State Tax Commission of Missouri
JOSEPH HILL, SR,)
v.) Appeal Number 11-72001
JUDY HARMON, ASSESSOR,)
MONROE COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Monroe County Board of Equalization reducing the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE.True value in money for the subject property for tax year 2011 is set at $10,900, residential assessed value of $2,070.True value in money for the subject property for tax year 2012 is set at $13,600, residential assessed value of $2,580.
Complainant appeared pro se.Respondent appeared pro se.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Monroe County Board of Equalization, which reduced 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 Monroe County Board of Equalization.A hearing was conducted on November 17, 2011, at the Monroe County Courthouse, Paris, Missouri.
3.Subject Property.The subject property is located at 117 Second Street, Monroe City, Missouri.The property is identified by map parcel number 1-4.0-18-2-10-2.The property consists of .20 of an acre lot.It is improved by a 1,256 square foot, base area, 1,915 adjusted area, two-story frame house, with vinyl siding.The structure was built in1890 and has three bedrooms and two baths.There is a 10 x 12 utility building, built in 1970 on the property.
4.Complainant’s Evidence.Complainant testified on his own behalf and gave his opinion of value to be $10,400, based upon his purchase of the property in July, 2010.The following exhibits were received into evidence on behalf of Complainant:
Real Estate Listing for Subject Property
Special Warranty Deed
Inspection of Subject Property
Inspection of Neighborhood
Photographs of damaged siding
STC Case Harrington v. Harman – 09-72000
Monroe County Board of Equalization Decision
Questions asked by Assessor at BOE
Complainant’s Summary Statement – 11/16/11
Complainant purchased the property in July, 2010 from CitiFinancial.The property had been foreclosed.It had been marketed for sale both before and after foreclosure.It was listed for $9,900, another prospective purchaser bid on the property and Complainant bid $10,400 and purchased the property at that price.
During 2010 Complainant made some roof repairs to the house in the amount of $650 – $700.It is determined that these repairs added a contributory value to the subject property of $500.
There was evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2011, to January 1, 2012.Complainant had done plumbing and electrical repairs in the amount of $3,000.Therefore the assessed value for 2012 must be adjusted to account for the contributory value that these repair improvements made to the subject property for the 2012 assessment.
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, 2011, to be $10,900, an assessed residential value of $2,070.
The true value in money for the property as of January 1, 2012, is determined to be $13,600, based upon the $3,000 in plumbing and electrical repairs adding a contributory value of $2,700 to the subject’s fair market value.The assessed value for 2012 is $2,580.
See, Complainant’s Evidence Persuasive, infra.
5.Respondent’s Evidence.Respondent testified in her own behalf.The following exhibits were received into evidence on behalf of Respondent:
Assessor’s Summary Statement on Valuation
Complainant’s Typed Statement to Board of Equalization
Notice of Change in Assessed Value for Subject Property
Property Record Card after BOE Decision on Subject
MultiList Data Sheet on Subject
3 – Photographs of Subject
Photographs for two comparable properties
Valuation Data on Sale – 211 E. Summer, Monroe City
Valuation Data on Sale – 208 Catherine, Monroe City
Respondent’s evidence was not persuasive to establish the true value in money for the property under appeal to be $28,700 as proposed at hearing.See, Respondent’s Evidence Not Persuasive, infra.
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.In an overvaluation appeal, true value in money for the property being appealed must be determined based upon the evidence on the record that is probative on the issue of the fair market value of the property under appeal.
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 with some substantial evidence on the taxpayer – Complainant.When some substantial evidence is produced by the Complainant, “however slight,” the presumption disappears and the Hearing Officer, as trier of facts, receives the issue free of the presumption.The presumption of correct assessment is rebutted when the taxpayer or the Respondent, when advocating a value different from the Board value, 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.Upon presentation of the Complainant’s evidence the presumption in this appeal disappeared as to Complainant’s case.Respondent’s evidence did not constitute substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption and establish the value of $28,700 advocated at the evidentiary hearing.
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.
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. 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.
Complainant’s Evidence Persuasive
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.”An assessment is unlawful, unfair and improper if the evidence establishes the fair market value to be different than that established by the Board or the Assessor and the Board in those instances where the Board affirms the Assessor’s value.
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.
Persuasiveness of Complainant’s Exhibits
The exhibits received on behalf of Complainant had various levels of persuasiveness relative to a conclusion of value for the property under appeal.The Hearing Officer will briefly review the exhibits.
Exhibit A – Real Estate Agent Listing for Subject.This exhibit was given some weight because it verifies Complainant’s testimony relative to the property being listed with a realtor for sale and that the property had been offered at a higher price, but would not command that price.
Exhibit B – Counter Offer/Addendum & Settlement Statement.This exhibit was given some weight as it also verifies Complainant’s purchase.
