidence to the contrary.

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.[17]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.”[18]

Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.[19]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.[20]

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.The actual sales price, between a willing seller who is not obligated to sell and a willing buyer who is not compelled to buy, establishes an outer limit on the value of real property.[21]

The purchase of the property in July 2009 is at a time relevant to the assessment date of January 1, 2009.The fact that the property had been on the market at $15,000 for approximately a year before the purchase by Complainants and had not sold at that price provides substantial and persuasive evidence that the value of $22,400 set by the Assessor was not reflective of the price that a willing buyer and seller would have agreed to as the price for the property.Mr. Harrington had knowledge of what he considered to be similar properties in Monroe City which had sold close to the time of the purchase of the subject which brought $10,000 and $7,000.[22]

The purchase of the subject for $8,000 after having been marketed for approximately a year at $15,000 without selling provides substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the fair market value of the subject property to have been $8,000 as of January 1, 2009.

The limited information presented by Respondent concerning two sales in April and September 2009 for $32,000 and $31,000 was not sufficient to establish the true value in money of the subject to be close to those figures, or the amount of $22,400, in light of the subject having been listed for $15,000 and finally selling for $8,000.The evidence is substantial and persuasive that the true value in money of the subject property as of January 1, 2009, was $8,000.


The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor for Monroe 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 $1,520.

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. [23]

Disputed Taxes

The Collector of Monroe 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:Paul Harrington, P.O. Box 2130, Fairfax, VA 22031, Complainant; Nicole Volkert, Prosecuting Attorney, 300 N. Main, Third Floor, Paris, MO 65275, Attorney for Respondent; Judy Harmon, Assessor, 300 N. Main, Room 107, Paris, MO 65275; Sandra Francis, Clerk, 300 N. Main, Room 204, Paris, MO65275; Anita Dunkle, Collector, 300 N. Main, Room 101, Paris, MO65275.




Barbara Heller

Legal Coordinator




[1] Complainants acquired property on July 24, 2009, after time to appeal to the Monroe County Board of Equalization.


[2] Complaint for Review of Assessment; Exhibits D & 4; Exhibits E & 5.


[3] Exhibits E & 5; Exhibit 10.


[4] Exhibits H & 8.


[5] Exhibits G & 7; Exhibits H & 8; Exhibit 11.


[6] Exhibits G & 7; Exhibits C & 3.Deferred maintenance include: rotted sills, floor joist and sub-floor, sewer line problems, furnace, cracking of plaster, electric wiring issues, roofing problems, garage roof rotted with holes, garage windows rotted and boarded up, concrete floor of garage cracked and heaving.


[7] Section 137.115.1, RSMo.


[8] Exhibits F & 6.


[9] Exhibits H & 8. Exhibits I & 9.


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


[11] Section 138.431.3, RSMo.


[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] Phoenix Redevelopment Corporation v. Walker, 812 S.W.2d, 881, 883-4 (Mo. App. W.D. 1991).

[17] Hermel, supra.


[18] 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).


[19] See, Cupples-Hesse, supra.


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


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


[22] Exhibits C & 3.


[23] Section 138.432, RSMo.