Dwayne & Cheryl Ross Tieszen v. Meyers (Carter County)

May 27th, 2014

State Tax Commission of Missouri









Appeal No.13-48500











 Decision of the Carter County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE.Complainants presented substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board of Equalization and to establish the true value in money for the property under appeal.

True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2013 and 2014 is set at $565,000, residential assessed value of $107,350.

Complainants appealed pro se.

Respondent represented pro se.

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


Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation and discrimination, the decision of the Carter County Board of Equalization, which sustained 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, 2013. 1 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.Complainants timely appealed to the State Tax
Commission from the decision of the Carter County Board of Equalization.

2.Submission of Case on Documents Filed.By Order dtd 11/5/13, parties were order to file on or before December 5, 2013, with the Commission and exchange exhibits and their respective Statement of Basis of Value.By order dtd 11/27/13, a continuance was granted for filing of evidence to and including 2/5/14. Complainants filed their exhibits in accordance with the Order dtd 11/27/13.Respondent filed no evidence.By order dtd 3/3/14,  Respondent was precluded from offering evidence on the issue of the true value in money of the property under appeal.
Respondent was granted a continuance to and including 4/14/14 to have an attorney to file an entry of appearance as attorney for Respondent.No entry of appearance was filed.By order dtd 4/22/14, Respondent was given until and including 5/2/14 to inform the Hearing Officer as to whether Respondent wished to cross-examine Complainants or Complainants’ witness, or whether Respondent would waive cross-examination and consent to submission of
the appeal for decision based upon Complainant’s exhibits. Said order provided:“Failure to respond to this Order will be deemed to be a waiver of the right to cross-examine and consent for submission of the appeal for decision based upon Complainant’s exhibits.Respondent made no response.Case is submitted for decision based upon Complainant’s exhibits.

3.Claim of Discrimination Abandoned.Complainants failed to present any evidence that would establish a claim of discrimination in the assessment of the subject property.Accordingly, said claim is
deemed to have been abandoned.

4.Identification of Subject Property.The subject property is identified by map parcel number 05-6.023.00-000-000-014.00.It is further identified as located at HC 2, Box 2118, Van Buren, Missouri. 2

5.Description of Subject Property.The subject property consists of a 4.77 acre site being improved with a two-story custom home containing approximately 4.554 square feet and a full basement.The home as of 1/1/13 was approximately only 50% finished.A detailed description of the property and photographs is found in Exhibit B.

6.Assessment.The Assessor appraised the property at $771,000, an assessed residential value of $146,490.The Board of Equalization sustained the assessment. 3

7.Complainant’s Evidence.Complainant offered into evidence the following exhibits:



A – 1

Hunnicutt Valuation How the System Works

A – 2

Proposed Hunnicutt Valuation Improve Real Property,
worksheet, etc.

A – 3

Property Record
Cards & Hunnicutt Valuations, square footage calculations

A – 4

Notice of Change of Assessed Value, 2013 Tax Receipt


Appraisal – John M. Karnes, Mo Certified General Real
Estate Appraiser


Statement of Basis of Value

No objections were made to Exhibits A through C.Exhibits A through C are received into the

8.Evidence of New Construction & Improvement.There was evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2013, to January 1, 2014. 4 However, that evidence was insufficient to
establish that the subject’s market value as of 1/1/13 and 1/1/14 had significantly changed.Therefore the
assessed value for 2013 remains the assessed value for 2014. 5

9.Presumption of Correct Assessment Rebutted.Complainants’ evidence (appraisal report) 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, 2013, to be $565,000, an assessed residential value of $107,350.SeePresumption In
Appeal, Methods of Valuation,
and Complainants Prove Value, infra.

10.Respondent’s Evidence.Respondent elected to present no evidence and rested upon the presumption of correct assessment by the Board of Equalization.



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.6

Basis of Assessment

The Constitution mandates that real property and tangible personal property be assessed at its value or such
percentage of its value as may be fixed by law for each class and for each subclass. 7 The constitutional mandate is to find the true value in money for the property under appeal. By statute real and tangible personal property is assessed at set percentages of true value in money. 8

Presumption In Appeal

There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the County Board of Equalization (Board or BOE). 9 This presumption is a rebuttable rather than a conclusive presumption.It places the
burden of going forward with some substantial evidence on the taxpayer – Complainant.When some substantial
evidence is produced by the Complainant, “however slight”, the presumption disappears and the Hearing Officer, as trier of facts, receives the issue free of the presumption. 10 The presumption is not evidence of value.

