State Tax Commission of Missouri
JAMES & BETTY JOHNSON,)
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
ORDER CORRECTING DECISION NUNC PRO TUNC
Decision issued July 2, 2010 is corrected nunc pro tunc as follows:
On page 1, HOLDING, in the second sentence, the number “$20,235” is stricken and the number “$20,240” is inserted in lieu thereof.
On page 2, in the first sentence at the top of the page, the number “$20,485” is stricken and the number “$20,480” is inserted in lieu thereof.
On page 2, Respondent’s Evidence, in the first sentence of the second paragraph, the word “she” is stricken and the word “he” is inserted in lieu thereof.
On page 6, under ORDER, in the second sentence, the number “$20,235” is stricken and the number “$20,240” is inserted in lieu thereof.
In all other respects the Decision is affirmed as issued.
SO ORDERED August 2, 2010.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
W. B. Tichenor
Senior Hearing Officer
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE.Hearing Officer finds presumptions of correct assessment rebutted. True value in money for the subject property for tax year 2009 and 2010 is set at $106,500, assessed value of $20,235.
Complainants failed to appear.
Respondent appeared by Assistant County Counselor, Robert Fox.
Case heard and decided by Hearing Officer Maureen Monaghan.
The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject properties on January 1, 2009.
Complainants appeal the decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization, which sustained the valuations of the subject property.The Assessor determined an appraised value of $107,800, assessed value of $20,485, as residential property. The Board of Equalization sustained the valuation.Complainants appealed to the State Tax Commission.A hearing was conducted on June 16, 2010, at the St. LouisCountyGovernmentCenter,Clayton,Missouri.
Although notified of the hearing by the State Tax Commission of the date, time and place of the hearing, Complainants failed to appear. By Order issued April 21, 2010, case was set for evidentiary hearing at 2:15 p.m., Wednesday, June 16, 2010, in the St. Louis County Administration Building, Missouri.Complainants were informed by said Order that if they could not attend the hearing and needed a continuance a request must be made in writing and filed with the Commission no later than five days before the hearing date.No request for continuance was filed with the Commission by Complainants.
Respondent placed into evidence the testimony of Mr. Craig Masterson, Residential Real Estate Appraiser for St. Louis County.The appraiser testified as to his appraisal of the subject properties.The Appraisal Report, Exhibit 1, was received into evidence.The appraiser arrived at an opinion of value for the subject property of $106,500 based upon a sales comparison approach to value.
In performing his sales comparison analysis, the appraiser relied upon the sales of five properties which she deemed to be comparable to the subject property. The adjusted sales prices of the comparables fell in a range from $102,000 to $111,900.The gross adjustments ranged from 10.6% to 37.6%.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainants timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization.
2.The subject property is located at 7 Little Lane, Florissant, MO, 63033.It is identified by parcel number 08H110286.
3.The property is a single-family, one-story ranch-style house built in 1956.The gross living area is 1,963 square feet.The exterior is vinyl-sided frame construction.The residence has a total of six rooms including 2 bedrooms and 2 full baths.
4.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2009, to January 1, 2010.
5.Respondent’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, 2009, to be $106,500.
6.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.
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.Article X, section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, RSMo.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.Section 138.431.4, RSMo.
Presumptions In Appeals
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the CountyBoardof 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 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, even if simply to sustain the value made by the Assessor, is accepted as true only until and so long as there is no substantial evidence to the contrary.
Notwithstanding the provision of Section 138.431.3, RSMo – “There shall be no presumption that the assessor’s valuation is correct,” – the Supreme Court of Missouri has held, “A tax assessor’s valuation is presumed correct.”Snider v. Casino Aztar/Aztar Missouri Gaming Corp., 156 S.W.3d 341 (Mo. 2005).Citing to Hermel, supra; and Cupples Hesse Corp. v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).
The presumption of correct assessment is rebutted when substantial and persuasive evidence is presented to establish that the Board’s valuation is erroneous and what the fair market value should have been placed on the property.Snider, Hermel & Cupples Hesse, supra.
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).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:
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.
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, Exhibit 1, p. 4.
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).
Missouricourts 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 assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and reduced by the Board of Equalization forSt. LouisCountyfor the subject tax day are SET ASIDE.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $20,235.
A party may file with the Commission an application for review of this decision within thirty (30) days of the mailing of such decision.The application shall contain specific 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 appeal is based will result in summary denial.Section 138.432, RSMo 2000.
If an application for review of this decision is made to the Commission, any protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accordance with this appeal shall be held pending the final decision of the Commission and an order to the Collector to release and disburse the impounded taxes, unless said taxes have been disbursed pursuant an order of the circuit court under the provisions of Section 139.031.8, RSMo.§139.031.3, RSMo.If no application for review is received by the Commission within thirty (30) days, this decision and order is deemed final and the Collector of St. Louis County, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall disburse the protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accord with the decision on the underlying assessment in this appeal.
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 July 2, 2010.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI