State Tax Commission of Missouri
DOUGLAS D. WARD,)
v.) Appeal Number 07-46503
RONALD CRAIGHEAD, ASSESSOR,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Callaway County Board of Equalization reducing the assessment made by the Assessor is AFFIRMED.True value in money for the subject property for tax year 2007 and 2008 is set at $95,330, assessed value of $18,120 residential value.
Complainants appeared in person.
Respondent appeared in person.
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, 2007.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Callaway County Board of Equalization.The Assessor determined a true value of $100,140, assessed value of $19,030, as residential property. The Board reduced the value to $95,330, assessed value of $18,120. Complainant proposed a value of $90,000, assessed value of $17,000. A hearing was conducted on January 2, 2008, at the Callaway County Courthouse,Fulton,Missouri.
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
The following exhibits were received into evidence on behalf of the Complainants.
Exhibit A – Property Record Card
Exhibit B – Property Record Card after Adjustments
Exhibit C – Photographs of unfinished bathroom
Exhibit D – Photographs of Fire Damage to room taken 2-3 years prior
All Exhibits were received into evidence.
Testimony of Douglas Ward
The following exhibits were received into evidence on behalf of the Respondent.
Exhibit A – Appraisal of Subject Property dated November 1, 2007
All Exhibits were received into evidence.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Callaway County Board of Equalization.
2.The subject property is located at 6901 Silver Driver, Fulton, Missouri.The property is identified by locator number 13-09.0-30.0-00-000-032.003.The property consists of a one acre lot improved by a one-story, vinyl siding, single-family home structure of average quality of construction.The structure was built in 1983.The residence has three bedrooms, and one bath.The home has a second bath which is under construction.There is a two-car attached garage and an outbuilding of approximately 825 square feet.There was no listing or sale of the property noted within three years prior to the tax date of January 1, 2007.There was a fire in the home two to three years ago in a back bedroom.
3.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, 2007, to be $90,000.
4.Respondent’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, 2007, to be $108,000.
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.Article X, section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, RSMo.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.Section 138.431.4, RSMo.
Presumptions in Appeals
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the CountyBoardof 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 presumptions of correct assessment are 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.Snider v. Casino Aztar/Aztar Missouri Gaming Corp., 156 S.W.3d 341 (Mo. 2005).Citing to Hermel, supra; and Cupples Hesse Corp. v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).
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).It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.Hermel, supra.
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 is 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 each 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.
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; Exhibit 1, p. 2.
Missouricourts have approved the comparable sales or market approach, the cost approach and the income approach as recognized methods of arriving at fair market value. 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). The sales comparison approach is generally the best suited approach for the appraisal of owner occupied residences.When there is adequate and sound market data, the sales comparison approach provides the best evidence of value for an appraisal problem of this nature.
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, 2007.Hermel, Inc. v. State Tax Commission, 564 S.W.2d 888, at 897.Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.See, Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).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).See also, 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).
The Complainant has failed to meet the burden of proof in the present appeal.The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value. Boten v. Brecklein, 452 S.W.2d 86, 95 (Sup. 1970).The owner’s opinion is without probative value however, where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or an improper foundation.Shelby County R-4 School District v. Hermann, 392 S.W.2d 609, 613 (Sup. 1965).
The Complainant was able to point out deficiencies or errs in the Assessor’s valuation such as incorrect square footage, increased adjustment for heat in the outbuilding, and number of baths used by the appraiser.However, Complainant failed to present any evidence as to the value of the property.A taxpayer does not meet his burden if evidence on any essential element of his case leaves the Commission “in the nebulous twilight of speculation, conjecture and surmise.”See, Rossman v. G.G.C. Corp. Of Missouri, 596 S.W.2d 469, 471 (Mo. App. 1980).To place a value of $90,000 on the property based upon Exhibits A – D and the taxpayer’s testimony would consist of nothing more or less than speculation, conjecture and surmise.The Hearing Officer does not render decisions based on such elements.
Therefore, Complainant failed to meet its burden of proof to rebut the presumption of correct assessment and establish true value in money of $90,000.
Respondent’s Burden of Proof
Respondent, when advocating a value different from that determined by the Board of Equalization, must meet the same burden of proof to present substantial and persuasive evidence of the value advocated as required of the Complainant under the principles established by case law.Hermel, Cupples-Hesse, Brooks, supra.In this instance, the Board set the value for the residential property at $95,330.Respondent, at the hearing, advocated a value of $108,000.Respondent presented the testimony and appraisal report of Robert Schroer, a State Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser.Mr. Schroer conducted a sales comparison approach to value.He did an exterior inspection of the property and used three sales occurring from July 19, 2007 to August 31, 2007.The appraiser valued the subject property on November 1, 2007.The comparable properties used had six to eight total rooms, each had three bedrooms and two baths.The appraiser did not know how many rooms, bedrooms or bathrooms were in the subject property and therefore did not make any adjustments.The net adjustments on the comparables were from -1.3% to -27.20%.Given the valuation date was eleven months after the date used by the State Tax Commission and that the appraiser did not have a room count when he appraised the property, the evidence is not substantial and persuasive.
The Respondent conducted a cost approach to value.His cost approach is set out in Complainant’s Exhibit B.The Complainant questioned the Respondent as to such things as the square footage, a heating unit for the outbuilding, and double pine flooring in the home. The Respondent noted that not all adjustments had been made as he was waiting until after the hearing to amend the property record card.
Respondent failed to meet its burden of proof to rebut the presumption of correct assessment and establish true value in money of $108,000.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization forCallawayCountyfor the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2007 and 2008 is set at $18,120.
A party may file with the Commission an application for review of this decision within thirty (30) days of the mailing of such decision.The application shall contain specific grounds upon which it is claimed the decision is erroneous.Failure to state specific facts or law upon which the appeal is based will result in summary denial.Section 138.432, RSMo 2000.
If an application for review of this decision is made to the Commission, any protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accordance with this appeal shall be held pending the final decision of the Commission.If no application for review is received by the Commission within thirty (30) days, this decision and order is deemed final and the Collector of Callaway County, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall disburse the protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accord with the decision on the underlying assessment in this appeal.If any or all protested taxes have been disbursed pursuant to Section 139.031(8), RSMo, either party may apply to the circuit court having jurisdiction of the cause for disposition of the protested taxes held by the taxing authority.
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 January 15, 2008.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid this 15thday of January, 2008, to:Douglas Ward,6901 Silver Drive,Fulton,Missouri; Robert Sterner, Prosecuting Attorney, 10 East Fifth Street, Fulton, MO 65251, Attorney for Respondent;; Ronald Craighead, Assessor, 10 East Fifth Street, Fulton, MO 65251; Linda Love, Clerk, 10 East Fifth Street, Fulton, MO 65251; Pam Oestreich, Collector,10 East Fifth Street, Fulton, MO 65251.