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. 11 

Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. 12 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. 13

Upon presentation of the Complainants’ evidence 14  the presumption in this appeal disappeared.
The submission of the appraisal report, performed by a state certified real estate appraiser, established prima
that the Board’s value was in error. The appraisal established what the fair market value that should have
been placed on the property.No evidence was presented that rebutted the conclusion of value in Complainants’
appraisal.Accordingly, the presumption was rebutted and the fair market value of $565,000 was established.

 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. 15 True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use. 16 It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date. 17 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.Bothparties 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. 18

The conclusion of value in the Karnes appraisal was based upon the Standard for Valuation. 19

Weight to be Given Evidence

The Hearing Officer is not bound by any single formula, rule or method in determining true value in money, but is free to consider all pertinent facts and estimates and give them such weight as reasonably they may be deemed
entitled.The relative weight to be accorded any relevant factor in a particular case is for the Hearing Officer to
decide. 20

The Hearing Officer as the trier of fact may consider the testimony of an expert witness and give it as much weight and credit as he may deem it entitled to when viewed in connection with all other circumstances.The Hearing Officer is not bound by the opinions of experts who testify on the issue of reasonable value, but may believe all or none of the expert’s testimony and accept it in part or reject it in part. 21 The Hearing officer finds the development of an opinion of value by Mr. Karnes to present a credible and reliable conclusion as to the fair market value of the
property as of 1/1/13.There is no basis in the record upon which the Hearing Officer could rationally ignore or reject
the appraiser’s determination of value.

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. 22 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. 23 Complainants tendered the appraisal report of
John M. Karnes.The Karnes appraisal developed the cost and sales comparison approaches. The appraiser concluded a retrospective market value of the property “as is” (improvements partial completed).The income approach was not deemed to be relevant to the appraisal problem by the appraiser.The Hearing Officer concurs.The development of the two recognized appraisal methodologies and the reconciliation of the concluded values were in accordance with what is accepted and recognized appraisal practice.

Complainants Prove Value

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, 2013. 24 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.” 25 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.As previously addressed under Presumption in Appeal and Methods of Valuation, the evidence presented by Complainants in the form of the Appraisal Report of Mr. Karnes (Exhibit B) constitutes substantial and persuasive evidence as to the fair market value of the subject property as of 1/1/13.This evidence made Complainant’s case.As will now be addressed the additional evidence tendered by the taxpayers (Exhibits A and C) can be given no probative weight to find the value proposed which is rebutted by Exhibit B.

Owner’s Opinion of Value

The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value. 26 The owner’s opinion is without probative value however, where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or
an improper foundation. 27 The owners tendered Exhibits A and C in support of an opinion of value of $530,800.
For the reasons now stated, the Hearing Officer finds the owners’ opinion not based upon proper elements or a proper foundation.Therefore no probative weight can be given to the tendered value of $530,800. Furthermore, Complainant’s own appraiser rebuts their conclusion of value.

The value of $530,800 proposed by the taxpayers rests upon proposed Hunnicutt Valuation apparently developed by Complainants and some unidentified individuals.Complainants also seek to draw support for their conclusion of value from three appraisals or valuations of the property in 2010.There is no evidence upon which the Hearing Officer can conclude that either Mr. or Mrs. Tiezen possess the education, training and experience to be considered to be experts relative to the development of an appraisal or more specifically development of a cost approach under the Hunnicutt Valuation methodology (Hunnicutt). Complainants’ appraiser did not utilize  Hunnicutt, but instead based his cost approach upon the Marshall Valuation Service©.This is the cost valuation
source that is the standard utilized by appraisers appearing before the Commission.Accordingly, no probative
weight can be given to the information presented in Exhibits A-1, A-2, A-3 or the taxpayers’ comments related to Hunnicutt in Exhibit C.As to Exhibit A-4 this provides nothing of probative merit to establish the true value in money for Complainants’ property as of 1/1/13.

Complainants’ utilization of three valuations performed during 2010 is non-persuasive.In the first instance,
the 2010 appraisals would have reflected the value of the uncompleted improvements as of the respective, unidentified, dates of valuation.There is no showing that the as is condition of the construction work in progress on Complainants’ home during 2010 was the same as of 1/1/13.Furthermore, having not presented copies of these appraisals there is nothing for the Hearing Officer to review to ascertain what possible probative value they might possess with regard to a 1/1/13 valuation.In short, the references to these sources presents simply hearsay upon hearsay and the Hearing Officer finds no basis upon which he could or should give any credence to the proposed owners’ valuation relying upon such information, if only as what the taxpayers’ reference as “checks and balances for the 2013 appeal.”The Hearing Officer fails to see how any 2010 appraisals on a construction work in progress can provide any check or balance with reference to the valuation for 2013. Exhibits A and C having been reviewed and analyzed are deemed to be irrelevant to the issue of what a willing buyer and seller would have paid for the subject property as of January 1, 2013.


