State Tax Commission of Missouri
v.) Appeal No.09-52003
CHRISTOPHER ESTES, ASSESSOR,)
COLE COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Cole County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is AFFIRMED.True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $84,800, residential assessed value of $16,110.Complainant appeared pro se. Respondent appeared by County Counselor, Jill LaHue.
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, 2009.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Cole County Board of Equalization, which sustained the valuation of the subject property.The Assessor determined an appraised value of $84,800, assessed value of $16,110, as residential property.Complainant proposed a value of $78,500, assessed value of $14,920.A hearing was conducted on December 10, 2009, at the Cole County Courthouse annex, Jefferson City, 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 Cole County Board of Equalization.
2.Subject Property.The subject property is located at 328 Gateway Drive, Jefferson City, Missouri.The property is identified by map parcel number 10-3-7-1-2-8.The property consists of .30 of an acre lot improved by a one-story frame ranch, single-family structure of average quality construction.The house was built in 1978 and appears to be in fair condition.The residence has a total of five rooms, which includes three bedrooms, two full baths, and contains 1,220 square feet of living area.There is a full unfinished basement and a one-car basement garage.
3.Complainant’s Evidence.Complainant testified in his own behalf.He stated his opinion of value was $78,500 based upon a letter from a local real estate agent.No other evidence was presented to establish the fair market value of the subject property on January 1, 2009, would have been $78,500.
4.Respondent’s Evidence.Respondent presented the testimony of Jen Walker, Residential Appraiser for the Cole County Assessor.The Appraisal Report of Ms. Walker was received into evidence as Exhibit 1.Ms. Walker developed an opinion of value of $84,800 based on the cost approach and an opinion of value of $94,800 based upon the sales comparison approach.Exhibit 2 – photographs showing the items of deferred maintenance on the interior of the subject property was received into evidence.
5.No Evidence of New Construction and Improvement.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2009, to the date of hearing.Complainant testified there were no plans for any new construction and improvements to be made prior to January 1, 2010.Therefore, the value to be set for 2009 must remain as the true value in money for 2010.
6.Complainant’s Evidence Not Substantial and Persuasive.Complainant’s evidence was not substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the true value in money as of January 1, 2009, to be $78,500, as proposed.
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.
Presumptions In Appeals
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the CountyBoardof 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.Complainant’s testimony did not qualify as substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board.
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. Complainant failed to present an opinion of value based upon an accepted methodology for the appraisal of property in an appeal before the Commission.
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, 2009.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.
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.The opinion of value tendered by Mr. Grace was based upon a letter of a local real estate agent giving an opinion of what she would recommend the property could be listed for.
Mr. Grace had presented this letter at his hearing before the Board of Equalization.He did not present it to the Hearing Officer as an exhibit, as so ordered by Order dated November 5, 2009.The opinion of value offered by Complainant was based solely on the hearsay statement (letter) of the real estate agent.Mr. Grace’s objection that the Respondent did not present the letter is without merit.Respondent was not required to present the document as an exhibit at the evidentiary hearing.Absent the real estate agent being present to lay a foundation for the admission of the document and being subject to cross-examination relative to the opinion expressed in the letter and the data upon which the opinion was based, it could not have been received into evidence.
A letter of real estate agent giving an opinion as to the value of property or what a property should be listed for if it were to be offered for sale does not constitute an appraisal of the property for an evidentiary hearing before the Commission.The Hearing Officer gives no weight to the owner’s opinion as it is not based upon proper elements or a proper foundation for an appraisal of real property in an appeal before the Commission.Complainant failed to meet his burden of proof.Accordingly, the valuation sustained by the Board must be affirmed.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization for Cole County for the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $16,110.
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 for this Decision.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 Cole 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.If no Application for Review is filed within thirty days of the mailing date set forth in the Certificate of Service for this Decision, the collectors shall disburse the taxes to the appropriate taxing jurisdictions in accordance with this Decision.
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 23, 2009.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
W. B. (Bart) Tichenor
Senior Hearing Officer
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid on this 23rdday of December, 2009, to:Kenneth Grace, 328 Gateway Drive, Jefferson City, MO 65109, Complainant; Jill LaHue, County Counselor, 311 E. High Street, Jefferson City, MO 65101, Attorney for Respondent; Christopher Estes, Assessor, 210 Adams Street, Jefferson City, MO 65101; Marvin Register, Clerk, Cole County Courthouse Annex, Room 201, Jefferson City, MO 65101; Larry Vincent, Collector, Cole County Courthouse Annex, Jefferson City, MO 65101.
 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 SW3d 645, 649 (Mo.App E.D. 2002), citing, Equitable Life Assurance Society v. STC, 852 SW2d 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).