State Tax Commission of Missouri
v.) Appeal Number 09-84002
DAN WARD, ASSESSOR,)
ST. FRANCOIS COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the St. Francois County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is AFFIRMED.True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $140,540, residential assessed value of $26,700.
Complainant appeared pro se.
Respondent appeared in person and by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Patrick King.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.
The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2009.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the St. Francois County Board of Equalization, which sustained the valuation of the subject property.The Assessor determined an appraised value of $140,540, assessed value of $26,700, as residential property.Complainant proposed a value of $130,260, assessed value of $24,750.A hearing was conducted on October 6, 2009, at the St. Francois County Courthouse Annex, Farmington, Missouri.
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
Complainant testifed in his own behalf and offered into evidence the following Exhibits.
Title Insurance – Schedule A, dated 7/1992
MLS Listing on Bonne Terre vacant Lots
Counsel for Respondent objected to Exhibit A on the ground of relevancy – too remote in time; and to Exhibit B on the ground of relevancy – lack of comparability, asking prices, not actual sales.Objections were sustained.Exhibits are maintained in the appeal file, but are not part of the record for purposes of arriving at true value in money for the subject property.
The title insurance commitment as to land value over 16 years prior to the assessment date of January 1, 2009 has no relevance to establish the fair market value of Complainant’s land as of the assessment date.The summary of vacant lot listings and sold properties for the Terre du Lac neighborhood of Bonne Terre does not have a property foundation for admissibility into the record.It contains hearsay upon hearsay.There is a lack of comparability to the subject property for any of the various listings or sales.
Respondent testified in his own behalf and offered into evidence the following Exhibit:
Complainant objected on the ground that the Assessor was using data on improved properties to arrive at land value.Objection overruled.The Assessor’s use of improved sales to extrapolate the indicated value for land is appropriate.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the St. Francois County Board of Equalization.
2.The subject property is located at 1366 Rue Rivera, Bonne Terre, Missouri.The property is identified by map parcel number 7-8-28-2-8-8.00.The property consists of a lot improved with a residential structure.
3.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2009, to the date of hearing.Mr. Knepp testifed there were no plans to do any new construction or add any improvements prior to January 1, 2010.Therefore the values placed on the property for the 2009 tax year will remain the same for the 2010 tax year, unless prior January 1, 2010, there is new construction and improvement made to the property.
4.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 $130,260 as proposed on the Complainant for Review of Assessment and by testimony at hearing.
5.Upon failure of Complainant to establish the true value in money for the property under appeal, there is no need or basis to analyze and evaluate evidence submitted by Respondent.
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.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.
Presumptions In Appeals
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the CountyBoardof Equalization. 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.Upon the failure of the taxpayer to present substantial and persuasive evidence of the true value in money for the property under appeal on the assessment date (January 1, 2009), the valuation set by the Board must be affirmed.
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.It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.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.
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.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. Complainant failed to present evidence under any of the accepted approaches to value for the appraisal of property in an appeal before the State Tax Commission to establish the fair market value of the subject property.Failure to do so results in the taxpayer failing to met his burden of proof.
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, 2009.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.”
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.
Owner’s Opinion of Value
The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value.The owner’s opinion is without probative value however, where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or an improper foundation.A taxpayer does not meet his burden if evidence on any essential element of his case leaves the Commission “in the nebulous twilight of speculation, conjecture and surmise.”
Mr. Kenepp challenged the valuation of his property only on the basis that the land value assigned to the property by the Assessor of $22,500 was in error.He presented no market data or an opinion of value developed from a recognized appraisal methodology that the value of the property under appeal on January 1, 2009 was $130,260.The owner’s opinion was without any substantiation.Complainant failed to prove the essential element of his case, that is fair market value of the real property.The real property consists of the land and the improvements.Even if Mr. Kenepp would have established a value of less than $22,500 for the subject lots, which he failed to do, he would have not met his burden of proof.He would have failed to prove value for the property under appeal.Failure of the taxpayer to establish by substantial and persuasive evidence what a willing buyer and seller would have paid for the property under appeal on the assessment date (1/1/09) results in the existing assessment being affirmed.That is the case in this instance.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization for St. Francois County for the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $26,700.
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 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.
The Collector of St. Francois County, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall continue to hold the disputed taxes pending a 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 November 10, 2009.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
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 10thday of November, 2009, to:George Kenepp, 1366 Rue River, Bonne Terre, MO 63628, Complainant; Patrick King, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, 1 N. Washington, Suite 301, Farmington, MO 63640, Attorney for Respondent; Dan Ward, Assessor, County Courthouse Annex, 1 W. Liberty, Suite 200, Farmington, MO 63640; Mark Hedrick, Clerk, Courthouse Annex, 1 W. Liberty, Suite 300, Farmington, MO 63640; Pamela Williams, Collector, Courthouse Annex, 1 W. Liberty, Suite 201, Farmington, MO 63640.
 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).
 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.
 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).
 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).
 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).
 Exhibit 1 – Property Record Card.Lot 1 of subject valued at $15,000, Lot 2 valued at $7,500,All improved lots on the Valley golf course (subject’s neighborhood) are appraised at $15,000 for the 1st lot and $7,500 for the 2nd lot.