STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
|JEFFREY B. HENDERSON,||)||Appeal No. 21-32726|
|)||Parcel No. 3-0133-7795-00-0092|
|SCOTT SHIPMAN, ASSESSOR,||)|
|ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MISSOURI,||)|
DECISION AND ORDER
Respondent’s Motion to Dismiss is granted. The State Tax Commission (STC) is without jurisdiction to hear Complainant’s appeal.
True value in money for the subject property for the tax year 2021 is set at $276,238, residential; assessed value for the subject property for tax year 2021 is set at $52,485.
Complainant is represented by counsel R. Brian Mueller. Respondent is represented by counsel Amanda M. Jennings and Michael G. Mueth. Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer (SHO) Benjamin C. Slawson.
ISSUE and Procedural Background
Complainant appeals on the ground of overvaluation.
On April 5, 2022, SHO Slawson issued a scheduling order to the parties scheduling a pre-hearing conference for June 8, 2022, and an evidentiary hearing for September 22, 2022. On April 6, 2022, Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss alleging the Commission lacks jurisdiction to hear the appeal. Specifically, Respondent asserted that Complainant timely received notice of assessment and appealed the valuation of his property to the Board of Equalization (BOE) but that Complainant subsequently withdrew his appeal during the hearing before the BOE. Therefore, Respondent argued, Complainant failed to exhaust his administrative remedies and there is no ruling subject to review by the STC under Section 138.430. Respondent attached Exhibit 1 to its Motion, a notice from the St. Charles County BOE hearing held on August 10, 2021. The notice states that the determination of the board with respect to the subject property is as follows: “Appeal Cancelled/Withdrawn.”
On April 7, 2022, SHO Slawson issued an order requiring Complainant to respond to Respondent’s Motion to Dismiss by April 20, 2022. On April 6, 2022, Complainant sent email correspondence stating that he would review the BOE recording for the subject property and respond to Respondent’s Motion. On April 19, 2022, Complainant submitted his response to the Motion via electronic mail. In his response, Complainant stated that Complainant had reviewed the BOE proceeding and that Complainant had no “legal objection” to Respondent’s Motion. Complainant also admitted that he withdrew his appeal at the BOE but asserted that this was done due to the BOE’s “threats to increase the value of this parcel.” Complainant did not attach any documentary evidence to his response.
FINDINGS OF FACT
- Subject Property. The subject property is identified by map parcel number 3-0133-7795-00-0092.0000000 and is further identified as 3412 Clearfield Court, St. Charles, Missouri 63303.
- Valuation. Respondent determined the TVM for the subject property was $276,238, classified as residential, as of January 1, 2021, with an assessed value of $52,485.
- Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over this appeal is not proper. Complainant failed to pursue an appeal before the BOE. Complainant dismissed its appeal before the BOE, as evidenced by Respondent’s Exhibit 1.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DECISION
The STC has no jurisdiction to hear this appeal and adjust any assessment. Any person aggrieved by the assessment of his property may appeal to the county board of equalization. Section 137.385. An appeal shall be in writing and the forms to be used for this purpose shall be furnished by the county clerk. Id. Such appeal shall be lodged with the county clerk as secretary of the board of equalization before the second Monday in July; provided, that the board may in its discretion extend the time for filing such appeals. Id.
The county board of equalization shall, in a summary way, determine all appeals from the valuation of property made by the assessor, and shall correct and adjust the assessment accordingly. Section 138.060.
Every owner of real property or tangible personal property shall have the right to appeal from the local boards of equalization to the STC under rules prescribed by the STC, within the time prescribed in this chapter or thirty days following the final action of the local board of equalization, whichever date later occurs, concerning all questions and disputes involving the assessment against such property, the method or formula used in determining the valuation of such property, or the assignment of a discriminatory assessment to such property. Section 138.430.
As a general rule, courts will refrain from acting until the litigants have exhausted all available administrative remedies provided by statute. In establishing a system for levying of taxes and the appeal of property tax assessments, including those set out in Sections 138.060, 138.430 and 139.031, the General Assembly has properly charged administrative agencies with responsibilities associated with the determination of property valuation methods as well as the actual assessment of property. Missouri Retired Teachers Foundation v. Estes, 323 S.W.3d 100, 104 (Mo. App. W.D. 2010).
The doctrine of exhaustion of remedies is a jurisdictional requirement. Pessin v. State Tax Com’n, 875 S.W.2d 143 (Mo. App. E.D. 1994). Where an administrative remedy is available, a court will generally require a litigant to exhaust the administrative remedy before assuming jurisdiction. Premium Standard Farms, Inc. v. Lincoln Township, 946 S.W.2d 234, 237 (Mo. banc 1997); Willamette Indus., Inc. v. Clean Water Comm’n, 34 S.W.3d 197, 201 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000).
Under the statutory framework of Chapter 137, the General Assembly created the local boards of equalization and gave them the duty to hear and determine taxpayers’ appeals from an assessor’s valuation of property. There can be no dispute that the General Assembly never intended to allow taxpayers to appeal to the STC without first appealing to the local boards of equalization.
Complainant admits that it voluntarily withdrew its appeal at the BOE hearing. Complainant’s withdrawal denies the State Tax Commission any jurisdiction to hear an appeal.
CONCLUSION AND ORDER
The BOE’s decision finding the TVM of subject property on January 1, 2021, was $276,238 is affirmed. The assessed value for the subject property for tax year 2021 is set at $52,485.
Application for Review
A party may file an application for review of this decision within 30 days of the mailing date set forth in the certificate of service for this decision. The application “shall contain specific detailed grounds upon which it is claimed the decision is erroneous.” Section 138.432. The application must be in writing, and may be mailed to the State Tax Commission of Missouri, P.O. Box 146, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0146, or emailed to Legal@stc.mo.gov. A copy of the application must be sent to each person 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.
The Collector of St. Charles County, and 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 the disputed taxes have been disbursed pursuant to a court order under the provisions of section 139.031.8.
SO ORDERED April 22, 2022.
Benjamin C. Slawson
Senior Hearing Officer
State Tax Commission
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been electronically mailed and/or sent by U.S. Mail on April 22, 2022, to: Complainant(s) and/or Counsel for Complainant(s), the County Assessor and/or Counsel for Respondent and County Collector.
 All statutory citations are to RSMo 2000, as amended.
 Under its rulemaking authority, the STC has promulgated 12 CSR 30-3.010(1)(B)1, which provides that taxpayers may file appeals directly with the STC in two limited circumstances, neither of which apply here:
(a) where the assessor fails to notify the current owner of the property of an initial assessment or an increase in assessment from the previous year, prior to thirty (30) days before the deadline for filing an appeal to the board of equalization, including instances in which real property was transferred and the prior owner was notified, or
(b) where a new owner purchased real property less than thirty (30) days before the deadline for filing an appeal to the board of equalization or later in the tax year, regardless if the assessment is an initial assessment, an increase or decrease in assessment, or an assessment established in the prior year.
 The assessed value shall also apply to the following even-numbered year (2022) except for new construction and property improvements. See Section 137.115.