State Tax Commission of Missouri
|)||Appeal Number 13-89536|
|CHUCK PENNEL, ASSESSOR,||)|
|TANEY COUNTY, MISSOURI,||)|
DECISION AND ORDER
The assessment made by the Assessor is AFFIRMED. Complainant did not present substantial and persuasive evidence to meet his burden of proof.
True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2013 and 2014 is set at $49,000, residential assessed value of $9,310.
Complainant and Respondent both appeared pro se.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer John Treu.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the valuation of the Assessor for Taney County. The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2013. The value as of January 1 of the odd numbered year remains the value as of January 1 of the following even numbered year unless there is new construction and improvement to the property. Section 137.115.1 RSMo
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
FINDINGS OF FACT
- Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper. Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission.
- Evidentiary Hearing. The Evidentiary Hearing was held on 9/3/2014 at the Taney County Courthouse, Forsyth, Missouri.
- Identification of Subject Property. The subject property is identified by map parcel number or locator number 05-2.0-03-000-000-002.034. It is further identified as Phase One, Lot 34, Saddlebrooke, Taney County, Missouri.(Complaint for Review of Assessment)
- Description of Subject Property. The subject property consists solely of an unimproved .98 acre tract of land. (Ex. B)
- Assessment. The Assessor appraised the property at $49,000, an assessed residential value of $9,310. (Complaint for Review of Assessment)
- Complainant’s Evidence. Complainant offered into evidence Exhibit A through D. Exhibit A consisted of a statement of Complainant. Exhibit B consisted of a picture of the subject property stating it was a “[n]o view lot and that it was .98 acres. Exhibit C consisted of a picture of an entry sign to Saddlebrooke Homesites, reflecting such were offered from $14,900. Exhibit D consisted of an email from realtor Kim Hagan to Complainant, accompanied by what appears to be various multi-listing documents of properties. Exhibits A through D were received into evidence without objection.
- No Evidence of New Construction & Improvement. There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2013, to January 1, 2014, therefore the assessed value for 2013 remains the assessed value for 2014. Section 137.115.1, RSMo.
- Respondent’s Evidence. Respondent submitted no evidence at the hearing; however, did state in an email to the State Tax Commission that “surrounding lots are equally valued…”. Such email is not considered by this hearing officer in making his decision as it was not exchanged with Complainant.
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. Article X, Section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, 138.431.4, RSMo.
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. Article X, Sections 4(a) and 4(b), Mo. Const. of 1945. The constitutional mandate is to find the true value in money for the property under appeal. By statute residential property is assessed at 19% of true value in money.
Complainant’s Burden of Proof
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, 2013. Hermel, supra. 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.” 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).
Owner’s Opinion of Value
The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value. 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). The owner’s opinion is without probative value; however, where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or an improper foundation. 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). 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.” See, Rossman v. G.G.C. Corp. of Missouri, 596 S.W.2d 469, 471 (Mo. App. 1980).
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. 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).
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:
- Buyer and seller are typically motivated.
- Both parties are well informed and well advised, and both acting in what they consider their own best interests.
- A reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market.
- Payment is made in cash or its equivalent.
- 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. 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.
In appeals on the value of property, the issue is what a willing buyer and seller would have agreed to as the purchase price on the applicable valuation date. The issue is not what real estate price trends in general may have been or any given period of time. The issue is specific to the property that is under appeal. Therefore, general statements, claims, conclusions and opinions as to what the “market for homes” has or hasn’t done do not meet the factors of materiality and probative value and are accordingly irrelevant.
Investigation by Hearing Officer
In order to investigate appeals filed with the Commission, the Hearing Officer may inquire of the owner of the property or of any other party to the appeal regarding any matter or issue relevant to the valuation, subclassification or assessment of the property. The Hearing Officer’s decision regarding the assessment or valuation of the property may be based solely upon his inquiry and any evidence presented by the parties, or based solely upon evidence presented by the parties. Section 138.430.2, RSMo.
Weight to be Given Evidence
The Hearing Officer is not bound by any single formula, rule or method in determining true value in money, but is free to consider all pertinent facts and estimates and give them such weight as reasonably they may be deemed entitled. The relative weight to be accorded any relevant factor in a particular case is for the Hearing Officer to decide. St. Louis County v. Security Bonhomme, Inc., 558 S.W.2d 655, 659 (Mo. banc 1977); St. Louis County v. STC, 515 S.W.2d 446, 450 (Mo. 1974); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company v. STC, 436 S.W.2d 650 (Mo. 1968).
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. 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
Complainant Fails to Prove Value
Complainant failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence to establish a fair market value as of January 1, 2013 for the subject property. Complainant had the burden of proof in this case. Respondent had no obligation to present any evidence whatsoever.
Complainant testified about what he believed the subject property was worth; however, such was so speculative as to leave the Commission “in the nebulous twilight of speculation, conjecture and surmise.” See, Rossman v. G.G.C. Corp. of Missouri, 596 S.W.2d 469, 471 (Mo. App. 1980). Even Complainant’s Exhibit D, the documents from the real estate agent, provided no clarity.
The property was originally valued by the Assessor at $49,000. Complainant desires a lower valuation. However, looking at Complainant’s Exhibit D, such supplies support for the Assessors valuation. Lot 43, also a no view lot (like the subject property) consisting of .5 acres, sold for $25,000 in November, 2013. Complainant’s lot is .98 acres. By dividing .98 by .5 and then multiplying such by the sales price of Lot 43, such coincidentally equals $49,000, the same valuation placed upon the subject property. Lot 42, also a no view lot (like the subject property), consisting of .52 acres, also sold for $25,000 in November, 2013. By dividing .98 (the subject properties acreage) by .52 and then multiplying such by the sales price of Lot 42, such equals $47,115. Such value is not far removed from the value placed on the subject property. Both of these examples supply rational examples that would support the Assessors valuation.
Most certainly, by using the other lots listed in Exhibit D, a much lower value would be reached; however, such is not pertinent to the question herein. What is pertinent is that Complainant has the burden of proof and did not present substantial and persuasive evidence to establish what the true value of the subject property was. Complainant also did not supply any evidentiary basis upon which a true valuation could be arrived at. This hearing officer would potentially have to make speculation and partake in conjecture, based upon further speculation and conjecture.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor for Taney County for the subject tax day is AFFIRMED
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2013 and 2014 remains or is set at $9,310.
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, 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. Section 138.432, RSMo
The Collector of Taney 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 this 11th day of September, 2014.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
Senior Hearing Officer
Delivery or Notice was made via mail, email, fax, or personally on September 11th, 2014 to the following Individuals of this Decision/Order/Holding
Greg Bonewell, Complainant, email@example.com
Chuck Pennel, Assessor, ChuckP@co.taney.mo.us
Sheila Wyatt, Collector, firstname.lastname@example.org
Donna Neeley, Clerk, email@example.com