State Tax Commission of Missouri
JERRY & MARY ANN MITCHELL,)
v.) Appeal Number 07-62541
DON DAVIS, ASSESSOR,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Jasper County Board of Equalization reducing the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE.Hearing Officer finds presumption of correct assessment rebutted. True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2007 and 2008 is set at $305,000, residential assessed value of $57,950.
Complainants appeared pro se.
Respondent appeared by Counsel, Dean Dankelson, Prosecuting Attorney.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.
The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2007.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Jasper County Board of Equalization, which reduced the valuation of the subject property.The Assessor determined an appraised value of $340,680, assessed value of $64,730, as residential property.The Board reduced the value to $319,100, assessed value of $60,630.Complainant proposed a value of $305,000, assessed value of $57,950.A hearing was conducted on February 7, 2008, at the Jasper County Courthouse Annex,Carthage,Missouri.
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
Mr. Mitchell testified as to his opinion of value of $305,000.This was based upon the purchase of the property in May 2006 for $305,000.Exhibit A – comparison listing and Exhibit B – Contract for sale dated March, 2006 were received into evidence.
Respondent offered into evidence the appraisal report (Exhibit 1) of Ms. Christine Meadows, appraiser for Respondent.The appraiser testified as to her appraisal of the subject property.Exhibit 1 was received into evidence.Exhibit 1 concluded on a value for the subject property of $319,100 based upon a cost analysis.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Jasper County Board of Equalization.
2.The subject property is located at 3220 Sunset Dr.,Joplin,Missouri.The property is identified by parcel number 19-4.0-17-40-009-015.012.The property was purchased in May 2006 for $305,000.
3.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2007, to January 1, 2008.
4.Complainant’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, 2007, to be $305,000.
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.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.
Presumption 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 of correct assessment is rebutted when the taxpayer presents substantial and persuasive evidence to establish that Board’s valuation is erroneous and what the fair market value should have been placed on the property.Snider, Hermel & Cupples Hesse, supra.Once the Complainants come forward with credible evidence, especially evidence under a recognized methodology for valuing property or an actual sale of the subject property at a time relevant to the valuation date, demonstrating a lower value than that set by the Board, the presumption is gone.It possesses no further weight, unless evidence is put on the record which rebuts Complainants’ evidence of value.If no such evidence is forthcoming, as was the case in the present appeal, then the only evidence on the record upon which a determination of value can be made is that presented by the Complainants.Complainant’s testimony and evidence was substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment.Respondent’s evidence of value under a mass valuation cost system was not sufficient to rebut the evidence of the actual sale of the subject in May 2006 for $305,000.
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.
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, 2007.Hermel, Inc. v. State Tax Commission, 564 S.W.2d 888, at 897.Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.See, Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).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.Brooks v. General Motors Assembly Division, 527 S.W.2d 50, 53 (Mo. App. 1975).See also, 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).
The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value. Boten v. Brecklein, 452 S.W.2d 86, 95 (Sup. 1970).The opinion of value offered by the Mitchells is based upon the actual sale of the property under appeal in May, 2006.Evidence of the actual sales price of property is admissible to establish value at the time of an assessment, provided that such evidence involves a voluntary purchase not too remote in time.The actual sale price is a method that may be considered for estimating true value.The actual sales price, between a willing seller who is not obligated to sell and a willing buyer who is not compelled to buy, establishes an outer limit on the value of real property. St. Joe Minerals Corp. v. STC, 854 S.W.2d 526 (App. E.D. 1993). A price agreed to between a willing buyer and seller creates a presumption that the transaction was a market transaction.Phoenix Redevelopment Corporation v. Walker, 812 S.W.2d, 881, 883-4 (Mo. App. W.D. 1991).There was no evidence to rebut the presumption that the May 2006 sale was an arms-length market transaction.
A sale in May 2006 is at a time relevant for assessment of the property on January 1, 2007.In the absence of evidence to establish an increase in value during the seven months prior to the valuation date, the actual sale sets the outer limit of the fair market value of the subject property.No market data was presented upon which the Hearing Officer could conclude that the value of the property under appeal had increased by percent 4.6% ($319,100 – $305,000 = $14,100 ÷ $305,000 = 0.046) from May, 2006 to January 1, 2007.To ignore the actual sales evidence and conclude value based upon the mass appraisal cost approach would be to determine value based upon speculation.Speculation never serves as a legitimate basis for arriving at fair market value.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization forJasperCountyfor the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2007 and 2008 is set at $57,950.
Respondent 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.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.§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 Jasper 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.If any or all protested taxes have been disbursed pursuant to Section 139.031(8), RSMo, either party may apply to the circuit court having jurisdiction of the cause for disposition of the protested taxes held by the taxing authority.
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 February 26, 2008.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
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W. B. Tichenor
Senior Hearing Officer
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid on this 26thday of February, 2008, to:Jerry Mitchell, 3220 Sunset Drive, Joplin, MO 64804, Complainant; Dean Dankelson, Prosecuting Attorney, 601 Pearl, Room 100, Joplin, MO 64801, Attorney for Respondent; Donald Davis, Assessor, 302 S. Main Street, Carthage, MO 64836; Bonnie Earl, Clerk; Stephen Holt, Collector, Jasper County Courthouse, Carthage, MO 64836.