Faye Edwards v. Zimmerman (SLCO)

May 1st, 2013


State Tax Commission of Missouri


FAYE EDWARDS,                                       )


Complainant,                           )


v.                                                         )           Appeal Number 12-10692





Respondent.                            )






On May 1, 2013, Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor entered his Decision and Order (Decision) affirming the assessment by the St. Louis County Assessor.

Complainant time filed her Application for Review of the Decision. 



Complainant presented no evidence to establish any error in the Hearing Officer’s Findings of Fact or Conclusions of Law.  The Hearing Officer properly concluded that Complainant failed to comply with the Order on submission of evidence to establish her case in chief. 

A review of the record in the present appeal provides support for the determinations made by the Hearing Officer.   There is competent and substantial evidence to establish a sufficient foundation for the Decision of the Hearing Officer.  A reasonable mind could have conscientiously reached the same result based on a review of the entire record. The Commission finds no basis to support a determination that the Hearing Officer acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner or abused his discretion as the trier of fact and concluder of law in this appeal.[1]

The Hearing Officer did not err in his findings and conclusions as challenged by Complainant.


The Commission upon review of the record and Decision in this appeal, finds no grounds upon which the Decision of the Hearing Officer should be reversed or modified.  Accordingly, the Decision is affirmed.  The Decision and Order of the hearing officer, including the findings of fact and conclusions of law therein, is incorporated by reference, as if set out in full, in this final decision of the Commission.

Judicial review of this Order may be had in the manner provided in Sections 138.432 and 536.100 to 536.140, RSMo within thirty days of the mailing date set forth in the Certificate of Service for this Order.         

If judicial review of this decision is made, any protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accordance with this appeal shall be held pending the final decision of the courts unless disbursed pursuant to Section 139.031.8, RSMo

If no judicial review is made within thirty days, this decision and order is deemed final and the Collector of St. Louis 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.

            SO ORDERED July 11, 2013.



Bruce E. Davis, Chairman

Randy B. Holman, Commissioner

Victor Callahan, Commissioner






Appeal Dismissed.  Decision of the St. Louis Assessor setting the assessed value for Complainant’s personal property is AFFIRMED.  Complainant failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the true value in money for the subject item of personal property as of 1/1/12.   

Assessed value of Complainant’s personal property for tax year 2012 is set at $1,950.

Complainant appealed pro se.

Respondent represented by Associate County Counselor, Paula J. Lemerman.  

Case submitted on documents and decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.


Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Assessor who set an assessed value of $1,950 on Complainant’s personal property.  The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the Complainant’s personal property on

January 1, 2012.  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.

2.         Submission on Documents.  By Order, dated 2/20/13, parties were to file and exchange their exhibits to be used for their case in chief.  Parties were to inform the Hearing Officer on or before April 1, 2013, if they desired to have an evidentiary hearing or would waive hearing and have the case decided upon the exhibits submitted by each party.  Complainant by letter dtd 3/5/13 inform the Hearing Officer she agreed to have the decision based on what she had sent.  Respondent did not indicate a desire for an evidentiary hearing, therefore is deemed to have consented to having the Decision rendered based on exhibits filed and waived his rights to an evidentiary hearing. 

3.         Subject Property.  The subject property consists of the motor vehicle listed for Account No. 857858894, as shown on Exhibit 1.  The Assessor set the assessed value for the property at $1,950. 

4.         Complainant’s Evidence.  By the Order, dated 2/20/13, Complainant was to file with the Commission and exchange with the Respondent a copy of the exhibits, including a brief Statement of Basis of Value, to be used in his case in chief.  These documents were to be filed on or before April 1, 2013.  Complainant did not comply with the Order.  The only document submitted was a copy of the 2012 tax statement, with the Complaint.  Complainant did not give an opinion of value on the Complaint.

5.         Respondent’s Evidence.  The following exhibits are received into evidence on behalf of Respondent:




Listing of Vehicle – Account No. 857858894


NADA Average Adjusted Trade-In 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser 4D


NADA Average Adjusted Trade-In 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser 4D


Written Direct Narrative – Linda Edison




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] 

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.[3]  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.[4] 

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]  True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use.[6]  It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.[7]  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.[8]


Complainant Fails To Prove Value


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 items of personal property on January 1, 2012.[9]  There is no presumption that the taxpayer’s opinion is correct.  The taxpayer is the moving party seeking affirmative relief.  The taxpayer bears the burden of proof.  Therefore, Complainant must present evidence proving the vital elements of the case that is the assessment was “unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary or

capricious.”[10]  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.

Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.[11]  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.[12] 

Complainant failed to comply with the Order on submission of evidence to establish her case in chief.  A copy of the tax statement for 2012 does not establish any other assessed value than that set by the Assessor.  Accordingly, there is no evidence upon which the Hearing Officer can conclude value.  Appeal is dismissed for failure to comply with the rules and order of the Commission, failure of prosecution, and failure to present a prima facie case for the relief sought.[13]


The assessed valuation for the subject personal property as determined by the Assessor for the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.

The assessed value for Account Number 857858894 for tax year 2012 is set at: $1,950. 

Application for Review

Complainant 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.  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. [14]

Disputed Taxes

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 May 1, 2013.


W. B. Tichenor

Senior Hearing Officer

Contact Information for State Tax Commission:

Missouri State Tax Commission

301 W. High Street, Room 840

P.O. Box 146

Jefferson City, MO 65102-0146


573-751-1341 Fax


[1] Hermel, Inc. v. STC, 564 S.W.2d 888 (Mo. 1978); Black v. Lombardi, 970 S.W.2d 378 (Mo. App. E.D. 1998); Holt v. Clarke, 965 S.W.2d 241 (Mo. App. W.D. 1998); Smith v. Morton, 890 S.W.2d 403 (Mo. App. E.D. 1995); Phelps v. Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer Dist., 598 S.W.2d 163 (Mo. App. E.D. 1980).



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


[3] Article X, Sections 4(a) and 4(b), Mo. Const. of 1945


[4] Section 137.115.5, RSMo


[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] 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).


[7] Hermel, supra.


[8] 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.


[9] Hermel, supra. 


[10] 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).


[11] See, Cupples-Hesse, supra. 

Substantial 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 one side of the issue rather than the other, i.e. support the proposed conclusion.


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


[13] 12 CSR 30-3.050 (3) (C), (D) & (E)


[14] Section 138.432, RSMo.