State Tax Commission of Missouri
v.) Appeal Number 09-89503
JAMES STRAHAN, ASSESSOR,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Taney County Board of Equalization reducing the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE.True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $129,900, residential assessed value of $24,680.Complainant appeared pro se.Respondent appeared by County Counselor Robert Paulson.
Case decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Taney 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, 2009.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 Taney County Board of Equalization.
2.Submission on Documents.By Order issued February 17, 2010, Complainant was given the opportunity to submit her case on documents and a sworn statement.Complainant submitted the exhibits set forth under Finding of Fact 4 – Complainant’s Evidence.
Respondent was given the opportunity by Order issued March 23, 2010, to consent or object to the submission of the case on documents and sworn statements and to file exhibits and sworn statement.Respondent made no response to the March 23, 2010, Order.
Accordingly, evidentiary hearing was waived and the case submitted on documents and sworn statement filed by Complainant.
3.Assessment.The Assessor appraised the property at $343,284, residential assessment of $65,220.The Board of Equalization reduced the value to $240,100, assessed value of $45,620.
4.Subject Property.The subject property is located at 129 Rock Candy Lane, Branson, Missouri.The property is identified by map parcel number 18-1-1-2-2-6.116.The property consists of a duplex condominium.It is part of the Cabins at Grand Mountain.The property was marketed for $129,900 on the Branson Multi-Listing Service.Complainant purchased the property on May 19, 2009, for $129,900.The property was appraised on May 20, 2009, for $190,000.
Complainant contacted the selling agent on May 1, 2009.The property had been vacant for more than six months, had been foreclosed and was listed with a realtor.Complainant made an offer of $100,000. This was rejected as there was a higher offer pending.Complainant made an offer of $129,900.This was accepted.
5.Complainant’s Evidence.Complainant presented the following exhibits in support of her opinion of fair market value of $129,900.
Listing for Subject from Realtor.com 7, copy of Taney County Assessment Info.
Counter Offer/Addendum, dated 5/19/09 on purchase of subject
Settlement Statement, dated 6/12/09, Contract Sales Price – $129,000
Application to Appeal to Taney County Board of Equalization
BOE Decision dated 7/16/09 – Assessed Value $45,620 (TVM = $240,105)
Appraisal of Sammy Groves, Mo. Certified Residential Appraiser – $190,000-5/20/09
Written Sworn Statement of Complainant.
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, 2009, to be $129,900, as proposed.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2009, to January 1, 2010, therefore the assessed value set for tax year 2009 remains the value for 2010.
6.Respondent’s Evidence.Respondent presented no evidence on the issue of true value in money.
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 in favor of the Board is not evidence.A presumption simply accepts something as true without any substantial proof to the contrary.In an evidentiary hearing before the Commission, the valuation determined by the Board is accepted as true only until and so long as there is no substantial evidence to the contrary.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 has presented substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment and to establish the true value in money for 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.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, the income approach, and the actual sale price between a willing buyer and seller as recognized methods of arriving at fair market value.
Complainant based her opinion of value upon the actual purchase price of the subject property.
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.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.The actual sale price is a method that may be considered for estimating true value.The actual sales price, between a willing seller who is not obligated to sell and a willing buyer who is not compelled to buy, establishes an outer limit on the value of real property. This is exactly what is presented in the present appeal.Complainant relies on the principle established in St. Joe Mineral.Complainant was able to purchase the subject property that had been marketed on the local MLS for the listed price of $129,900.This is the owner’s opinion of the fair market value of the subject property as of January 1, 2009, less than six months prior to the purchase of the subject.The date of purchase is clearly at a time relevant to the valuation date.The transaction occurred between a willing buyer and seller and constitutes an open market, arms-length transaction.
The purchase price of $129,900 is not rebutted by the appraisal report.Although the appraiser admits he researched the sale which closed the day before the effective date of his appraisal, he completely fails to provide any basis as to why the sale does not set the value for the subject property.Complainant’s purchase price of $129,900 constituted the price agreed to between a willing buyer and seller at a time relevant to January 1, 2009.It established the outer limit on the value of the property under appeal.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization for Taney County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $24,680.
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 for this Decision.The application shall contain specific 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 Taney County, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall continue to hold the disputed taxes pending a 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 13, 2010.
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 13thday of May, 2010, to:Laura Schwandner, 129 N. Kansas, Morton, IL 61550, Complainant; Robert Paulson, County Counselor, P.O. Box 1086, Forsyth, MO 65653, Attorney for Respondent; James Strahan, Assessor, P.O. Box 612, Forsyth, MO 65653; Donna Neeley, Clerk, P.O. Box 156, Forsyth, MO 65653; Sheila Wyatt, Collector, P.O. Box 278, Forsyth, MO 65653.
 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).
 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).
 A price agreed to between a willing buyer and seller creates a presumption that the transaction was a market transaction.Phoenix Redevelopment Corporation v. Walker, 812 S.W.2d 881, 883-4 (Mo. App. W.D. 1991).