Fred J Williams v. Jake Zimmerman, Assessor St Louis County

March 19th, 2015

State Tax Commission of Missouri

Complainant, )
v. ) Appeal No. 14-10097
Respondent. )







The assessment of Complainant’s automobile is AFFIRMED as to the 1985 Mercedes-Benz CD 2-Door Coupe.  Complainant did not present substantial and persuasive evidence that his vehicle has $0 value.

True value in money for the 1985 Mercedes-Benz CD 2-Door Coupe for tax year 2014 is set at $300, (assessed value of $100).

Complainant appeared pro se.

Respondent appeared by counsel.

Appeal heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer John Treu.


Complainant appeals the valuations of his 1985 Mercedes-Benz CD 2-Door Coupe.  The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject personal property on January 1, 2014.  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.  Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission.
  2. Subject Property. The subject property is a 1985 Mercedes-Benz CD 2-Door Coupe identified in Assessor’s Account I00279365.
  3. Assessment. The Assessor valued the vehicle at a value of $300, Assessed Value of $100, which the Board of Equalization affirmed.
  4. Evidence. Complainant submitted pictures of the subject vehicle and a “Statement of Basis of Value” (Exhibit A) and one “Preliminary Estimate” of the cost to repair the exterior body damage existent on the subject vehicle (Exhibit B).  Respondent’s counsel objected only as to Exhibit B.  Even assuming that Exhibit B were admissible, such is not dispositive of the decision herein.  Complainant also acknowledged during testimony that the care is drivable and stated that he would be willing to sell the vehicle for $6,297.49.  He stated in his “Statement of Basis of Value” that he drives the vehicle less than 9,700 miles a year.
  5. Concluded Value. The true value in money of Complainant’s 1985 Mercedes-Benz CD 2-Door Coupe as of January 1, 2014 was $300.   See, Hearing Officer Finds Value, infra.



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 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.

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.  Article X, Sections 4(a) and 4(b), Mo. Const. of 1945.  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. Section 137.115 RSMo.

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). 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 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.


  1. Both parties are well informed and well advised, and both acting in what they consider their own best interests.


  1. A reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market.


  1. Payment is made in cash or its equivalent.


  1. Financing, if any, is on terms generally available in the Community at the specified date and typical for the property type in its locale.


  1. 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.


Complainants’ Burden of Proof and Respondent’s Evidence

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, 2014.  Hermel, supraThere 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.  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.   Brooks v. General Motors Assembly Division, 527 S.W.2d 50, 53 (Mo. App. 1975).  A taxpayer does not meet his/her burden if evidence on any essential element of his case leaves the Commission “in the nebulous twilight of speculation, conjecture and surmise.”  See, Rossman v. G.G.C. Corp. of Missouri, 596 S.W.2d 469, 471 (Mo. App. 1980).

In the present case, Complainant did not meet his burden.  To say that a vehicle which runs and is drivable has $0 value in the market has no basis in fact or law and defies common sense and logic.  Complainant presented no admissible evidence that a salvage yard, a private buyer or car dealer would not pay him some dollar amount for his vehicle, which runs and is drivable.

Hearing Officer Finds Value

            The Hearing Officer considered the information provided by Complainant and Respondent and concluded on a value as follows:

1985 Mercedes-Benz CD 2-Door Coupe $300 (assessed value of $100)



The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor for St. Louis County for the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.  The valuation of the 1985 Mercedes-Benz CD 2-Door Coupe $300 (assessed value of $100)

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.  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.

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 March 19, 2015.




John J. Treu

Senior Hearing Officer


Delivery or Notice was made via mail, email, fax, or personally on March 19, 2015 to the following Individuals of this Order


Fred J. Williams, 417 Beauwood Ct, St. Louis, MO, 63132, Complainant

Paula Lemerman, Associate County Counsel, Attorney for Respondent,

Priscilla Gunn, Assistant County Counsel, Attorney for Respondent

Jake Zimmerman, Assessor,

Mark Devore, Collector,



Jacklyn Wood

Legal Coordinator


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

573-751-1341 Fax