Joseph & Cherie Stika v. Bishop (Lincoln)

March 6th, 2013

State Tax Commission of Missouri




Complainants, )


v. ) Appeal No. 12-66001





Respondent. )







Decision of the Lincoln County Assessor setting the assessment for Complainant’s 2009 Ford Escape XLT motor vehicle is MODIFIED.

Complainants failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence to establish true value in money for the subject automobile as of 1/1/12.

Respondent concurred that subject automobile should be valued as a four cylinder with a $500 reduction in the original appraised value.

True Value in Money as of 1/1/12 for Complainants’ 2009 Ford Escape XLT set at $15,500, assessed value as personal property of $5,167.

Complainants appealed pro se. Respondent represented pro se.

Case submitted on documents and decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.


Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation, the valuation by the Assessor of their motor vehicle. The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2012. The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.


1. Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper. Complainants timely appealed to the State Tax Commission.

2. Submission on Documents. By Order, dated 12/6/12, parties were to file and exchange their exhibits to be used for their case in chief. Parties were to inform the Hearing Officer on or before January 7, 2013, if they desired to have an evidentiary hearing or would waive hearing and have the case decided upon the exhibits submitted by each party. Complainants by their letter received 12/18/12 waived their right to an evidentiary hearing and consented to having the appeal decided based on exhibits submitted. Respondent by his letter received 12/12/12 did not request an evidentiary hearing. Accordingly, the case was submitted for decision upon the documents filed.

3. Subject Property. The subject property is a 2009 Ford Escape XLT, 4 cylinder, identified by VIN – 1FMCU03789KD01008.[1] The property is one of two automobiles identified in Assessor’s Account 011000021536. The other automobile is a 2001 Oldsmobile Alero GL which was assessed at $850 and is not under appeal.[2]

4. Assessment. The Assessor valued the 2009 Ford Escape at $16,000, as a 6 cylinder vehicle, an assessed value of $5,330.[3]

5. Complainant’s Evidence. The following exhibits are received into evidence on behalf of Complainants:




Complainants’ 2012 Assessment List


Complainants’ 2012 Personal Property Tax Statement


Certificate of Title on subject property


Window Sticker on subject property when purchased


NADA Website Valuation of 2009 Ford Escape XLT 2WD (V6)


Statement of Basis for Value (Complainants’ Letter dated 12/13/12)


Complainants’ opinion of value was $12,875.[4]

6. Respondent’s Evidence. The following exhibits are received into evidence on behalf of Respondent:




Complainants’ 2012 Assessment List


October 2011 NADA Website value – 2009 Ford Escape XLT 2WD (V6)


Copy of 2011 NADA report with VIN verification showing 4 cyl deduction


Vanguard Appraisal Summary for Complainants’ Personal Property Account


Vanguard Appraisal Value Table for all 2009 Ford Escape models


Statement of Basis for Value (Respondent’s Letter, dated 12/10/12)


Respondent’s opinion of value was $15,500, which made a deduction of $500 for the subject being a 4 cylinder automobile.[5]

7. Concluded Value. The true value in money of the subject motor vehicle as of 1/1/12 was $15,500, assessed value of $5,167.



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.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8]

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, 2012.[9] 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.”[10] 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.[11] 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.[12]

The evidence presented on behalf of Complainants did not provide a value of the motor vehicle under appeal as of January 1, 2012. The document presented was a valuation as of December 2012, therefore it was not substantial and persuasive.

Recommended Guide for Automobile Valuation

The assessor shall use the trade-in value published in the October issue of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association Official Used Car Guide, or its successor publication, as the recommended guide of information for determining the true value of motor vehicles described in such publication. In the absence of a listing for a particular motor vehicle in such publication, the assessor shall use such information or publications which in the assessor’s judgment will fairly estimate the true value in money of the motor vehicle.[13] Emphasis added. The Assessor used the recommended guide to set value at $16,000. Upon appeal the Assessor presented a copy of the recommended guide showing an allowance of $500 for the subject being a 4 cylinder vehicle, therefore having a value of $15,500.


The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by Assessor for Lincoln County for the subject tax day is MODIFIED.

The assessed value for the Complainants’ 2009 Ford Escape motor vehicle for tax year 2012 is set at $5,167. The total assessed value for Assessor’s Account 011000021536 is $6,017 ($5,167 – Property Appealed; $850 – Property Not Appealed)

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.

Failure to state specific facts or law upon which the application for review is based will result in summary denial. [14]

Disputed Taxes

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 March 6, 2013.



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 6th day of March, 2013, to: Joseph Stika, 416 Paddington Ct., 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, MO 63379; Jerry Fox, Collector, 201 Main Street, Troy, MO 63379.


Barbara Heller

Legal Coordinator

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


573-751-1341 Fax

[1] Exhibits C, D & F; Exhibits 3 & 6


[2] Exhibits A & B; Exhibit 1


[3] Exhibits 4 & 5; personal property is assessed at one-third of its true value in money. Section 137.115, RSMo.


[4] Exhibits E & F


[5] Exhibit 3 & 6


[6] Article X, Section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, 138.431.4, RSMo.


[7] Article X, Sections 4(a) and 4(b), Mo. Const. of 1945


[8] Section 137.115 RSMo


[9] Hermel, supra.


[10] 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).


[11] See, Cupples-Hesse, supra.

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.


[12] Brooks v. General Motors Assembly Division, 527 S.W.2d 50, 53 (Mo. App. 1975).


[13] Section 137.115.9, RSMo.


[14] Section 138.432, RSMo.