State Tax Commission of Missouri
ED BUSHMEYER, ASSESSOR,)
CITY OF ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the City of St. Louis Board of Equalization reducing the assessment made by the Assessor is AFFIRMED.True value in money for 2011 is set at $225,000, assessed value of $42,750.Complainant appeared in person.Respondent appeared by Assistant City Counselor Rich Kismer.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, 2011.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the City of St. Louis Board of Equalization, which reduced the valuation of the subject property.The Assessor determined an appraised value of $231,500, assessed value of $43,990, as residential property. The Board determined an appraised value of $225,000, an assessed value of $42,750. A hearing was conducted on June 6, 2012, at the City of St. Louis, City Hall, St. Louis, 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 City of St. Louis Board of Equalization.
2.Complainant’s Evidence.Complainant testified on his own behalf and presented evidence.Exhibit A is a settlement statement from the purchase of the subject property.The settlement date is May 25, 2010.The contract sale price is reported at $239,000.There is no value for personal property.The Complainant testified that he purchased the property with furnishings and a parking space.Exhibit B is the MLS listing of the property that indicates the property will be sold with furnishings and a parking space.Exhibit C are photographs of the subject property and the furnishings that were purchased with the property.
Complainant testified that he purchased the property in May of 2010 for $239,000.The property was MLS listed and was a short sale.He has made no improvements to the property.
3.Respondent’s Evidence.Exhibit 1 was received into evidence.Exhibit 1 is an appraisal of the subject property by Appraiser Chris Roth.The appraiser presented a sales comparison approach using 4 sales occurring within 2 blocks of the subject property, with sales dates of June 2010 to April 2011.The adjusted sales prices ranged from $215,000 to $235, 700.The appraiser concluded on a value of $225,000.
Only one of the comparable sales was located in the same building as the subject.According to the appraiser, the units that sold were much smaller than the subject property and therefore not comparable.The comparables used by the appraiser were within 500 square feet.Comparable 4 is located in the same building.The property was a short sale.It includes 2 parking spaces and sold in April 2011 for $225,000.
4.Subject Property.The subject property is located at 901 Washington, Unit 309, St. Louis, Missouri.The property is identified by map parcel number 0173-00-00510.The property consists of a 2,013 square foot loft space and includes one parking space.The property sold in January 2007 for $319,889.The Complainant purchased it in June 2010 for $239,000.The initial asking price for the property was $314,900.
5.Complainant Failed To Prove Value.Complainant failed to present substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the true value in money as of January 1, 2011.
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.
Presumption In Appeals
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the Board of Equalization. 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.When as in this case, Complainant fails to present any relevant evidence to establish the fair market (true value in money) value of the property being appealed, the Board presumption stands.
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.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’s opinion of value was not derived from any recognized methodology for the appraisal of real estate.
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.”
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.
Owner’s Opinion of Value
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.In the present appeal, Complainant did not present evidence of the market value of the property.Exhibits for the Complainant included his settlement statement and photographs.The evidence establishes what the Complainant paid for the property and furnishings but does not establish the market value of the property on January 1, 2011. The Complainant testified to the purchase price and testified that the price included the price of furnishings.The Complainant did not offer evidence as to the market value of the parcel or the market value of the personal property included in the sale.The Respondent provided comparable sales ranging from $209,000 to $265,000 and adjusted sale prices of $215,000 to $235,700.
Complainant failed to meet his burden of proof.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization for City of St. Louis for the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax year 2011 is set at $42,750.
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 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 St. Louis City, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall continue to hold the disputed taxes pending a 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 June 13, 2012.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid on this 13thday of June, 2012, to:Jeffrey Marquie, 4670 Lansdowne, St. Louis, MO 63116, Complainant; Rich Kismer, Associate City Counselor, 314 City Hall, St. Louis, MO 63103, Attorney for Respondent; Ed Bushmeyer, Assessor, 120 City Hall, St. Louis, MO 63103; Gregory Daly, Collector, 110 City Hall, St. Louis, MO 63103.
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).
 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).
 Cohen v. Bushmeyer, 251 S.W.3d 345, (Mo. App. E.D., March 25, 2008); Carmel Energy, Inc. v. Fritter, 827 S.W.2d 780, 783 (Mo. App. W.D. 1992); State, ex rel. Missouri Hwy & Transp. Com’n v. Pracht, 801 S.W.2d 90, 94 (Mo. App. E.D. 1990); Shelby County R-4 School District v. Hermann, 392 S.W.2d 609, 613 (Sup. 1965).