The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization for Carter County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.

The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2013 and 2014 is set at $107,350.

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. 28

Disputed Taxes

The Collector of Carter 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.If no Application for Review is filed within thirty days of the mailing date set forth in the Certificate of Service for this Decision, the taxes in dispute shall be disbursed in accordance with the Decision herein rendered. 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 20th day of May, 2014 .


 W. B. Tichenor

Senior Hearing Officer

1 The value as of 1/1/11 remains the value as of 1/1/12 unless there is new construction

and improvement to the property.Section 137.115.1 RSMo

 2 Complaint for Review of Assessment; BOE Decision letter, dtd 8/6/13; Exhibit B

 3  Exhibit 1 – Summary of Salient Facts, p. 2; BOE Decision, dtd 7/31/12 – Attached to

Complaint for Review of Assessment

 4 Complainant’s appraiser notes on the pages of the Appraisal Report containing photographs of the subject: “Photographs taken in 2014; Subject was less completed as of 1/1/2013.

 5.  Section 137.115.1, RSMo

 6 Article X, Section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, 138.431.4, RSMo.

 7.  Article X, Sections 4(a) and 4(b), Mo.Const. of 1945

 8.  Section 137.115.5, RSMo – residential property at 19% of true value in money; commercial property at 32% of true value in money and agricultural property at 12% of true value in money

 9.  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)

 10. United Missouri Bank of Kansas City v. March, 650 S.W.2d 678, 680-81 (Mo. App. 1983), citing to State ex rel. Christian v. Lawry, 405 S.W.2d 729, 730 (Mo. App. 1966) and cases therein cited.

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

 12  See, Cupples-Hesse, supraSubstantial and persuasive evidence is not an extremely high standard of evidentiary proof. It is the lowest of the three standards for evidence (substantial & persuasive, clear and convincing, and beyond a reasonable doubt). It requires a small amount of evidence to cross the threshold to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board.The definitions, relevant to substantial evidence, do not support a position that substantial and persuasive evidence is an extremely or very high standard. “Substantial evidence: Evidence that a reasonable mind would accept as adequate to support a conclusion; evidence beyond a scintilla.”Black’s Law Dictionary, Seventh Edition, p. 580 The word scintilla is defined as “1. a spark,2. a particle; the least trace.” Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second College Edition.Black’s definition at 1347 is “A spark or trace <the standard is that there must be more than a scintilla of evidence>.”There must be more than a spark or trace for evidence to have attained the standard of substantial.Once there is something more than a spark or trace the evidence has reached the level of substantial.Substantial evidence and the term preponderance of the evidence are essentially the same.“Preponderance of the evidence.The greater weight of the evidence; superior evidentiary weight that, though not sufficient to free the mind wholly from all reasonable doubt, is still sufficient to incline a fair and impartial mind to one side of the issue rather than the other.”Black’s at 1201 Substantial evidence is that a reasonable mind would accept as adequate to support the conclusion. Preponderance is sufficient to incline a fair and impartial mind to oneside of the issue rather than the other, i.e. support the proposed conclusion.

 13 Brooks v. General Motors Assembly Division527 S.W.2d 50, 53 (Mo. App. 1975)

 14  Exhibit B

 15  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)

 16  Daly v. P. D. George Company, et al, 77 S.W.3d 645, 649 (Mo. App E.D. 2002), citingEquitable Life Assurance Society v. STC, 852 S.W.2d 376, 380 (Mo. App. 1993); citingStephen & Stephen Properties, Inc. v. STC, 499 S.W.2d 798, 801-803 (Mo. 1973)

 17. Hermel, supra

 18  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.

 19 Exhibit B – Definition of Market Value, p. 16

 20 St. Louis County v. Security Bonhomme, Inc.,558 S.W.2d 655, 659 (Mo. banc 1977); St. Louis County v. STC, 515 S.W.2d 446, 450 (Mo. 1974); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company v. STC, 436 S.W.2d 650 (Mo. 1968)

 21 St. Louis County v. Boatmen’s Trust Co., 857 S.W.2d 453, 457 (Mo. App. E.D. 1993); Vincent by Vincent v. Johnson833 S.W.2d 859, 865 (Mo. 1992); Beardsley v. Beardsley, 819 S.W.2d 400, 403 (Mo. App. 1991); Curnow v. Sloan, 625 S.W.2d 605, 607 (Mo. banc 1981)

 22  See, Nance v. STC, 18 S.W.3d 611, at 615 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000); Hermel, supra;Xerox Corp. v. STC529 S.W.2d 413 (Mo. banc 1975).

 23  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).

 24 Hermel, supra

 25 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)

 26 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)

 27 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).

 28 Section 138.432, RSMo