Gary & Shirley Pelton v. Copeland (Franklin)

August 26th, 2010

State Tax Commission of Missouri






v.) Appeal Number 09-57028












Decision of the Franklin County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE.True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $115,000, commercial assessed value of $36,800.Complainants appeared pro se.Respondent appeared by County Counselor, Mark Vincent.

Case decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.


Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Franklin 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, 2009.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 from the decision of the Franklin County Board of Equalization.Upon failure of either party to file written direct testimony, case was taken under advisement to be decided based upon exhibits tendered by each party.[1]

2.Assessment.The Assessor appraised the property at $132,700, an assessed commercial value of $42,464.The Board sustained the assessment.[2]

3.Subject Property.The subject property is located at 1010 Cardwell Street, St. Clair, Missouri.The property is identified by map parcel number 22-7-25-1-7-221.The property consists of a 1.001 acre site (43,608 square feet).The lot is improved with a wood framed, retail/garage repair facility, erected upon a continuous, concrete foundation.The structure was constructed in or around the year 1999 with a painted metal/brick exterior.The building (70 x 32 feet) is comprised of approximately 2,240 square feet.There is approximately 280 square feet of dedicated office space.There is approximately 1,250 square feet of poured concrete driveway/walkways and approximately 1,750 square feet of gravel driveway/parking area.[3]

4.Complainants’ Evidence.Complainants filed with the Commission the following documents:




Photographs of subject – copy of Page 15 – Exhibit 1


Description of Subject Site & Improvements from Exhibit 1

C & D

BOE record of hearing on Complainants’ assessment.


Insurance Declaration Page on Subject


MLS[4] Listing sheet on subject dated10/30/08 – Listing Price $139,900


Two photographs of Cardwell Street


Two photographs of Cardwell Street


Two photographs of land fill


Two photographs of land fill


Two photographs and information on property at 1008 Lofting Industrial Park


Improved Sales Grid on Subject showing value of $152,000


Locator Map for subject and sale properties listed in Exhibit L


Directions Map from subject to 1008 Lofting Industrial Drive


Two photographs of entrance to Lofting Industrial Park


Two photographs of Lofting Lane


Newspaper article, St. Clair Missourian – June 10, 2009


Two photographs of buildings


MLS Listing Sheet – 1155 N. Commercial Ave.


MLS Listing Sheet – 425 N. Commercial


MLS Listing sheet – 155 N. Main St.


Two photographs of buildings for sale


Two photographs of buildings for sale/rent


Two photographs of buildings for sale


Two photographs of buildings for rent


Two photographs of buildings for rent


Two photographs of buildings for rent


Insurance Declarations Sheet on Subject


There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2009, to January 1, 2010, therefore the assessed value for 2009 remains the assessed value for 2010.[5]

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, 2009, to be $100,000, as proposed.

5.Respondent’s Evidence.Respondent filed with the Commission the appraisal report of Angela J. Johnson, State Certified General Real Estate Appraiser, opinion a value of $115,000 for the subject property based upon the development of the cost, sales comparison and income approaches to value.Respondent’s evidence met the standard of substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the value of the subject, as of January 1, 2009, to be $115,000, commercial assessed value of $36,800.[6]



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.[7]

Presumption In Appeals

There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the County Board of Equalization.[8]This presumption is a rebuttable rather than a conclusive presumption.It places the burden of going forward with some substantial evidence on the taxpayer – Complainant.When some substantial evidence is produced by the Complainant, “however slight”, the presumption disappears and the Hearing Officer, as trier of facts, receives the issue free of the presumption.[9]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 should have been placed on the property.[10]Complainants failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the value asserted.Respondent’s evidence met the standard of substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption and establish the value of $115,000.

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.[11]True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use.[12]It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.[13]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.[14]


Respondent’s appraiser concluded her value for the property under appeal under the Standard for Valuation.[15]

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.[16]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.[17] Complainants did not present an opinion of value that was based upon any of the recognized methods for the appraisal of real property.Respondent’s appraiser utilized each of the three accepted approaches to value the property under appeal.