Exhibit C – Special Warranty Deed.This exhibit provides no relevant information that addresses the issue of fair market value, as it only established the transfer of the subject property.There was no dispute that Complainant had purchase the property in July, 2010.
Exhibit D – Condition/Maintenance Problems of the Subject.This exhibit was given considerable weight to establish that at the time of Complainant’s purchase the house was in need of significant repairs.In order for Complainant to be able to either rent the property or to resell, it will require a further financial outlay to bring the condition to a rentable status or to a position for sale to an occupant.The exhibit details factors which Mr. Hill as purchaser took into account in arriving at an amount to offer for the property.
Exhibit E – Exterior Photographs of the Subject.This exhibit was given weight as it showed exterior damage to siding and gutters, and lack of porch ceiling.
Exhibit F – Locator Map/Photographs of Neighboring Properties.This exhibit was not given any weight to establish value.The existence of nearby run-down and boarded up properties is certainly a factor that impacts on the value of Complainant’s property.However, the photographs provide no basis upon which the Hearing Officer can conclude the extent to which this external factor has impacted value.It is sufficient that Mr. Hill apparently took the existence of these properties into account in arriving at an amount to offer for the property.
Exhibit G – STC Decision.No weight was given to the STC Decision in Harrington v. Harmon, Appeal No. 09-72000.The case presented no relevant information to establish the true value in money of the subject as of January 1, 2011.
Exhibit H – BOE Decision Letter, dated 7/27/11.The BOE Decision has no probative value on the issue of true value in money.It is required to be filed with the Complaint for Review of Assessment, as it was in this appeal, to establish that a taxpayer has exhausted that part of their administrative remedy.
Exhibit I – Questions Asked by Assessor at BOE.The exhibit has no probative value as to what a willing buyer and seller would have agreed to as the purchase price on January 1, 2011, for the property under appeal.The Hearing Officer does not review the actions of the BOE or what evidence was presented before the Board.In a hearing before the Commission a taxpayer does not need to demonstrate what did or did not take place at the BOE meeting.It is irrelevant to a determination of true value in money, since the Commission takes the appeal de novo.
Exhibit J – Complainant’s Statement.This document has probative value to the extent that it expresses the taxpayer’s position relative to the case.It has particular relevance as it established the background and foundation as to Mr. Hill’s past experience in the purchase and sale of such properties.It was further relevant as it established that the price offered by Mr. Hill was based on the condition of the house and the condition of the neighborhood.
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.Mr. Hill’s opinion of value is based upon the purchase price of the property in July, 2010.The property had been listed on the open market both before and after foreclosure.It had been listed at $14,999 and was reduced to $9,900.It was offered to the public for purchase through a real estate agency.
The purchase price in a market transaction constitutes a proper element and a proper foundation to establish an owner’s opinion of value.A price agreed to between a willing buyer and seller creates a presumption that the transaction was a market transaction.Notwithstanding, that Complainant’s purchase was of a property after it had been foreclosed, there is no evidence which rebuts the presumption of the July, 2010 transaction being a market transaction.Accordingly, the purchase price from the July, 2010 transaction established the basis for the value of the property.
The repair improvements made in 2010 after purchase added to the value of the property as of January 1, 2011.Likewise the repair improvements made during 2011 increased the subject’s value for the 2012 assessment.The basis for both of these adjustments to the sale price was addressed in Finding of Fact 4, supra.
Complainant met his burden of proof to both rebut the presumption of correct assessment and to establish the true value in money for the property as of January 1, 2011, and for January 1, 2012, based upon repair improvements during 2011.The value must be set accordingly as detailed in Finding of Fact 4, supra.
Respondent’s Evidence Not Persuasive
Respondent, when advocating a value different from that determined by the original valuation or a valuation made by the Board of Equalization, must meet the same burden of proof to present substantial and persuasive evidence of the value advocated as required of the Complainant under the principles established by case law.Respondent elected to present evidence to attempt to establish the value that had originally been placed on the property before the Board action.This, of course, is the prerogative of an assessor in an appeal before the commission.The assessor may also simply elect to stand on the Board presumption and present no evidence or evidence in support of that value.Since the Respondent was advocating an increase in the value of the property back to $28,700, the Hearing Officer feels it is appropriate to review the exhibits presented and provide the basis for the conclusion that the evidence would not support an increase in value to $28,700, not did the evidence rebut Complainant’s evidence to allow the Board presumption to stand.
Exhibit 1 – A: Assessor’s Summary.The summary addresses various matters that came up during the BOE meeting.One of the issues related to the amount that Mr. Hill had the property insured for.This issue was also the subject of testimony by both Mr. Hill and Ms. Harmon at the evidentiary hearing.The amount of insurance on a house does not establish its true value in money.Furthermore, the testimony on this point was found in hearsay on the part of both witnesses.The Hearing Officer found nothing of probative value on this point.
