State Tax Commission of Missouri
v.)Appeal(s) Number 12-66000
KEVIN BISHOP, ASSESSOR,)
LINCOLN COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Lincoln County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is AFFIRMED.
True value in money for the subject property for tax year 2012 is set at $125,610, residential assessed value of $23,866.
Complainant appeared in person.
Respondent appeared in person.
Case heard and decided by Hearing Officer, Maureen Monaghan.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Lincoln 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, 2011.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 Lincoln County Board of Equalization.
2.Evidentiary Hearing.The Evidentiary Hearing was held on November 28, 2012, at the Lincoln County Courthouse, Troy, Missouri.
3.Subject Property.The subject property is identified by locator number 15-80-34-004-002-024.000.It is located at 90 Kensington Palace Dr., Troy, Missouri.It is a .23 acre lot improved with a 1,548 square foot house that consists of three bedrooms, 2 baths and an unfinished basement. The Complainant purchased the home in 2007 for $165,000.
4..Assessment.In 2011, the Board reduced the value of the property to $125,610, a residential assessed value of $23,866.The Complainant appealed to the Board in 2012;the Board did not change the value.
5.Complainant’s Evidence.Complainant testified to the condition of the home and offered 8 photographs.Complainant was allowed to retain possession of the photographs as the Assessor offered 42 photographs of the subject property that document the issues the Complainant presented.
6.Respondent’s Evidence.Respondent testified on his own behalf and presented the property record card using the Vanguard system for cost approach, a history of assessment, photographs of the subject property, comparable sales table, an assessment equity comparison, and two sales in 2012.All comparables provided by Respondent were in close proximity to 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.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.
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.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.
Presumption In Appeals
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the County Board of Equalization.This presumption is a rebuttable rather than a conclusive presumption.It places the burden of going forward on the taxpayer – Complainant.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.
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.
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.
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’s Burden of Proof
In order to prevail, Complainant 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.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.”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.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 Complainant testified that he would be selling the property in the spring of 2013.He anticipated that he would list the property for $110,500 due to the condition of the property.Mr. Bruce testified that his shingles were not installed properly and that he uses blocks to keep them from coming loose.He also testified that there are cracks in the foundation, the siding was installed poorly, and that the clay soil makes it difficult to grow grass.
The condition of the residence will impact the sale price of the property however, the Complainant presented no evidence as to the market value of the subject or the market adjustment necessary for the conditions he presented.
The Assessor presented market evidence as to the true value of the property.The Assessor performed a cost approach and a market approach.The cost approach, primarily relied upon by the Assessor, determined that the value of the subject was $125,610.The Assessor also reviewed five sales within the proximity of the subject property.After adjustments, the values indicated ranged from $126,917 to $142,017.The Assessor also presented evidence as to 2 additional sales.One property, located across the street from the subject, was a foreclosure that sold for $123,000.The floor plan is identical to the subject.The other property, located one block from the subject, sold for $126,900.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization for Lincoln County for the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax year 2012 is set at $23,866.
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, 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.
The Collector of Lincoln 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 19, 2012.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid on this 19th day of December, 2012, to:James Bruce, 90 Kensington Palace Dr., Troy, MO 63379, Complainant; Leah Askey, Prosecuting Attorney, P.O. Box 319, 45 Business Park Drive Troy, MO 63379, Attorney for Respondent; Kevin Bishop, Assessor, 201 Main Street, Troy, MO 63379; Rick Wilcockson, Clerk, 201 Main Street, Troy, MO63379; Jerry Fox, Collector, 201 Main Street, Troy, MO 63379.
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
 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 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).
 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.
 Lincoln County v. Security Bonhomme, Inc., 558 S.W.2d 655, 659 (Mo. banc 1977); Lincoln 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).
 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).
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.