Complainants Fail to Prove Value

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, 2009.[18]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.”[19]

Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.[20]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.[21]

Owner’s Opinion of Value

The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value.[22]The owner’s opinion is without probative value however, where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or an improper foundation.[23]The taxpayers provided an opinion of value of $100,000 on their Complaint for Review of Assessment.However, there is nothing contained in the exhibits submitted by Complainants which provides any evidentiary basis for the Hearing Officer to find the value proffered.Exhibit E shows that during June 2009 through June 2010 the subject building was insured for $124,800.This would not include any land value for the subject one acre.Exhibit F establishes that in September 2008 the property was listed for sale at $139,900.Exhibit L purports a value for the subject based upon three sale comparables of $152,000.Exhibits S, T and U show listings of properties in 2007, 2008 and 2009 at prices of $105,000, $59,850 and $195,000.However, there is no adjustment or correlation of these listings to the subject to establish any given value and in particular a value of $100,000 as of January 1, 2009.Exhibit B1 establishes that for June 2008 through June 2009 the subject building was insured for $120,000.

None of the exhibits submitted by Complainants meet the standard of substantial and persuasive evidence.Relevance for most, if not all, of the exhibits was not established by written direct testimony to explain how a given document was intended to establish or support the opinion of value of $100,000.While a picture may be worth a thousand words, when it comes to valuing property a picture is not worth a single cent.It does not show value, it only shows a given condition or situation of whatever is depicted in the photograph.For example, Exhibit G shows the subject’s street with a covering of snow.Exhibit H shows the subject street without any snow in a dry condition.There is nothing from these photographs that provides a basis for the Hearing Officer to find a value for the property under appeal.Complainants’ exhibits do not establish the value based upon proper elements or a proper foundation.

All that the Hearing Officer has from the taxpayers is their opinion that the fair market value on January 1, 2009, was $100,000.However, there is no substantiation or validation of this opinion by any methodology that is recognized and accepted for the appraisal of real property in Missouri.According, no probative weight can be given to the owners’ opinion as there is nothing from which the Hearing Officer can conclude that it is based upon proper elements or foundation.Complainants failed to meet the required burden of proof to establish the value claimed.

Respondent Proves Value

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.[24]The appraisal report of Ms. Johnson properly developed each of the accepted approaches to value and reconciled the indicated values for her final opinion of $115,000.Exhibit 1 constitutes substantial and persuasive evidence to establish that the true value in money of the property under appeal, as of January 1, 2009, was $115,000.


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

The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $36,800.

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, MO65102-0146, 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. [25]

Disputed Taxes

The Collector of Franklin 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 August 26, 2010.





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 26thday of August, 2010, to:Gary Pelton, 890 Wildman Lane, Lonedell, MO 63060, Complainant; Mark Vincent, Franklin County Counselor, P.O. Box 439, Union, MO 63084, Attorney for Respondent; Tom Copeland, Assessor, 400 E. Locust, Suite 105A, Union, MO 63084; Debbie Door, Clerk, Franklin County Courthouse, 400 E. Locust, Suite 201, Union, MO 63084; Linda Emmons, Collector; Franklin County Courthouse, 400 E. Locust, Suite 103, Union, MO 63084.




Barbara Heller

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


[1] Order dated August 4, 2010.


[2] BOE Decision letter; Exhibit 1, p. 3


[3] Exhibit 1, pp. 1,12, 14, 15 & 16.


[4] Multi-Listing Service


[5] Section 137.115.1, RSMo.


[6] $115,000 x .32 (commercial assessment ratio) – $36,800


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


[8] 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)


[9] United Missouri Bank of Kansas City v. March, 650 S.W.2d 678, 680-81 (Mo. App. 1983), citing to State ex rel. Christian v. Lawry, 405 S.W.2d 729, 730 (Mo. App. 1966) and cases therein cited.


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


[11] 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).


[12] 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).


[13] Hermel, supra.


[14] 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.


[15] Exhibit 1, p. 8.


[16] 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).


[17] 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).


[18] Hermel, supra.


[19] 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).


[20] See, Cupples-Hesse, supra.


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


[22] Rigali v. Kensington Place Homeowners’ Ass’n, 103 S.W.3d 839, 846 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003); Boten v. Brecklein, 452 S.W.2d 86, 95 (Sup. 1970).


[23] Cohen v. Bushmeyer, 251 S.W.3d 345, (Mo. App. E.D., March 25, 2008); Carmel Energy, Inc. v. Fritter, 827 S.W.2d 780, 783 (Mo. App. W.D. 1992); State, ex rel. Missouri Hwy & Transp. Com’n v. Pracht, 801 S.W.2d 90, 94 (Mo. App. E.D. 1990); Shelby County R-4 School District v. Hermann, 392 S.W.2d 609, 613 (Sup. 1965).


[24] Hermel, Cupples-Hesse, Brooks, supra.


[25] Section 138.432, RSMo.