Gaylon & Esther Harp v. Copeland (Franklin)

April 30th, 2013

State Tax Commission of Missouri




Complainants, )


v. ) Appeal No. 12-57004





Respondent. )







Decision of the Franklin County Assessor setting values for Complainants’ vehicles is AFFIRMED. Complainants failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the true values in money proposed for the subject vehicles as of 1/1/12.

True value in money for Complainants’ personal property (combined values) for tax year 2012 is set at $63,330, assessed value of $21,110.[1]

Complainants appealed pro se.

Respondent responded pro se.

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


Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Respondent which set a combined assessed value of $21,110 on Complainants’ personal property. The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the Complainants’ 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]

2. Submission on Documents. By Order, dated 1/18/13, 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 March 7, 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. Complainants failed to so inform the Hearing Officer, they are therefore deemed to have consented and waived their right to an evidentiary hearing. Respondent consented to the appeal being decided on exhibits submitted.

3. Subject Property. The subject property consists of the following:

(1) 2005 – Chrysler Crossfire, VIN – 1C3AN65L85X047274;

(2) 2011 – Hyundai Sonata, VIN – 5NPEB4AC1BH177646; and

(3) 2008 – Ford Econoline E350, VIN – 1FBNE31L68DB24168.[3]

4. Values of Non-Appealed Property. The following personal property items are not under appeal:[4]








Caprice Classic










5’ Utility Trailer





8’ Utility Trailer









5. Assessment.[7] The Assessor valued the Chrysler at $10,320, assessed value of $3,440. The Assessor valued the Hyundai at $17,820, assessed value of $5,940. The Assessor valued the Ford at $14,250, assessed value of $4,750.

6. Complainants’ Evidence. The following exhibits are received into evidence on behalf of Complainants:




Internet Blue Book Value – 2012 Hyundai Sonata – 2/4/13


Internet Blue Book Value – 2006 Chrysler Crossfire – 2/4/13


Internet Blue Book Value – 2008 Ford Econoline


2011 & 2012 Personal Property Tax Receipts – 309409


Complainants Statement of Basis of Value


Complainants’ proposed value for the Hyundai is $8,949.[10] Complainants’ proposed value for the Chrysler is $7,941.[11] Complainants’ proposed value for the Ford Econoline is $4,932.[12]

Complainants’ evidence was not substantial and persuasive to establish the values tendered to be market values for the subject vehicles as of 1/1/12. See, Complainants Fail To Prove Values, infra.

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




Mo Dept of Rev – Hyundai Information


NADA – Oct, 2011 – Hyundai Valuation


Mo Dept of Rev – 2005 Chrysler Information


NADA – Oct, 2011 – 2005 Chrysler Valuation


Mo Dept of Rev – Ford Information


NADA – Oct, 2011 – Ford Valuation


Mo. Dept of Rev – 2002 Chrysler Information

8 – 2002 Chrysler Valuation


Account No. 309409 – Assessed Values


Statement of Basis of Value


8. Conclusions of Value. The 2005 Chrysler is valued at $10,320, assessed value of $3,440. The 2011 Hyundai is valued at $17,820, assessed value of $5,940. The 2008 Ford is valued at $14,250, assessed value of $4,750. The total true value in money for the three appeal vehicles is $42,390, total assessed value is $14,130. See, FINDING OF FACT 5 – Assessment, supra.

9. Total Value for Account No. 309409. Total true value in money/appraised value for the property in Account No. 309409 is $63,330, total assessed value of $21,110. See, FINDING OF FACT 4 – Values of Non-Appealed Property, supra.



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.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16] True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use.[17] It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.[18] 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.[19]


Recommended Guide for Automobile Valuation

The assessor of each county and each city not within a county shall use the trade-in value published in the October issue of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association Official Used Car Guide, or its successor publication, as the recommended guide of information for determining the true value of motor vehicles described in such publication. In the absence of a listing for a particular motor vehicle in such publication, the assessor shall use such information or publications which in the assessor’s judgment will fairly estimate the true value in money of the motor vehicle.[20] The NADA guide is only the recommended guide. In an appeal before the Commission, the taxpayer or the Assessor may present evidence from other recognized valuation sources.

