State Tax Commission of Missouri
|INVESTMENTS REALTY, LLC,||)|
|)||Appeal Number 13-48501|
|GEORGE MEYERS, ASSESSOR,||)|
|CARTER COUNTY, MISSOURI,||)|
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE. Complainant presented substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board of Equalization. True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2013 and 2014 is set at $610,000, commercial assessed value of $195,200.
Complainant appeared by counsel Richard Dvorak.
Respondent appeared by counsel Rocky Kingree.
Case heard and decided by Hearing Officer Maureen Monaghan.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Carter County Board of Equalization, which sustained the valuation of the subject property. 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 from the decision of the Carter County Board of Equalization.
- Evidentiary Hearing. On November 16, 2013, an Order was issued to the parties setting a deadline for filing exhibits on or before January 15, 2014. On December 23, 2013, the date was extended to March 17, 2014. Objections to any exhibits were due on or before April 7, 2014. Complainant filed Exhibits A and B. Respondent filed no exhibits. Respondent did not object to any of the Complainant’s Exhibits. On June 20, 2014, an order was served upon the Assessor and his attorney setting a deadline of July 11, 2014 to request a hearing for purposes of cross examination of the Complainant’s expert. The Assessor did not request a hearing.
- Identification of Subject Property. The subject property is identified by map parcel number 05-6.0-24.10-000-000-002.01. It is further identified as the Van Buren Park Service Building, 404 Watercress Rd, Van Buren, Carter County, Missouri.
- Description of Subject Property. The subject property consists of an 8.91 acre tract of land improved by a single-tenant office building with 16,832 gross area and 14,000 square feet of net rentable area. The building is 14 years old and is a wood frame with stone. Improvements to the property include paved parking, curbing, signage, landscaping and lighting.
- Assessment. The Assessor appraised the property at $1,943,500, an assessed commercial value of $621,920. The Board of Equalization sustained the assessment.
- Complainant’s Evidence. Complainant offered into evidence Exhibits A and B. Exhibit A is an appraisal report. Exhibit B is the written direct testimony of Troy Smith.
- 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.
- Presumption of Correct Assessment Rebutted – Value Established. The evidence presented by Complainant was substantial and persuasive to both rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and to establish the fair market value of the subject property to be $610,000, assessed commercial value of $195,200.
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 real and tangible personal property are assessed at set percentages of true value in money. Section 137.115.5, RSMo – residential property at 19% of true value in money; commercial property at 32% of true value in money and agricultural property at 12% of true value in money.
Presumption In Appeal
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the County Board of Equalization. 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).
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. Hermel, supra; Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).
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, 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). 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.
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). True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use. 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).
It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date. Hermel, supra.
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:
- 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.
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). 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. 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).
The Supreme Court of Missouri has also held that evidence of the actual sales price of property is admissible to establish value at the time of an assessment, provided that such evidence involves a voluntary purchase not too remote in time. The actual sale price is a method that may be considered for estimating true value. St. Joe Minerals Corp., supra
Opinion Testimony by Experts
An expert’s opinion must be founded upon substantial information, not mere conjecture or speculation, and there must be a rational basis for the opinion. Missouri Pipeline Co. v. Wilmes, 898 S.W. 2d 682, 687 (Mo. App. E.D. 1995).If specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert on that subject, by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto.
The facts or data upon which an expert bases an opinion or inference may be those perceived by or made known to the expert at or before the hearing and must be of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the field in forming opinions or inferences upon the subject and must be otherwise reliable, the facts or data need not be admissible in evidence.
Section 490.065, RSMo; State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts v. McDonagh, 123 S.W.3d 146 (Mo. SC. 2004); Courtroom Handbook on Missouri Evidence, Wm. A. Schroeder, Sections 702-505, pp. 325-350; Wulfing v. Kansas City Southern Industries, Inc., 842 S.W.2d 133 (Mo. App. E.D. 1992).
Complainant Proves Value
Complainant presented substantial and persuasive evidence to establish a fair market value as of January 1, 2013, to be $610,000 for the subject property. Complainant’s appraiser developed an opinion of value relying upon an established and recognized approach for the valuation of real property.
The income approach determines value by estimating the present worth of what an owner will likely receive in the future as income from the property. The income approach is based on an evaluation of what a willing buyer would pay to realize the income stream that could be obtained from the property when devoted to its highest and best use. This approach is most appropriate in valuing investment-type properties and is reliable when rental income, operating expenses and capitalization rates can reasonably be estimated from existing market conditions. The initial step in applying the income approach is to find comparable rentals and make adjustments for any differences. Snider v. Casino Aztar/Aztar Missouri Gaming Corp., 156 S.W. 3d, 341, 347 (Mo. 2005).
Complainant presented the testimony and appraisal report of Troy Smith. Mr. Smith is a State Certified General Appraiser. The appraiser reviewed all three approaches to value. The appraiser determined that the cost approach was not appropriate due to the age of the improvement. The appraiser determined that the sales comparison approach had little utility in valuing the subject property as there is a lack of comparable sales. The appraiser relied on the income approach to develop an opinion of value for the subject property.
The subject property is a build to suit property leased to a single tenant – the National Park Service. The appraiser reviewed the market for rental rates. The range of rates is $8.99 to $12. The appraiser concluded on a rate of $11 per square foot. The appraiser estimated a vacancy and collection rate of 10%. The appraiser reviewed market and historic expenses to determine a rate of $5.25 per square foot. The resulting net operating income estimated was $65,156. An overall cap rate of 10.65% was applied. (A market cap rate of 9% and an effective tax rate of 1.65%). The final estimate of value is $610,000.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization for Carter County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2013 and 2014 is set at $195,200.
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 Carter 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 21st day of July, 2014.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid on this 21st day of July, 2014 to: Richard D. Dvorak, 7111 W. 98th Terr., #140, Overalnd Park, KS 66212, Attorney for Complainant; Rocky Kingree, 504 Main St., Van Buren, MO 63965, Attorney for Respondent; George Meyers, Carter County Assessor, P.O. Box 429, Van Buren, MO 63965; Rebecca Simpson Gibbs, Carter County Clerk, P.O. Box 517, Van Buren, MO 63965; Debbie Turley, Carter County Collector, P.O. Box 445, Van Buren, MO 63965.
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