State Tax Commission of Missouri
v.) Appeal Number 10-79000
LISA POPE, ASSESSOR,)
PLATTE COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Platte County Board of Equalization setting value of two parcels at $430,000 (assessed value $81,700) is SET ASIDE.The property is divided into two parcels because of a section line which divides the property.At hearing Complainant asserts a value of $305,000 for the front portion of the property with a value of $25,000 for the back portion of the property.Only the front portion of the property is under appeal.Respondent asserts a value of $450,000 for the two portions of the property.Hearing Officer finds Complainant did not rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board but finds that Respondent’s evidence was sufficient to rebut said presumption and, therefore, sets value for the subject parcel at $425,000 ($450,000 for the two parcels).
Complainant appeared pro se.
Respondent appeared by John Shank, Attorney at Law.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer Luann Johnson.
The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2010.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Platte County Board of Equalization, which set value at $430,000 (assessed value of $81,700, as residential property) for the two parcels.The Assessor determined an appraised value of $450,000 (assessed value of $85,500, as residential property) for the two parcels.Complainant proposed a value of $330,000 (assessed value of $62,700) for the two parcels.A hearing was conducted on November 17, 2010, at the Platte County Administrative Building, Platte City, Missouri.
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
Complainant testified that the subject property had been on the market for a year and would not sell.It was foreclosed upon in February, 2010 and Complainant purchased the house at foreclosure sale for $330,000.Complainant asserts that this sets value for the subject property.
Respondent placed into evidence the testimony of Ms. Annette Testerman, residential appraiser for Platte County.The appraiser testified as to her appraisal of the subject property.The Appraisal Report, Exhibit 1, of Ms Testerman was received into evidence.Ms. Testermanarrived at an opinion of value for the subject property of $450,000 based upon a sales comparison approach to value.In performing her sales comparison analysis, the appraiser relied upon the sales ofproperties deemed comparable to the subject property.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Platte County Board of Equalization.
2.The subject property is located at 16555 130th Street, Platte City, Missouri.The property is identified by parcel number 16-1.0-12-400-000-007.000 and parcel number 16-6/-0-13-100-000-002.000.[The parties do not dispute that the value of this second parcel is $25,000].The property consists of a 5.4 acre lot improved by a one and one-half story single-family structure of good quality construction.The house is about seven years old and is in good condition.The residence has a total of nine rooms, which includes four bedrooms, three baths and contains 1,300 square feet of living area.There is a full basement and an attached three-car garage.
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, 2010, to be $305,000, ($330,000 for the two parcels) as proposed.
4.The properties relied upon by Respondent’s appraiser in performing her appraisal were comparable to the subject property for the purpose of making a determination of value of the subject property. The properties were located within one mile of the subject.Each sale property sold at a time relevant to the tax date.The sale properties were similar to the subject in style, quality of construction, age, condition, room, bedroom and bathroom count, living area, location, site size and other amenities of comparability.
5.The comparables were described as follows:
Comparable 1 (16650 130th Street, Platte City, Missouri) sold in March 2010 for $520,000.This property consists of a 6.10 acre lot improved by a one and one-half story single-family structure of good quality construction.The house was of similar age to the subject and appears to be in good condition.The residence has a total of 10 rooms, which includes5 bedrooms, 5 baths, and contains 4,688 square feet of living area.There is a full basement, and an attached three-car garage.
Comparable 2 (17345 130th Terrace, Platte County, Missouri) sold in July, 2009 for $410,000.This property consists of a 0.26 acre lot improved by a one and one-half story single-family structure of good quality construction.The house is four years old and appears to be in good condition.The residence has a total of 8 rooms, which includes 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, and contains 2,861 square feet of living area.There is a full basement and an attached three-car garage.
Comparable 3 (12800 Bellflower Court, Platte City, Missouri) sold in April, 2009 for $549,000.This property consists of a 0.25 acre lot improved by a one and one-half story single-family structure of good quality construction.The house is four years old and appears to be in good condition.The residence has a total of 9 rooms, which includes 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, and contains 3,187 square feet of living area.There is a full basement andan attached three-car garage.
6.The appraiser made various adjustments to the comparable properties for differences which existed between the subject and each comparable.All adjustments appear to be appropriate to bring the comparables in line with the subject for purposes of the appraisal problem.
7.The gross adjustments for Comparable 1 was 12.1%.The gross adjustments for Comparable 2 was 8.2%.The gross adjustments for Comparable 3 was 5.5%.
8.The adjusted sales prices for the comparables calculated to $458,890, $443,630, and $571,000, respectively.The appraiser concluded on a $450,000 value which is consistent with the market for properties such as the subject.
9.Respondent’s evidence met the standard of substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the value of the two parcels, as of January 1, 2010, to be $450,000.
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.
Official and Judicial Notice
Agencies shall take official notice of all matters of which the courts take judicial notice.
Courts will take judicial notice of their own records in the same cases.In addition, courts may take judicial notice of records in earlier cases when justice requires or when it is necessary for a full understanding of the instant appeal. Courts may take judicial notice of their own records in prior proceedings involving the same parties and basically the same facts.
Presumptions In Appeals
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the CountyBoardof Equalization.
The presumption in favor of the Board is not evidence.A presumption simply accepts something as true without any substantial proof to the contrary.In an evidentiary hearing before the Commission, the valuation determined by the Board, even if simply to sustain the value made by the Assessor, is accepted as true only until and so long as there is no substantial evidence to the contrary.
The presumption of correct assessment is rebutted when the taxpayer, or respondent when advocating a value different than that determined by the Board, 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.
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.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.
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.
