State Tax Commission of Missouri
JAMES & ANNETTE SIEVE,)
v.) Appeal Number 09-57005
TOM COPELAND, ASSESSOR,)
FRANKLIN COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Franklin County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE.True value in money for the subject property for tax year 2009 is set at $135,000, residential assessed value of $25,650.Complainant appeared pro se. Respondent appeared by counsel Mark Vincent.Case heard and decided by Hearing Officer Maureen Monaghan.
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 Franklin County Board of Equalization, which sustained the valuation of the subject property.The Assessor determined an appraised value of $115,730, assessed value of $21,989, as residential property.The Complainant filed a Complaint for Review of Assessment proposing a value of $80,730.Evidentiary Hearing was held on October 22, 2009, at the Franklin County Government Center, Union, Missouri.The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Franklin County Board of Equalization.
2.Subject Property.The subject property is located at 3133 Old Highway 100, Villa Ridge, Missouri.The property is identified by parcel number 57-18-1-11.0-0-000-028.000.The property consists of a 2 acre lot improved by a one-story, aluminum sided, single-family structure of fair quality construction.The house was built in 1955 and appears to be in average condition.The residence has a total of six rooms, which includes four bedrooms, one bath.The residence contains 1210 square feet of living area and has no air conditioning.There is a full, unfinished basement with a garage stall.There are 2 large outbuildings.
3.Complainant’s Evidence.Complainant testified at the hearing.The Complainant is a realtor.Complainant offered into evidence the Assessor’s information on the subject property and another property, property located at 326 W Villa Ridge.Respondent did not object to the information.The Complainant also offered into evidence the Agent Detail Report on a listing of property for sale located at 326 W Villa Ridge.The information is not persuasive as to market value of the subject property on January 1, 2009.
4.Complainant’s Evidence Did Not Establish Value.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 $80,730.
5.Respondent’s Evidence.Respondent presented the appraisal report and testimony of D. Keith Sells, Missouri State Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser.Mr. Sells gave his opinion of the fair market value of Complainant’s property as of January 1, 2009, to be $135,000 based upon a sales comparison analysis.
6.Appraiser’s Sales Comparison Properties.The properties relied upon by Respondent’s appraiser in performing his appraisal were comparable to the subject property for the purpose of making a determination of value of the subject property. The three properties were located within three miles of the subject. Each sale property sold at a time relevant to the tax date of January 1, 2009 (August 2007 to December 2008).The sale properties were similar to the subject in style, quality of construction, age, condition, room, bedroom and bathroom count, living area, location, site size and other amenities of comparability.
7.Appraiser’s Adjustments and Conclusions of Value.The appraiser’s adjustments to the comparable properties for differences which existed between the subject and each comparable were appropriate for the appraisal problem.The net adjustments ranged from
-11.56% to 4.98%.The adjusted sales prices calculated to $139,700, $134,900, and $141,500.The appraiser concluded on a $135,000 value which calculated to a value per square foot of $111 compared with the sales prices per square foot of living area for the comparables of $105.93, $110.68 and $126.78. The comparison of the value per square foot provides a validation check for the appraisal, to demonstrate that the indicated value is consistent with the market for properties such as the subject.
The appraiser placed most weight on Sales Comparable #2.Comparable #2 was 2.98 miles from the subject but the sale occurred on December 12, 2008.The appraiser made adjustments for the smaller lot (1 acre, $5000), its better condition (-$3000), the additional bath (-$1500), lack of basement ($5400), air conditioning (-$1500), the lack of garage and additional outbuildings ($3,500).The subject property sold in December 2008 for $128,500; the sales price after all adjustments were made was $134,900.The appraiser also looked at a property across the road from the subject property.The property originally sold for $150,000 in December 2007.The appraiser made adjustments for all the differences other than the sales date for an adjusted sale price of $139, 700.
8.Respondent’s Evidence Established Value.Respondent’s evidence met the standard of substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the value of the subject, as of January 1, 2009, to be $135,000.
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 in favor of the Board is not evidence.A presumption simply accepts something as true without any substantial proof to the contrary.In an evidentiary hearing before the Commission, the valuation determined by the Board is accepted as true only until and so long as there is no substantial evidence to the contrary.
The presumption of correct assessment is rebutted when the taxpayer, or respondent when advocating a value different than that determined by the Board, 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.
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.True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use.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 did not present an opinion of value based on any recognized methodology for valuation of property for ad valorem tax purposes.Respondent’s appraiser concluded an opinion of value relying on the sales or market approach to value.This approach generally provides the most credible basis for appraisal of owner occupied property.
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, 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.
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.Complainant offered the Assessor’s data on another property and the listing information on another property.A listing of a property is not evidence of market sales; it is simply the offering of property by a seller.The Assessor’s office data on two properties does not establish market value of property.It is simply County’s records regarding the tax information on two properties and does not provide analysis comparing the properties or establishing the market for properties.
Complainant’s opinion of value was not based upon proper elements or a proper foundation.Therefore, it does not meet the standard of substantial and persuasive evidence.Complainant failed to meet his burden of proof.
Respondent Proves Value
Respondent, when advocating a value different from that determined by the original valuation or a valuation made by the Board of Equalization, must meet the same burden of proof to present substantial and persuasive evidence of the value advocated as required of the Complainant under the principles established by case law.Respondent presented substantial and persuasive evidence to establish a fair market value of $135,000, as of January 1, 2009 for Complainant’s property.Respondent’s appraiser developed an opinion of value relying upon an established and recognized approach for the valuation of real property, the sales comparison or market approach.The sales comparison approach is generally recognized to be the most reliable methodology to be utilized in the valuation of single-family residences.
Summary & Conclusion
Complainant failed to meet the required burden of proof to prove fair market value.Respondent’s appraiser presented substantial and persuasive evidence to establish value.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization for Franklin County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax year 2009 is set at $25,650.
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.
The Collector of Franklin 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 November 10, 2009.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid this 10thday of November, 2009, to:James Sieve, 27 Wilderness Lane, Defiance, MO 63341, Complainant; Mark Vincent, Franklin County Counselor, P.O. Box 439, Union, MO 63084, Attorney for Respondent; Tom Copeland, Assessor, 400 E. Locust, Suite 105A, Union, MO 63084; Debbie Door, Clerk, Franklin County Courthouse, 400 E. Locust, Suite 201, Union, MO 63084; Linda Emmons, Collector; Franklin County Courthouse, 400 E. Locust, Suite 103, Union, MO 63084.
 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).
 Daly v. P. D. George Company, et al, 77 SW3d 645, 649 (Mo.App E.D. 2002), citing, Equitable Life Assurance Society v. STC, 852 SW2d 376, 380 (Mo.App. 1993); citing, Stephen & Stephen Properties, Inc. v. STC, 499 S.W.2d 798, 801-803 (Mo. 1973).
 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).