STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
|Complainant,||)||Appeal No. 19-11665|
|)||Parcel No. 25J321895|
|JAKE ZIMMERMAN, ASSESSOR,||)|
|ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI||)|
DECISION AND ORDER
Katherine Purk (Complainant) appeals the St. Louis County Board of Equalization’s (BOE) decision finding the true value in money (TVM) of the subject property on January 1, 2019, was $151,800, with an assessed value of $28,840. Complainant claims the property is overvalued and proposes a value of $81,000. Complainant did not produce substantial and persuasive evidence establishing overvaluation. The BOE’s decision is affirmed.
The parties agreed to waive an oral evidentiary hearing and to submit the appeal on the record. Complainant appeared pro se. Respondent was represented by counsel Steven Robson.
FINDINGS OF FACT
- Subject Property. The subject property is located at 9024 Kathleen in St. Louis, Missouri. The parcel/locator number is 25J321895.
The subject property consists of a 5,001 square foot lot and a 1,725 square foot single family home that has four bedrooms and two full baths. (Ex. 1 at 2)
- Respondent and BOE. Respondent classified the subject property as residential and determined the TVM on January 1, 2019, was $170,500. The BOE classified the subject property as residential and independently determined the TVM on January 1, 2019, was $151,800.
- Complainant’s Evidence. Complainant asserts the TVM of the subject property on January 1, 2019, was $81,000. Complainant submitted the following exhibits, which were admitted:
|A||Six photographs with notes indicating “roof condition,” “plumbing not high enough through roof,” “chimney cracked,” and “bad flashing at chimney causing it to leak in dining room.”|
|B||Four photographs with notes indicating “asbestos on duct work” and “improper electrical terminations.”|
|C||Four photographs with notes indicating “water leak,” “poor condition of garage door,” and “old wood garage door.”|
|D||Two photographs with notes indicating “cracked pipe behind kitchen wall” and “old carpet in bedroom.”|
|E||Two photographs with notes indicating “water leak” and “rotted piers holding back sunroom.”|
|F||Two photographs with notes indicating “25+ year old furnace” and “old windows.”|
|G||Two photographs with notes indicating “leaking plumbing pipes” and “asbestos siding on garage and sun porch.”|
|H||Two photographs with notes indicating “dishwasher” and “kitchen cabinets that tenant took doors.”|
|I||Two photographs with notes indicating “hardwood floors” and “kitchen cabinets.”|
|J||Two photographs with notes indicating “mold in basement” and “bathtub needs to be re-glazed.”|
|K||Allied Heating and A.C., LLC July 31, 2019, estimate to install furnace and air conditioner for $6,200.|
|L||Roofer.com July 15, 2019, estimate to install roof.|
|M||Christopher Rey Flooring LLC estimate to sand and refinish floor for $1,716.|
|N||Custom.homedepot.com estimate to install kitchen cabinets and countertops for $15,404 to $19,412.|
|O||The Home Depot special order quote to replace windows for $5,275.16|
|P||Home inspection .report summary.|
|Q||STC stipulation for tax years 2017and 2018, appeal number 17-10803, for the subject property.|
|R||Zillow printout indicating subject property listed for sale on May 19, 2018 for $169,900, price changed on July 10, 2018, to $164,900, and listing removed on July 25, 2018.|
|S||Closing statement with Complainant’s arguments as to the value of the subject property signed by Complainant.|
- Respondent’s Evidence. Respondent submitted Exhibit 1, an April 14, 2021, Restricted Use Residential Appraisal Report; Exhibit 2, the BOE’s October 4, 2019, Findings and Notice of Decision; and the Written Direct Testimony (WDT) of Barry A. Hough, an appraisal supervisor with Respondent and a Missouri state certified real estate appraiser. In Exhibit 1, Mr. Hough indicates a $165,000 opinion of value as of January 1, 2019, utilizing the sales comparison approach to estimate the market value of the subject property from the recent sales of five comparable properties. Exhibit 1 indicates that differences have been adjusted for when determining an opinion of value.
- Value. The TVM of the subject property on January 1, 2019, was $151,800, with an assessed value of $28,840.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
- Assessment and Valuation. Residential real property is assessed at 19% of its TVM as of January 1 of each odd-numbered year. Section 137.115.5(1)(a). “True value in money is the fair market value of the property on the valuation date, and is a function of its highest and best use, which is the use of the property which will produce the greatest return in the reasonably near future.” Snider v. Casino Aztar/Aztar Mo. Gaming Corp., 156 S.W.3d 341, 346 (Mo. banc 2005) (internal quotation omitted). The fair market value is “the price which the property would bring from a willing buyer when offered for sale by a willing seller.” Mo. Baptist Children’s Home v. State Tax Comm’n, 867 S.W.2d 510, 512 (Mo. banc 1993). Determining the TVM is a factual issue for the STC. Cohen v. Bushmeyer, 251 S.W.3d 345, 348 (Mo. App. E.D. 2008). The “proper methods of valuation and assessment of property are delegated to the Commission.” Savage v. State Tax Comm’n, 722 S.W.2d 72, 75 (Mo. banc 1986).
