Glen & Carol Beussink v. Houchins (Scott)

April 11th, 2013

State Tax Commission of Missouri




Complainants, )


v. ) Appeal No. 12-86500





Respondent. )







Decision of the Scott County Assessor setting value for Complainants’ automobile is SET ASIDE. Complainants presented substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the true value in money for the subject automobile as of 1/1/12.

True value in money for Complainants’ 2011 Ford Focus for tax year 2012 is set at $11,559, assessed value of $3,850

Complainants appealed pro se. Respondent did not make reply to the appeal.

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


Complainants appealed, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Respondent which set an assessed value of $14,700 on Complainants’ automobile. The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the said 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. 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. Neither party filed objection to having the appeal decided on exhibits filed. Both are deemed to have waived their right to an evidentiary hearing.

3. Subject Property. The subject property is a 2011 Ford Focus, listed as Bill # 1016.[1]

4. Assessment. The Assessor placed the assessed value for Complainants’ motor vehicle at $4,900, an appraised value of $14,700.[2]

5. Complainant’s Evidence. The following exhibits were received into evidence on behalf of Complainants.




Kelley Blue Book Value 1/1/12 – Good Condition – $11,559


Kelley Blue Book Vehicle Condition Definitions


Photographs (5) showing interior and exterior condition


Service Statement dated 12/22/11 – mileage 33,412


Statement of Basis of Value


6. Respondent’s Evidence. Respondent was under no burden to prove value in the appeal. She filed no exhibits.

7. Value of Complainant’s Automobile. Complainants presented substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the value of the subject automobile as of 1/1/12 to be $11,559, an assessed personal property value of $3,850.[4] See, Complainants Prove 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 affirming, modifying or reversing the determination of the board of equalization, and correcting any assessment which is unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary, or capricious.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use.[9] It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.[10] 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.[11]


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.[12] 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. The Kelley Blue Book is a recognized pricing guide for automobiles. Therefore, the owners’ reliance on this valuation source is appropriate in this appeal.

Complainants 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, 2012.[13] 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.”[14] 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.[15] 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.[16]

By statute, no presumption exists that the Assessor’s valuation was correct.[17] Complainants’ evidence of value, mileage and condition of their vehicle constituted substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the fair market value of the subject automobile as of 1/1/12 to be $11,559.


The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor for Scott County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.

The assessed value for the Complainants’ personal property for 2012 is set at $3,850.

Application for Review

Complainant 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. [18]

Disputed Taxes

The Collector of Scott 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 11, 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 11th day of April, 2013, to: Glen Beussink, 200 Co. Hwy. 246, Oran, MO 63771, Complainant; Paul Boyd, Prosecuting Attorney, P.O. Box 160, 131 W. Winchester, Benton, MO 63736, Attorney for Respondent; Teresa Houchin, Assessor, P.O. Box 245, Benton, MO 63736; Rita Milam, Clerk, P.O. Box 188, Benton, MO 63736; Mark Hensley, Collector, P.O. Box 128, Benton, MO 63736.


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] Complaint for Review of Assessment.


[2] An automobile, as personal property, is assessed at one-third of its appraised value (true value in money/fair market value) – Section 137.115.9, RSMo


[3] Complainants also filed Exhibits E and F. These exhibits address the issue of the value of the subject automobile for the 2013 tax year. The Commission has no jurisdiction in the 2012 appeal to set value for 2013.


[4] $11,559 ÷ 3 = $3,853, rounded to $3,850


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


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


[7] Section 137.115.5, RSMo


[8] 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).


[9] 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).


[10] Hermel, supra.


[11] 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.


[12] Section 137.115.9 RSMo


[13] Hermel, supra.


[14] 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).


[15] 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.


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


[17] Section 138.431, RSMo.


[18] Section 138.432, RSMo.