State Tax Commission of Missouri
LARRY & TAMMA LANE,)
v.) Appeal No.11-45011
SCOT VANMETER, ASSESSOR,)
BUCHANAN COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Assessor’s assessed value of $7,380 for personal property affirmed.Complainants appeared pro se.Respondent appeared by Counsel George Murray.
Case decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.
Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation, the assessment placed on their personal property – various motor vehicles.The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject personal 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.
2.Submission on Exhibits and Written Direct Testimony. By Order dated 1/18/12, the appeal was submitted on exhibits and written direct testimony, in lieu of an evidentiary hearing.Parties were given until and including March 1, 2012, to file exhibits and written direct testimony, and to state any objections to having the appeal submitted on documents in lieu of an evidentiary hearing.Neither party filed objection to the submission on exhibits and written direct testimony.Respondent filed Exhibits 1 through 9.Complainants filed no exhibits or written direct testimony.
4.Assessment.The Assessor assessed the 2009 Suzuki Grant Vitara X Sport 4 WD at $5,010, true value in money of $15,030, and assessed the 2002 American Motors Jeep at $1,970, true value in money of $5,910.
5.Complainant Failed to Prove Value.Complainant presented no evidence to establish the fair market value of the property under appeal.
6.Fair Market Value.The assessed values as of January 1, 2011, as determined by the Assessor are affirmed.
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.
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.
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, 2011.There is no presumption that the taxpayer’s opinion is correct. The taxpayer in a Commission appeal 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.
Owner’s Opinion of Value
The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value.The owner failed to comply with the Commission Order and tender exhibits and written direct testimony.The Complaint for Review of Assessment only gave the Taxpayer’s Proposed Market Value to be $12,225 for the Suzuki and $3,850 for the Jeep.“Where the basis for a test as to the reliability of the testimony is not supported by a statement of facts on which it is based, or the basis of fact does not appear to be sufficient, the testimony should be rejected.”In this instance the owner’s opinion of fair market value must be rejected as it is not supported by an substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the value of either motor vehicle.
A taxpayer does not meet his burden if evidence on any essential element of his case leaves the Commission “in the nebulous twilight of speculation, conjecture and surmise.”Absent evidence to support an owner’s opinion of value, the Hearing Officer is left with nothing but the owner’s speculation, conjecture and surmise.Accordingly, the value established by the Assessor is affirmed.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor for Buchanan County for the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.
The assessed value for Complainant’s personal property for tax year 2011 is set at $7,380.
Application for Review
Complainants 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 Buchanan 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 May 4, 2012.
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 4thday of May, 2012, to:Larry Lane, 220 Hamburg Ave., St. Joseph, MO 64505, Complainant; George Murray, 507 Francis Street, Suite 222, St. Joseph, MO 64501, Attorney for Respondent; Scot VanMeter, Assessor, Buchanan County Courthouse, 411 Jules, Room 102, St. Joseph, MO 64501; Mary Garvey, Clerk; Buchanan County Courthouse, 411 Jules, Room 121, St. Joseph, MO 64501; Peggy Campbell, Collector, Buchanan County Courthouse, 411 Jules, Room 123, St. Joseph, MO 64501.
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
 Exhibit 1 – Curriculum Vitae of Larry Jones – Chief Appraiser; Exhibit 2 – STC letter dtd 2/23/10; Exhibit 3 – Chapter 137.115.9 RSMo; Exhibit 4 – Complainants’ 2011 Personal Property Assessment List; Exhibit 5 – Missouri Department of Revenue Verification; Exhibit 6 – NADA Vehicle Summary Values (October 2010 Issue); Exhibit 7 – 2011 Tax Bill; Exhibit 8 – Missouri Department of Revenue Verification (2009 Suzuki FoDor); Exhibit 9 – Vehicle Summary Values (October, 2012).
 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.
 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).