Geiger Real Estate v. Muehlheausler (SLCO)

April 21st, 2009

State Tax Commission of Missouri






v.)Appeal Number 07-11408












Decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization is SET ASIDE.The Commission finds there should have been no increase in the assessed value for the 2007 – 08 assessment cycle.

Complainant filed Complaint for Review of Assessment based upon Sections 137.115(10) and (11), RSMo, and St. Louis County Ordinance 501.250.The State Tax Commission ordered the Respondent to file documents to establish prima facie that they were in compliance with the statutes.The Complainant filed a Motion for Decision and the Respondent filed his response on March 24, 2009.


The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money to be set for the 2007 – 08 assessment cycle under the provisions of Sections 137.115 and 138.060, RSMo.


1.                  The subject property is located at 8656 Geiger Road, St. Louis County, Missouri.


2.The property was inspected on October 3, 2006 as part of a six year review.


3.A written notice of the inspection was left at the property.


4.The notice included that “St. Louis Co. ordinances allow a homeowner tochoose the type or types of home/property inspection he or she wishes to have.”


5.The notice stated that the purpose of the inspection was for six-year review.



Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization.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.

Grounds for Appeal

The property under appeal is a subclass (1) property (residential) under Section 4(b), Article X, Mo. Constitution.The Complainant stated on the Complaint for Review of Assessment that the Assessor failed to comply with the physical inspection requirement of Sections 137.115.10 and 137.115.11, RSMo.

Section 137.115.10, RSMo – Requirement of Physical Inspection

Section 137.115.10, RSMo, 2006 Cum. Supp. (A.L. 2002 H.B. 1150, et al) establishes that: “Before the assessor may increase the assessed valuation of any parcel of subclass (1) real property by more than fifteen percent since the last assessment, excluding increases due to new construction or improvements, the assessor shall conduct a physical inspection of such property.”

St. Louis County Assessor’s Office, in complying with their assessment plan, inspects every residential parcel in the county at least one time in a six-year period.This inspection is referred to as the “six-year review” inspection.St. Louis County conducted an exterior inspection of the property in October 2006 as part of the six-year review.The inspection was within a relevant time period of the valuation date of January 1, 2007.Further,St. LouisCountyis the largest assessment jurisdiction in the State ofMissouri.Over a quarter of a million residential parcels required inspection before the 2007 assessment could be completed.The purpose of Section 137.115, RSMo is to insure that the taxpayer’s property is inspected before an increase of over 15% may be finalized.An inspection occurring in October, 2006, fulfills the inspection purpose of the statute.

Section 137.115.11, RSMo – Notice Regarding Physical Inspection

Section 137.115.11, RSMo, 2006 Cum. Supp. (A.L. 2002 H.B. 1150, et al) requires in those instances where a physical inspection is required under 137.115.10 (more than 15% increase in residential assessed value since last assessment), the assessor is required to (1) notify the property owner in writing of the fact of the physical inspection being required, and (2) provide the owner with clear written notice of the owner’s rights relating to the physical inspection.

There is no evidence that the Complainant received a written notice of Increase of Assessment.

When Respondent inspected the property in October 2006, he provided the Complainant with a written notice that the inspection occurred and the notice included that the owner may request an additional exterior and/or interior property inspection.The Complainant was not notified, at that time, that its property value increased by more than 15%.

The Respondent’s notice did state that that an additional inspection may be requested. However, a taxpayer receiving notice that an inspection occurred for the purpose of a six-year review and a taxpayer receiving notice that an inspection is necessary for an increase in their valuation over 15% would have different considerations when determining if they would request an additional exterior and/or interior inspection.By failing to notify the property owners that an inspection is required prior to an increase in their valuation and their rights regarding physical inspections, the taxpayer is deprived of due process.

Section 138.060, RSMo – Assessor’s Burden of Proof on Physical Inspection

Section 138.060, RSMo, 2006 Cum. Supp. (A.L. 2002 H.B. 1150, et al) provides in relevant part, that in St. Louis County, “… in the event a physical inspection of the subject property is required by subsection 10 of Section 137.115, RSMo, the assessor shall have the burden to establish the manner in which the physical inspection was performed and shall have the burden to prove that the physical inspection was performed in accordance with Section 137.115, RSMo.….”

The Respondent failed to meet his burden that he complied with the requirements of Section 137.115, RSMo.


The assessed valuation by the Board of Equalization forSt. LouisCountyfor subject property is SET ASIDE.The assessed value for the property for tax years 2007 and 2008 is as follows:






Assessed Value


Geiger Real Estate




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 Decision.

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.If no judicial review is made within thirty (30) 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.

If any or all protested taxes have been disbursed pursuant to Section 139.031(8), RSMo, Complainants 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 April 21, 2009






Bruce E. Davis, Chairman




Jennifer Tidwell, Commissioner




Charles Nordwald, Commissioner






Certificate of Service


I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid on this 21stday of April, 2009, to:James Gamble, 8909 Ladue Road, St. Louis, MO 63124, Attorney for Complainants; Michael Shuman, Associate County Counselor, Attorney for Respondent, County Government Center, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, MO 63105; Philip Muehlheausler, Assessor, County Government Center, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, MO 63105; John Friganza, Collector, County Government Center, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, MO 63105.




Barbara Heller

Legal Coordinator