“For purposes of levying property taxes, the value of real property is typically determined using one or more of three generally accepted approaches.” Snider, 156 S.W.3d at 346. The three generally accepted approaches are the cost approach, the income approach, and the comparable sales approach. Id. at 346-48; see also St. Louis Cty. v. Sec. Bonhomme, Inc., 558 S.W.2d 655, 659 (Mo. banc 1977). The comparable sales approach “is most appropriate when there is an active market for the type of property at issue such that sufficient data are available to make a comparative analysis.” Snider, 156 S.W.3d at 348. “The comparable sales approach uses prices paid for similar properties in arms-length transactions and adjusts those prices to account for differences between the properties.” Id. at 347-48 (internal quotation omitted). “Comparable sales consist of evidence of sales reasonably related in time and distance and involve land comparable in character.” Id. at 348.
- Evidence. The hearing officer is the finder of fact and determines the credibility and weight of the evidence. Kelly v. Mo. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., Family Support Div., 456 S.W.3d 107, 111 (Mo. App. W.D. 2015). The finder of fact in an administrative hearing determines the credibility and weight of expert testimony. Hornbeck v. Spectra Painting, Inc., 370 S.W.3d 624, 632 (Mo. banc 2012). “It is within the purview of the hearing officer to determine the method of valuation to be adopted in a given case.” Tibbs v. Poplar Bluff Assocs. I, L.P., 599 S.W.3d 1, 9 (Mo. App. S.D. 2020). The hearing officer “may inquire of the owner of the property or of any other party to the appeal regarding any matter or issue relevant to the valuation, subclassification or assessment of the property.” Section 138.430.2.
- Complainant’s Burden of Proof. The taxpayer bears the burden of proof and must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the property was overvalued or misclassified. Westwood P’ship v. Gogarty, 103 S.W.3d 152, 161 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003). The BOE’s valuation is presumptively correct. Tibbs v. Poplar Bluff Assocs. I, L.P., 599 S.W.3d 1, 7 (Mo. App. S.D. 2020). The “taxpayer may rebut this presumption by presenting substantial and persuasive evidence that the valuation is erroneous” and must prove “the value that should have been placed on the property.” Id. “Substantial evidence is that evidence which, if true, has probative force upon the issues, and from which the trier of fact can reasonably decide the case on the fact issues.” Savage, 722 S.W.2d at 77 (internal quotation omitted). Evidence is persuasive when it has “sufficient weight and probative value to convince the trier of fact.” Daly v. P.D. George Co., 77 S.W.3d 645, 651 (Mo. App. E.D. 2002); see also White v. Dir. of Revenue, 321 S.W.3d 298, 305 (Mo. banc 2010) (noting the burden of persuasion is the “party’s duty to convince the fact-finder to view the facts in a way that favors that party”).
- Complainant Did Not Prove Overvaluation. Complainant did not produce substantial and persuasive evidence establishing that the BOE’s valuation was erroneous and that her opinion of value, $81,000, was the TVM of the subject property as of January 1, 2019. Although the parties reached a stipulation in Complainant’s appeal of her 2017 assessment, the issue for the 2019 appeal is the TVM of the subject property as of January 1, 2019, rather than 2017. Therefore, Exhibit Q does not rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the BOE. Additionally, Exhibit R indicates that the subject property was initially listed on May 19, 2018, for $169,900, and the listing was removed on July 25, 2018, after the price was lowered to $164,900 on July 10, 2018. However, the fact that the subject property failed to sell for either $169,900 or $164,900 is not substantial and persuasive evidence rebutting the correctness of the BOE’s valuation of the BOE’s valuation of $151,800. Although Exhibits A through P show condition issues with the subject property and repair estimates, these exhibits do not directly address the TVM of the subject property as of January 1, 2019.
Respondent, although not required to, presented persuasive evidence in support of the BOE’s value of $151,800. In Exhibit 1, Mr. Hough indicates that he researched comparable sales, found five comparable sales in the immediate area, made adjustments to the comparable properties, and reached a $165,000 opinion of value, which supports the $151,800 BOE value. Additionally, the subject property sold for $166,000 on July 30, 2020, (WDT Hough No. 22), which also supports the BOE value.
CONCLUSION AND ORDER
The BOE decision is affirmed. The TVM of the subject property as of January 1, 2019, was $151,800, with an assessed value of $28,840.
Application for Review
A party may file with the Commission 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, 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. Louis 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.
SO ORDERED December 3, 2021.
Laura A. Storck-Elam
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 December 3, 2021, to: Complainant(s) and/or Counsel for Complainant(s), the County Assessor and/or Counsel for Respondent and County Collector.
 Complainant timely filed a complaint for review of assessment. The State Tax Commission (STC) has authority to hear and decide Complainant’s appeal. Mo. Const. art. X, Section 14; section 138.430.1, RSMo 2000. All statutory citations are to RSMo 2000, as amended.
 Missouri operates on a two-year reassessment cycle for valuing real property. See Section 137.115.1. Absent new construction or improvements to a parcel of real property, the assessed value as of January 1 of the odd year remains the assessed value as of January 1 of the following even year. Id.