State Tax Commission of Missouri
|ERNEST AND MARSHA DEMBA,||)|
|)||Appeal Number 13-10046|
|JAKE ZIMMERMAN, ASSESSOR,||)|
|ST LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI,||)|
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE. Respondent presented substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board of Equalization.
True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2013 and 2014 is set at $259,000, residential assessed value of $49,210.
Complainant appeared pro se.
Respondent appeared by attorney Paula Lemerman
Case heard and decided by Hearing Officer Maureen Monaghan.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the St. Louis 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. The value as of January 1 of the odd numbered year remains the value as of January 1 of the following even numbered year unless there is new construction and improvement to the property. Section 137.115.1 RSMo
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
FINDINGS OF FACT
- Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper. Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization.
- Evidentiary Hearing. The Evidentiary Hearing was held on July 29, 2014 at the St. Louis County Administration Building, Clayton, Missouri.
- Identification of Subject Property. The subject property is identified by map parcel number 18K540545. It is further identified as 7951-7953 Delmar, University City, Missouri.
- Description of Subject Property. The subject property consists of a 7000 square foot tract of land improved by a two story, two unit, residential building, with 3,376 square feet of gross building area. Each unit has 3 bedrooms and 1.1 baths with a garage in the basement. The property was constructed in 1941 and is in average condition.
- Assessment. The Assessor appraised the property at $ 269,800, an assessed residential value of $51,262. The Board of Equalization sustained the assessment.
- Complainant’s Evidence.
A. Appraisal Report of Joseph Marshall
B. Information regarding Ernest Demba and the expense and income information on the subject property.
C. Grid of Respondent’s Gross Rent Multipliers for Properties on Delmar except for the most expensive sale.
- No Evidence of New Construction & Improvement. There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2013, to January 1, 2014, therefore the assessed value for 2013 remains the assessed value for 2014. Section 137.115.1, RSMo.
- Respondent’s Evidence.
1. Appraisal Report of Ross Hackman
2. MLS on Complainant’s Comparable Rental 1
5. MLS on Complainant’s Comparable Sale 1
6. MLS on Complainant’s Comparable Sale 2
- Presumption of Correct Assessment Rebutted. Respondent’s evidence 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 $ 259,000.
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. Article X, Section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, 138.431.4, RSMo.
Presumption In Appeal
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the County Board of 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). It places the burden of going forward with some substantial evidence on the taxpayer – Complainant.
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. Hermel, Cupples-Hesse, Brooks, supra.
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, 2013. Hermel, supra. 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.” 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). 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.
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). True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use. 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).
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. 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). 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. 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).
Both appraisers developed the sales comparison approach and the income approach. Both appraisers placed the most weight on the sales comparison approach. The Respondent’s sales were most comparable, in particular comparables #1 and #4. Comparable Sale 1 sold one month before the effective date of valuation and was located less than one mile from the subject. Sale 1 is smaller, having one less bedroom, and sold for $290,000. (The appraiser adjusted the value to $280,100.) Sale Comparable 4 sold in September 2013 and was located .03 miles from the subject. The property only has 2 bedrooms per unit and sold for $220,000 and then six days later sold for $240,000. The sales support the valuation of $259,000. The Respondent’s appraiser’s sales comparison approach was supported by his income approach. The appraiser used a gross rent multiplier which supported his finding of value of $259,000.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization for St. Louis 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 $49,210.
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. Section 138.432, RSMo
The Collector of St. Louis 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 this 19th day of August, 2014.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid on this 19th day of August, 2014 to: Ernest Demba, 77 Meadowbrook, Ballwin, MO 63011, Complainant; Paula Lemerman, Associate County Counsel, Attorney for Respondent, 41 S Central Ave., Clayton, MO 63105; Jake Zimmerman St. Louis County Assessor 41 S. Central Ave. Clayton, MO 63105; Mr. Mark Devore St. Louis County Collector 41 S. Central Ave. Clayton, MO 63105.