Harry & LaRetha Campbell v. Shipman (St. Charles)

December 5th, 2012

State Tax Commission of Missouri





v.                                                                            ) Appeal No.12-32502









Decision of the St. Charles County Board of Equalization reducing the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE.Complainants present substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board of Equalization and to establish the true value in money for the subject automobile as of 1/1/12.

True value in money for the subject property for tax year 2012 is set at $12,075, assessed value of $4,025.

Complainants appeal pro se.

Respondent represented by Assistant County Counselor, Joseph W. Smith.

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


Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the St. Charles County Board of Equalization, which reduced the valuation of Complainants’ automobile.The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject 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 from the decision of the St. Charles County Board of Equalization.

2.Submission on Documents.By Order, dated 10/18/12, 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 November 21, 2012, 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 by their letter received 11/14/12 waived their right to an evidentiary hearing and consented to having the appeal decided based on exhibits submitted.Respondent did not respond and therefore under the Order is deemed to have consented to a decision being rendered based upon the exhibits submitted, and waived right to evidentiary hearing.

3.Subject Property.The subject property is a 2007 Honda Odyssey – Wagon 5D LX, identified by VIN – 5FNRL382X7B129882.[1]The property is part of the list of automobiles identified in Assessor’s Account 12387500.[2]

4.Values of Non-Appealed Automobiles.The following automobiles are not under appeal:[3]













Ram 50
















5.Assessment.The Assessor valued the 2007 Honda at $13,550, an assessed value of $4,516.[5]The Board reduced the value to $13,200, assessed value of $4,400.

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




BOE Appeal Form; Blue Book Trade-In Value


NADA[7] – 10/11; NADA – 1/12; Complainants’ 2012 Personal Property Assessment Form


Notice of Personal Property Assessment; BOE Decision dtd 7/18/12

Complainant’s evidence was substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the true value in money as of January 1, 2011, to be $12,075, as proposed.

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




Qualifications of Matt Brown, Special Assessment Manager – St. Charles County


Complainants’ Personal Property Assessment Form


October 2011 NADA Online Guide


Written Direct Testimony – Matt Brown

8.Valuation Facts.The following are the relevant facts as to the 10/11 and 1/12 NADA values of Complainants’ 2007 Honda Odyssey.

a.October 2011 – Clean Trade-in:The Clean Trade-in value as shown by the October 2011 NADA was $13,550.With a mileage adjustment of -$350, the Clean Trade-in value drops to $13,200.[8]

b.January 2012 – Clean Trade-in:The Clean Trade-in value as shown by the January 2012 NADA was $12,425.[9]With the -$350 mileage adjustment, the Clean Trade-in value drops to $12,075.

9.Concluded Value.The true value in money of Complainants’ 2007 Honda Odyssey as of 1/12 was $12,075, assessed value of $4,025.See, Hearing Officer Finds 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.[10]

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.[11]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.[12]

Presumption In Appeals

There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the County Board of Equalization.[13]This presumption is a rebuttable rather than a conclusive presumption.It places the burden of going forward with some substantial evidence on the taxpayer – Complainant.When some substantial evidence is produced by the Complainant, “however slight,” the presumption disappears and the Hearing Officer, as trier of facts, receives the issue free of the presumption.[14]The presumption is not evidence of value.

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.[15]Upon presentation of the Complainants’ evidence[16] the presumption in this appeal disappeared.

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.[17]True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use.[18]It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.[19]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.[20]

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.[21]

Complainants’ 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, 2011.[22]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.”[23]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.[24]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.[25]

Hearing Officer Finds Value

The opinion of value of $10,000 stated in Exhibit A is not supported by substantial and persuasive evidence.It appears that Complainants valued their automobile as being between Very Good ($10,310) and Good ($9,760) to arrive at the $10,000 amount.The Blue Book document is for values valid until 7/12/12 (updated weekly), accordingly it is a valuation over seven months after the valuation date applicable in this case, i.e. 1/1/12.

However, the evidence derived from the January 2012 NADA provides substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the value for the subject motor vehicle.The Clean Trade-in value less the mileage adjustment sets the value at $12,075.

Respondent in performing the valuation for the mass appraisal of automobiles in St. Charles County properly relied upon the October 2011 NADA guide.However, once the matter comes before the Commission, it is appropriate to consider the more timely, and thereby more relevant, NADA value for January 2012.


The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization for St. Charles County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.

The assessed value for the Complainants’ 2007 Honda Odyssey for tax year 2012 is set at $4,025.The total assessed value for Account Number 12387500 is $5,227 ($4,025 – Property Appealed; $1,202 – Property Not Appealed)

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.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, MO65102-0146, 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 St. Charles 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 December 5, 2012.





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 5th day of December, 2012, to:  Harry Campbell, 2355 Post Road, Dardenne Prairie, MO 63368, Complainant; Joseph Smith, Assistant County Counselor, 100 North Third Street, Room 216, St. Charles, MO 63301, Attorney for Respondent; Scott Shipman, Assessor, 201 North Second, Room 247, St. Charles, MO 63301-2870; Ruth Miller, Registrar, 201 North Second Street, Room 529, St. Charles, MO 63301; Michelle McBride, Collector, 201 North Second Street, Room 134, St. Charles, MO 63301.




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] Exhibit A; Exhibit 4 – Q & A 8 & 12


[2] Exhibits B & C; Exhibit 2; BOE Decision Letter, dated 7/18/12


[3] Exhibits A, B & C; Exhibit 2; BOE Decision Letter dated 7/18/12


[4] The BOE Decision lists the Assessor’s Appraised Value for Property Not Appealed as $3,681, assessed Value of $1,227. The Board’s Appraised for Property Not Appeals is $3,606, assessed $1,202. No explanation is provided as to the $75 appraised reduction or to which automobile it was applied. Accordingly, the TOTAL given is based upon the BOE’s setting of the appraised and assessed value for the Property Not Appealed.


[5] Exhibits B & C; Exhibit 2; BOE Decision Letter dated 7/18/12


[6] Each Exhibit also contained as a cover sheet, Complainant’s Narrative Statement


[7] National Automobile Dealers’ Association Official Used Car Guide

[8] Exhibit B; Exhibit C; Exhibit 3


[9] Exhibit B


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


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


[12] Section 137.115.5, RSMo


[13] 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)


[14] United Missouri Bank of Kansas City v. March, 650 S.W.2d 678, 680-81 (Mo. App. 1983), citing to State ex rel. Christian v. Lawry, 405 S.W.2d 729, 730 (Mo. App. 1966) and cases therein cited.


[15] Hermel, supra; Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959)


[16] Exhibit B; Testimony of Complainant’s Expert Witness at hearing


[17] 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).


[18] 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).


[19] Hermel, supra.


[20] 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.


[21] Section 137.115.9 RSMo


[22] Hermel, supra.


[23] 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).


[24] 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.


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


[26] Section 138.432, RSMo.