Complainants Fail To Prove Values

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 items of personal property on January 1, 2012.[21] There is no presumption that the taxpayers’ opinion is correct. The taxpayers are the moving party seeking affirmative relief. The taxpayers bear the burden of proof. Therefore, Complainants must present evidence proving the vital elements of the case that is the assessment was “unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary or capricious.”[22] 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.[23] 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.[24]

The Hearing Officer considered the entirety of Complainants’ evidence on the issue of fair market value for each of their vehicles.

The documents submitted by Complainants (Exhibits A & B) provided A Very Good Trade-In Value for a 2012 Hyundai Sonata and a 2006 Chrysler Crossfire. Apparently, Exhibit C would have provided a Very Good Trade-In Value for a 2009 Ford Econoline. The vehicles being valued are a 2011 Sonata, a 2005 Crossfire and a 2008 Econoline. Complainants tendered the information on values for 2012, 2006 and 2009 vehicles “to replicate what these cars would have been assessed for a year ago when the assessments were made.”[25]

The Hearing Officer fails to see the Complainants logic on this method of valuation. The evidence tendered is irrelevant, as it provides Blue Book values for the wrong vehicles. Complainants present evidence as to the trade-in values for three vehicles each a year newer than the respective subject vehicles, based on information from 2/4/13, over a year after the valuation date. There is no way the Hearing Officer can logically conclude the value of the three subject vehicles as of 1/1/12 based upon such evidence. The information provides nothing to establish a trade-in value for any of the three vehicles appealed as of 1/1/12. Exhibit D the tax receipt provides no market data to value the three vehicles, it is likewise irrelevant.

Complainants failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the values proposed for the three appealed vehicles. Having failed to meet their burden of proof, the respective values set by the Assessor must be affirmed.


The assessed valuations for the subject vehicles as determined by the Assessor for Franklin County for the subject tax day are AFFIRMED.

The total assessed value for Account Number 309409 for tax year 2012 is set at: $21,110 ($14,130 – Property Appealed; $6,980 – Property Not Appealed).

Application for Review

Complainants 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. [26]

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 April 30, 2013.



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 30th day of April, 2013, to: Gaylon Harp, 6830 Whiskey Creek Road, Washington, MO 63090, Complainant; Mark Vincent, Franklin County Counselor, 203 E. Main Street, Suite C, 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] Total for Appealed and Non-Appealed Property


[2] 12 CSR 30-3.010


[3] Exhibit 9


[4] Complaint for Review of Assessment and attachments thereto; Exhibits A, B & C; Exhibit 9


[5] Exhibit 9. Market values are calculated to be 3 x Assessed Value.


[6] Exhibit 9; Personal Property is assessed at 1/3 of its appraised value (true value in money/market value) – Section 137.115 RSMo. Only assessed values reported on Exhibit 9, appraised value calculated by multiplying assessed value by 3.


[7] Assessor’s Account No. 309409 (Exhibit 9)


[8] Order dated 1/18/13 instructed Complainants to mark their exhibits by letters. Exhibits were submitted with Roman Numerals. Hearing Officer assigned letters in sequence to Complainants’ exhibits.


[9] No actual Exhibit was received, however, from the other documents received it appears that Complainants intended to include the document described.


[10] Exhibit A


[11] Exhibit B


[12] Exhibits C & E – this is calculated from the amount given as the proposed assessed value in Exhibit 4, taking it times 3 to arrive at what is assumed to have been the value reported from the Internet data.


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


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


[15] Section 137.115.5, RSMo


[16] 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).


[17] 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).


[18] Hermel, supra.


[19] 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.


[20] Section 137.115.9 RSMo


[21] Hermel, supra.


[22] 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).


[23] 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.


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


[25] Exhibit E – Statement of Basis of Value


[26] Section 138.432, RSMo.