STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
|Appeal No. 21-30148
Parcel/locator No(s): 47-440-14-06-00-0-00-000
|GAIL MCCANN BEATTY, ASSESSOR,
JACKSON, COUNTY, MISSOURI,
DECISION AND ORDER
Kevin Huckaby (Complainant) appeals the Jackson County Board of Equalization’s (BOE) decision finding Complainant was late to file an appeal regarding the January 1, 2021, true value in money (TVM) of the subject property. Complainant claims the property is overvalued, misgraded, and “other” and proposes a value of $210,000. The BOE’s decision is set aside as the Complainant and Respondent agree to a value of $210,000.
Complainant appeared pro se. Respondent was represented by counsel Jennifer Ware. The evidentiary hearing was conducted on March 23, 2022, via WebEx.
FINDINGS OF FACT
- Subject Property. The subject property is located at 7215 Jefferson St, in Kansas City, Missouri. The parcel/locator number is 47-440-14-06-00-0-00-000.
The subject property consists of a 1,260 square foot single family home. The home is a bungalow style, stone exterior, one and half stories, with a partial finished attic, three bedrooms, and one bathroom. Complainant purchased the subject property in 1998.
- Respondent and BOE. Respondent classified the subject property as residential and determined the TVM on January 1, 2021, was $241,000. The BOE classified the subject property as residential and independently determined the TVM on January 1, 2021, was $241,000.
- Complainant’s Evidence. Complainant testified the TVM of the subject property on January 1, 2021, was $210,000. Complainant testified the overvaluation was due to deferred maintenance issues including water damage, immediate need for roof repairs, and need for paint. Complainant testified he was in agreement with the evidence of valuation presented by Respondent and agreed to $210,000 as the value of the subject property. Complainant submitted the following exhibits:
|A||Parcel Listing for Subject Property||Admitted|
|B||2021 BOE Appeals Map Photograph||Admitted|
|C||Informal Review Request dated May 31, 2021||Admitted|
|D||Video of Informal Appeal||Admitted|
|F||Photograph of Subject Property||Admitted|
|G||Photograph of Subject Property||Admitted|
|H||Photograph of Subject Property||Admitted|
|I||Photograph of Subject Property||Admitted|
|K||BOE Decision Letter||Admitted|
|L||Hearing Power Point Presentation||Admitted|
Complainant testified that the home was misgraded due to the attic space being measured too large and as a result he was overcharged on his taxes for 23 years. Complainant testified the disputed area was a crawl space, not livable area, and the Jackson County property record card reflected the wrong square footage. (See Exhibits A, F, G, H, I, and L) Complainant testified that prior to the hearing, Respondent had updated the square footage regarding the attic and it now reflected the correct figures. Complainant testified the subject property did not have any agricultural use and he chose the term misgraded on the STC’s Complaint for Review form because he felt that term was what described the errors regarding the attic’s square footage. The claim misgraded was intended to refer to agricultural land, but no evidence was presented to establish the subject property was used for agricultural purposes or should have been classified as agricultural.
Complainant testified that his appeal regarding “other” was due to the limited options on the STC’s Complaint for Review form and his concerns were regarding more than overvaluation. Complainant testified he had concerns regarding the BOE process. (See Exhibit L)
Complainant testified he is not an appraiser and did not conduct any appraisal of the subject property nor list the property for sale within the last three years.
- Respondent’s Evidence. Respondent submitted Exhibit 1, which was admitted into evidence. Exhibit 1 is the summary report determining the TVM of the subject property on January 1, 2021, was $210,000.
- Value. The TVM of the subject property on January 1, 2021, was $210,000.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
- Assessment and Valuation
Pursuant to Article X, Sections 4(a) and 4(b), Mo. Const. of 1945 real property and tangible personal property is assessed at its value or such percentage of its value as may be fixed by law for each class and for each subclass. Article X, Sections 4(a) and 4(b), Mo. Const. of 1945. 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. For this reason, the comparable sales approach is typically used to value residential property. “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.
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. The Hearing Officer’s decision regarding the assessment or valuation of the property may be based solely upon his inquiry and any evidence presented by the parties, or based solely upon evidence presented by the parties. Id.
- Complainant’s Burden of Proof
The BOE’s valuation is presumptively correct. Rinehart v. Laclede Gas Co., 607 S.W.3d 220, 227 (Mo. App. W.D. 2020). To prove overvaluation, a taxpayer must rebut the BOE’s presumptively correct valuation and prove the “value that should have been placed on the property.” Snider, 156 S.W.3d at 346. The taxpayer’s evidence must be both “substantial and persuasive.” 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”). A taxpayer does not meet his burden if evidence on any essential element of his case leaves the STC “in the nebulous twilight of speculation, conjecture and surmise.” See, Rossman v. G.G.C. Corp. of Missouri, 596 S.W.2d 469, 471 (Mo. App. 1980).
Complainant and Respondent are in agreement regarding the TVM. Respondent’s Exhibit 1 valuation is $210,000.
Complainant presented no testimony or evidence that the subject property was exempt from taxation due to being misgraded due to agricultural exemption. The misgraded arguments made by Complainant do not concern any agricultural use of the property. Complainant did not present the requisite “clear and unequivocal proof” the exemption applies to the subject property. See Ben Hur Steel Worx, LLC v. Dir. of Revenue, 452 S.W.3d 624, 626 (Mo. banc 2015). The claim misgraded was intended to refer to agricultural land, but no evidence was presented to establish the subject property was used for agricultural purposes or should have been classified as agricultural; thus, the claim is deemed abandoned.
Complainant presented no testimony or evidence of exemption from taxation due to “other” as described on the Complaint for Review form. The assertions within Exhibit A through L, which discuss Respondent’s and the BOE’s respective methodologies, are not substantial and persuasive evidence that the BOE’s valuation of the subject property is exempt from taxation. General assertions about the short-comings of the BOE process do not speak specifically as to the TVM of the subject property or any exemption of the subject property due to charity or agriculture or otherwise.
Respondent, although not required to, presented persuasive evidence in support of their valuation. Exhibit 1 and Complainant’s testimony persuasively support the TVM of $210,000, determined by Respondent and agreed to by both parties.
CONCLUSION AND ORDER
The BOE decision is set aside. The TVM of the subject property as of January 1, 2021, was $210,000.
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 Jackson 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 April 22, 2022.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
Erica M. Gage
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 April 22, 2022, 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.