Respondent also presented information in this exhibit relative the appraised value which had been placed on two other properties which she deemed to be “comparison properties.”The problem with presenting of the assessor’s appraised value of properties which may indeed be comparable to the subject is that the properties have not sold, and accordingly there is no sale price to work from in attempting to establish value for the property under appeal.Furthermore, while the properties on such basic factors as age, and living area appear to be comparable to the subject, there is nothing provided as to the interior condition of these properties.As Respondent noted in this exhibit and during her testimony, interior inspections of properties are not part of the general review for reassessment.In general, there is no probative value for an assessor to present assessment information on similar or comparable properties that have not been the subject of a recent sale.
Exhibit 1-B: Complainant’s Typed Statement to the BOE.This document provided no relevant evidence to either rebut Complainant’s opinion of value, or to establish the true value in money for the subject to be $28,700 or $24,700.No probative value was given to this exhibit.
Exhibit 1-C: Notice of Change in Assessed Value.Unless there is a dispute as to the increase in value from one assessment cycle to the next, there is no probative value to the introduction of the change notice.
Exhibit 1-D:Subject’s Post-BOE Property Record Card.This exhibit only established the change in value that was made by the BOE.It had no probative value to establish a value of $28,700.The introduction of a property record card will not ordinarily rebut substantial and persuasive evidence that establishes fair market value prima facie.Such is the case in this instance.The document only verifies that the Board, as stated in its Decision Letter, set the depreciation factor at 25% good for the mass appraisal replacement cost new less depreciation value.No probative weight could be given to this exhibit in light of Complainant’s evidence.
Exhibit 1-E: MultiList Information of Subject.This exhibit had probative weight to verify, as Mr. Hill testified, that the property was listed for $9,900 and sold for $10,400.To the extent that Respondent wished to use the exhibit to establish the property being on the market for 32 days, the exhibit does that.However, Exhibit A established a different listing that had the listing price at $14,999.Complainant’s exhibit list and his testimony established that prior to foreclosure the property had been on the market for over a year, listed at the $14,999.
Exhibit 1-F:Photographs of Subject.This exhibit had probative weight to the extent is showed the exterior of the subject in 2011.
Exhibit 1-G:Photographs of the Comparison Properties.As addressed above relative to Exhibit 1-A, these homes while appearing from an exterior view to be similar to the subject, cannot be used to establish true value in money since there was no sale of either property at a time relevant to value date of January 1, 2011.Accordingly, no probative weight was given to this exhibit.
Exhibit 2:Sale of Comparable Property – 211 E. Summer.
Exhibit 3:Sale of Comparable Property – 208 Catherine.
Each of these exhibits contains a cover sheet, the purchaser’s sales letter for the property, a photograph and the property record card for the respective properties.Exhibit 2 establishes that the property sold in May, 2010 for $24,500.Exhibit 3 establishes that the property sold in July, 2009 for $31,500.
Assuming, without finding, that these properties would in fact have been deemed to be comparable to the subject for purposes of conducting an appraisal, the unadjusted sales prices of these two properties establishes a range of value from $24,500 to $31,500.Therefore, the unadjusted values would appear to provide support for the Board value, and also the Assessor’s original value. However, these are the unadjusted sales prices.
The critical factor of the subject’s condition cannot be compared to these two sales given the evidence in the record.There is no information as to the overall condition of either of these sales.Accordingly, it is impossible for the Hearing Officer to conclude an indicated value for the subject based upon the raw data on these two sales.Presenting information as to the sale price of a property and that contained in a property record card does not constitute an appraisal by the sales comparison approach.Therefore, no probative weight is given to either sale as establishing the true value in money for the subject as of January 1, 2011, or as rebutting Complainant’s evidence on the value of the subject property.
Respondent failed to meet her burden of proof to both rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and to establish the true value in money for the property as of
January 1, 2011, to be $28,700 as asserted at hearing.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization for Monroe County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax year 2011 is set at $2,070.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax year 2012 is set at $2,580.
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, 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 Monroe 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 29, 2011.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
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 19thday of December, 2011, to:Joseph Hill, 139 Sir Moss Lane, Fenton, MO 63026, Complainant; Talley Kendrick, Prosecuting Attorney, 300 N. Main, Third Floor, Paris, MO 65275, Attorney for Respondent; Judy Harmon, Assessor, 300 N. Main, Room 107, Paris, MO 65275; Sandra Francis, Clerk, 300 N. Main, Paris, MO 65275; Anita Dunkle, Collector, 300 N. Main, Room 101, Paris, MO 65275.
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.
 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).