State Tax Commission of Missouri
FRANK M. REYNOLDS,)
v.) Appeal Number 07-33001
RICK KESSINGER, ASSESSOR,)
GREENE COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Greene County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is AFFIRMED.True value in money for the subject property for tax year 2007 and 2008 is set at $158,500 assessed value of $30,120 residential value.
Complainant appeared in person.
Respondent appeared in person and by Counsel Nichole Lindsey.
Case heard and decided by Hearing Officer Maureen Monaghan.
The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2007.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Greene County Board of Equalization.The Assessor determined a true value of $158,500, assessed value of $30,120, as residential property. The Board sustained the value. Complainant proposed a value of $138,000, assessed value of $26,220.A hearing was conducted on February 6, 2008, at the Historic County Courthouse, Springfield, Missouri.
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
The following exhibits were offered into evidence on behalf of the Complainant:
Exhibit A – Receipt of Property Taxes 2007
Exhibit B – 2007 Greene County Real Estate Statement
Exhibit C – Statement of Complainant regarding property taxes and income.
Exhibit D – Letter to the Board of Equalization dated June 12, 2007
Exhibit E – Drawing of Subject Lot
Exhibit F – Board of Equalization Decision
Exhibit G – Real Estate Contract dated November 15, 1988
Exhibit H – Description of Subject Property and Taxes from 1989 to 2005
Exhibit I – Photographs of Neighboring Property
Exhibit J – Photograph of Neighboring Property
Exhibit K – CMA Report
Exhibit L – MLS Report
Exhibit M – MLS Report
Exhibit N – Notice of Value dated May 29, 2001
Exhibit O – Notice of Increase for 2007
Exhibit P – Notice of Increase 2005
Exhibit Q – Letter to Complainant from Assessor dated May 1, 2007
Respondent objected to Exhibits C, D, G, H, I, J, K, L, and M on the basis of relevance, hearsay and lack of foundation.Objection sustained as to C, D, I, J, K, L and M.Exhibit G is admitted as evidence of ownership.Exhibit H is admitted as to the description of the property.
All remaining Exhibits were received into evidence.
Testimony of Frank M. Reynolds.
The following exhibits were received into evidence on behalf of the Respondent:
Exhibit 1 – Appraisal Report.
Exhibit 2 – Property Record Card.
All Exhibits were received into evidence.
Testimony of Suzan Tanzer
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Greene County Board of Equalization.
2.The subject property is located at 4626 S. Crescent, Springfield, Missouri.The property is identified by parcel number:88-19-18-401-015.The property consists of a .98 acre lot improved by a one-story, single-family home structure of fair quality construction.The structure is approximately 32 years old.The residence has three bedrooms, two and one half baths, and contains 2,064 square feet of living area.The structure is built upon a crawl space.There is a three-car attached 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, 2007 to be $138,000.
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.Article X, section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, RSMo.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.Section 138.431.4, RSMo.
Presumptions In Appeals
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the CountyBoardof 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).
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.
Notwithstanding the provision of Section 138.431.3, RSMo – “There shall be no presumption that the assessor’s valuation is correct,” – the Supreme Court of Missouri has held, “A tax assessor’s valuation is presumed correct.”Snider v. Casino Aztar/Aztar Missouri Gaming Corp., 156 S.W.3d 341 (Mo. 2005). Citing to Hermel, supra; and Cupples Hesse Corp. v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).
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 assessor’s or Board’s valuation is erroneous and what the fair market value should have been placed on the property.Snider, Hermel & Cupples Hesse, supra.
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).It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.Hermel, supra.
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 is 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 each 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.
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; Exhibit 1, p. 2.
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. 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).The sales comparison approach is generally the best suited approach for the appraisal of owner occupied residences.When there is adequate and sound market data, the sales comparison approach provides the best evidence of value for an appraisal problem of this nature.
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.Hermel, Inc. v. State Tax Commission, 564 S.W.2d 888, at 897.Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.See, Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).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.Brooks v. General Motors Assembly Division, 527 S.W.2d 50, 53 (Mo. App. 1975).See also, 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).
The Complainant has failed to meet the burden of proof in the present appeal.The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value. Boten v. Brecklein, 452 S.W.2d 86, 95 (Sup. 1970).The owner’s opinion is without probative value however, where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or an improper foundation.Shelby County R-4 School District v. Hermann, 392 S.W.2d 609, 613 (Sup. 1965).
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. 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).
Complainant failed to meet its burden of proof to rebut the presumption of correct assessment and establish true value in money for the property at $138,000 as the Complainant’s evidence consisted of a description of his property, history of his assessments and history of property taxes paid on his property.None of the evidence presented by Complainant complies with the approaches or methods recognized at arriving at fair market value.The evidence presented by Complainant did not establish the most probable price in terms of money which the property should have brought on January 1, 2007, 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 was not affected by undue stimulus.
Assessor’s Opinion of Value
The Assessor presented the testimony of Suzan Tanzer, a real property appraiser at the Greene County Assessor’s Office.Ms. Tanzer presented an appraisal of the subject property.Ms. Tanzer developed the cost approach and the sales comparison approach.Using the cost approached, she determined a value of $163,677.Using the sales approach, she determined a value of $160,000.She relied primarily upon the sales comparison approach as it is the most indicative of buyers and sellers in the market place.Ms. Tanzer found seven sales within six blocks of the subject property that were built upon a crawl space.The properties sold in May 2005 to April 2007 from between $132,000 and $178,900.Adjustments were made for the differences in the property.The net adjustments range from -2% to 21% resulting in values from $159,300 to $173,550.Ms. Tanzer most weighted Comparable 5 as it was most similar to the subject.The property is within 6 blocks of the subject property and sold in April 2006 for $160,000.The subject lot and garage are larger.The comparable has 200 more square feet of living area, a covered porch and deck and area over the garage.The adjusted sales price is $162,950.
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 appraiser properly adjusted for differences between the subject and each sale property.The adjustments made were appropriate for the present appraisal problem.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization forGreeneCountyfor the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2007 and 2008 is set at $158,500 assessed value of $30,120.
A party may file with the Commission an application for review of this decision within thirty (30) days of the mailing of such decision.The application shall contain specific grounds upon which it is claimed the decision is erroneous.Failure to state specific facts or law upon which the appeal is based will result in summary denial.Section 138.432, RSMo 2000.
If an application for review of this decision is made to the Commission, any protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accordance with this appeal shall be held pending the final decision of the Commission.If no application for review is received by the Commission within thirty (30) days, this decision and order is deemed final and the Collector of Greene 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.If any or all protested taxes have been disbursed pursuant to Section 139.031(8), RSMo, either party may apply to the circuit court having jurisdiction of the cause for disposition of the protested taxes held by the taxing authority.
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 February 26, 2008.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid this 26thday of February, 2008, to:Frank Reynolds, 4626 S. Crescent Avenue, Springfield, MO 65804, Complainant; Theodore Johnson, Greene County Counselor, 901 St. Louis Street, 20th Floor, Springfield, MO 65806, Attorney for Respondent; Rick Kessinger, Assessor; Richard Struckhoff, Clerk; Scott Payne, Collector, Greene County Courthouse, 940 Boonville, Springfield, MO 65806.