Duty to Investigate
In order to investigate appeals filed with the Commission, the Hearing Officer has the duty to inquire of the owner of the property or of any other party to the appeal regarding any matter or issue relevant to the valuation, subclassification or assessment of the property.The Hearing Officer’s decision regarding the assessment or valuation of the property may be based solely upon its inquiry and any evidence presented by the parties, or based solely upon evidence presented by the parties.
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.
Trier of Fact
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.
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.
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.
Opinion Testimony by Experts
If specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert on that subject, by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto.
The facts or data upon which an expert bases an opinion or inference may be those perceived by or made known to the expert at or before the hearing and must be of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the field in forming opinions or inferences upon the subject and must be otherwise reliable, the facts or data need not be admissible in evidence.
Respondent’s Burden of Proof
Respondent, when advocating a value different from that determined by the original valuation or a valuation made 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.
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, 2010.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.“Where the basis for a test as to the reliability of the testimony is not supported by a statement of facts on which it is based, or the basis of fact does not appear to be sufficient, the testimony should be rejected.”
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.”
Complainant Fails To Prove Overvaluation
Complainant argues that the only possible indicator of value for the subject property is the price he paid for same at foreclosure sale.However, “The market value means the fair value of the property as between one who wants to purchase and one who wants to sell, not what could be obtained under peculiar circumstances when a greater than its fair price could be obtained, nor its speculative value; not a value obtained from the necessities of another; nor, on the other hand, is it to be limited to that price which the property would bring when forced off at auction under the hammer.It is what it would bring at a fair public sale, when one party wanted to sell and the other wanted to buy.” Although market conditions have certainly softened, it would be a rare day when a foreclosure sale would be considered to represent market value.As articulated by the Journal of Property Tax Assessment and Administration, “when foreclosure-related sales constitute a preponderance of sales in an area or research shows little difference between them and comparable conventional sales, then validated foreclosure related sales can be used without adjustment.”Complainant has failed to demonstrate that foreclosure sales constitute a preponderance of sales in the area.
Respondent Proves Value
Respondent presented substantial and persuasive evidence to establish a fair market value as of January 1, 2010, to be $450,00 for the two residential parcels ($425,000 for the parcel under appeal).Respondent’s appraiser developed an opinion of value relying upon an established and recognized approach for the valuation of real property, the sales comparison or market approach.The sales comparison approach is generally recognized to be the most reliable methodology to be utilized in the valuation of single-family residences.
The adjustments made the Ms. Testerman were consistent with generally accepted guidelines for the appraisal of property of the subject’s type.The adjustments properly accounted for the various differences between the subject and each comparable.The net adjustments to the sale properties fell within a very narrow range from 3.8% to 11.8%.Even the gross adjustments were in a very acceptable range from 5.5% to 12.1%.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization forPlatte County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.
The market value for the subject property for tax year 2010 is set at $425,000 ($450,000 for the two parcels).The assessed value for the subject property for tax year 2010 is set at $80,750 ($85,500 for the two parcels).
A party may file with the Commission an application for review of this decision within thirty (30) days of the mailing date shown in the Certificate of Service.The application shall contain specific 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. 
The Collector of Platte County, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall continue to hold the disputed taxes pending a filing of an Application for Review, unless said taxes have been disbursed pursuant to a court order under the provisions of 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 21, 2010.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
Senior Hearing Officer
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid on this 21st day of December, 2010, to:Erin Gilliland, 16555 NW 130th Street, Platte City, MO 64079, Complainant; John Shank, 9800 N.W. Polo, Suite 100, Kansas City, MO 64153, Attorney for Respondent; Lisa Pope, Assessor; 415 Third Street, P.O. Box 20, Platte City, MO 64079; Sandra Krohne, Clerk, 415 Third, P.O. Box 30, Platte City, MO 64079; Donna Nash, Collector; 409 Third, P.O. Box 40, Platte City, MO 64079.
 State ex rel. Horton v. Bourke, 129 S.W.2d 866, 869 (1939); Barth v. Kansas City Elevated Railway Company, 44 S.W. 788, 781 (1898).
 – Burton v. Moulder, 245 S.W.2d 844, 846 (Mo. 1952); Knorp v. Thompson, 175 S.W.2d 889, 894 (1943); Bushman v. Barlow, 15 S.W.2d 329, 332 (Mo. banc 1929)
 State ex rel St. Louis Public Service Company v. Public Service Commission, 291 S.W.2d 95, 97 (Mo. banc 1956).
 In re Murphy, 732 S.W.2d 895, 902 (Mo. banc 1987); State v. Gilmore, 681 S.W.2d 934, 940 (Mo. banc 1984); State v. Keeble, 399 S.W.2d 118, 122 (Mo. 1966).
 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).
 Hermel, supra; Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).
 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).
 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. 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).
 St. Louis County v. Boatmen’s Trust Co., 857 S.W.2d 453, 457 (Mo. App. E.D. 1993); Vincent by Vincent v. Johnson, 833 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).
 See, Nance v. STC, 18 S.W.3d 611, at 615 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000); Hermel, supra;Xerox Corp. v. STC, 529 S.W.2d 413 (Mo. banc 1975).
 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).
 Section 490.065, RSMo; State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts v. McDonagh, 123 S.W.3d 146 (Mo. SC. 2004); Courtroom Handbook on Missouri Evidence, Wm. A. Schroeder, Sections 702-505, pp. 325-350; Wulfing v. Kansas City Southern Industries, Inc., 842 S.W.2d 133 (Mo. App. E.D. 1992).
 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).
 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).
 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).
 A Guide to Foreclosure-Related Sales and Verification Procedures, Volume 6, Issue 4 – 2009;pp. 37 – 56; International Association of Assessing Officers and the International Property Tax Institute.