F. Lomas James Trust v. Bollinger (Bollinger)

December 16th, 2008

State Tax Commission of Missouri






v.) Appeal No.08-44000












Decision of the Bollinger County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE.Complainants rebutted the presumption of correct assessment by the Board.True value in money for the subject property for tax year 2008 is set at $204,380 ($200,018 – Residential; $4,363 – Agricultural), assessed value of $38,520.Complainant appeared pro se.Respondent appeared by pro se.Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.


The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money and classification for the subject property on January 1, 2007.


Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation and misclassification, the decision of the Bollinger County Board of Equalization, which sustained the valuation of the subject property.The Assessor determined an appraised value of $210,000, assessed value of $39,919, as residential property.Complainant proposed a value of $186,944, assessed residential and agricultural value of $34,085.A hearing was conducted on November 19, 2008, at the Bollinger County Courthouse, Marble Hill, Missouri.

The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.

Complainant’s Evidence

Complainant testified in his own behalf.Exhibit A – Property Record Card and photographs of the subject – was received into evidence.Complainant asserted a portion of the land should be agricultural graded, as it is used to pasture horses.He also believed that a second house should be classified as agricultural since the garage for the structure was used to store various equipment items used in a farming operation.Mr. James made his calculations as to value and division between a residential and agricultural classification on Exhibit A.

Respondent’s Evidence

Respondent testified as to his valuation and classification of the property, and concurred that part of the land should be placed in agricultural grade 4.The following Exhibits were received into evidence on behalf of Respondent.




STC Technical Assistance Field Reports


Aerial Map of Subject


Property Record Card on Subject


Property Record Cards on 12 Neighboring Properties



1.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Bollinger County Board of Equalization.

2.The subject property is located at Highway 34 East, Marble Hill, Missouri.The property is identified by parcel number 10-7-25-14.04.The property consists of 3.64 acres.The improvements on the property include a residence, a livestock barn and a 32 x 52 foot apartment and two-car garage.The apartment structure has kitchen and bath utilities.It is on the water and electric service of the residence.The residence and apartment have separate septic systems.[1]

3.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2007, to January 1, 2008.

4.Two acres of the subject property is used for agricultural purposes – pasturing horses.The livestock barn is an agricultural structure.The apartment building is designed for human occupancy.The use of the garage area for storage of mowers, tools, and other items used in a farming operation does not warrant classifying the structure as agricultural.The value for utilities is reduced from $5,000 to $3,500 due to the fact that the residence and apartment house share water and electric.The apartment house is located in the pasture area.There is no need to classify the 1,664 square feet it occupies as residential.This is a de minimus factor.

5.The property is classified and valued as follows:







Home Site


Residential 1.64 acres







Total Res.



Shed Barn



Grade 4 Land


Agricultural 2 acres

Total Ag.




6.The residential assessed value is $38,000.The agricultural assessed value is $520.



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.[2]

Presumption In Appeals

There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the CountyBoardof Equalization.[3]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 and classification should have been placed on the property.[4]Complainant’s and Respondent’s testimony rebutted the presumption of correct 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.[5]It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.[6]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.[7]


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.[8]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.”[9]

Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.[10]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.[11]

Hearing Officer Finds Value and Corrects Classification

Complainant’s testimony provided substantial and persuasive evidence to establish that the subject property needed to be reclassified and an adjustment in value was required.The determinations and conclusions set forth in Findings of Facts 4 and 5 are supported by the testimony of Complainant and Respondent.


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

The assessed value for the subject property for tax year 2008 is set at $38,520.

A party may file with the Commission an application for review of this decision within thirty (30) days of the mailing date of the Certificate of Service of this decision.The application shall contain specific grounds upon which it is claimed the decision is erroneous.Said application must be mailed 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 appeal is based will result in summary denial. [12]

The Collector of Bollinger 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 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 December 16, 2008.





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 16thday of December, 2008, to:F. Lomas James, P.O. Box 1187, Marble Hill, MO 63764, Complainant; Stephen Gray, Prosecuting Attorney, P.O. Box 200, Marble Hill, MO 63764, Attorney for Respondent; James Bollinger, Assessor, P.O. Box 164, Marble Hill, MO 63764; Diane Holzum, Clerk, P.O. Box 110, Marble Hill, MO 63674; Bob Anderson, Collector, P.O. Box 80, Marble Hill, MO 63674.




Barbara Heller

Legal Coordinator




[1] Exhibit A; Exhibit 3; Testimony of Complainant.


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


[3] 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).


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


[5] 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).


[6] Hermel, supra.


[7] 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.


[8] Hermel, supra.


[9] 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).


[10] See, Cupples-Hesse, supra.


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


[12] Section 138.432, RSMo.