Lori Shafinia v. Christian (Platte)

January 10th, 2013

State Tax Commission of Missouri

LORI SHAFINIA,                                                                          )


Complainant,                                )


v.                                                                                        ) Appeal No. 12-79011



DAVID CHRISTIAN, ASSESSOR,                                          )

PLATTE COUNTY, MISSOURI,                                             )






Decision of the Platte County Board of Equalization setting value at $97,500 (assessed value $18,523) is AFFIRMED.Hearing Officer finds Complainant did not rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board.

Complainant appeared pro se.Complainant’s appraiser was Marlon Byers.

Respondent appeared pro se.Respondent’s appraiser was Annette J. Salsbury.

Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer Luann Johnson.


The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2012.


Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation.The assessor originally valued this property at $115,362 (assessed value $21,918).The Board of Equalization reduced value to $97,500 ($18,523).Complainant asserts a value of $71,000 ($13,490).Respondent presented an appraisal report requesting a raise order to $105,000 ($19,950).But, Respondent’s appraiser testified that she might have overstated the lot value.

A hearing was conducted on Thursday, December 27, 2012, at the Platte County Administrative Building, Platte City, Missouri.The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.

Complainant’s Evidence

Mr. Byers prepared a desktop appraisal[1] for the subject property.He used three sales of properties which he asserted to be in comparable condition to the subject property.The properties sold for $75,000, $71,000 and $81,000.From these three sales, he concluded a market value for the subject property of $71,000.Upon further questioning, it was determined that sales 1 and 2 were foreclosure sales and sale 3 was a short sale.Mr. Byers made no adjustments for these factors and made no sales analysis to determine if foreclosure sales represented market sales.

Respondent’s Evidence

Ms. Salsbury also used a sales comparison approach to value[2].Ms. Salsbury’s sales sold for $175,000, $168,000 and $277,000.After making adjustments for market reaction to areas of significant variation, Ms. Salsbury proposed a market value of $175,000, if the property was complete.However, the property was only about 60% complete with numerous items of finish not completed.Ms. Salsbury determined that the correct value for the property was $105,000 with $85,000 apportioned to the improvements and $20,000 apportioned to the lot.She testified at hearing that the lot value might be too high inasmuch as it is not a desirable lot.


1.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Platte County Board of Equalization.

2.The subject property is located at 3509 NW 62nd Terrace, Kansas City, Platte County, Missouri.The property is identified by parcel number 19-8.0-28-200-010-007-000.The property consists of a 10,019 square foot lot improved by a split level, single-family structure of average quality construction.The house was built in approximately 2008 and appears to be in average condition.The residence has three bedroom and two baths, and contains 1,382 square feet of living area.

3.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, 2012, to be $71,000, as proposed.Complainant’s Comparable sales are discarded as being foreclosure sales or short sales without any demonstration that they represent market sales.Therefore, said comparable sales are not a reliable indicator of the market value of the subject property.

4.The properties relied upon by Respondent’s appraiser in performing her appraisal were comparable to the subject property for the purpose of making a determination of value of the subject property. The properties were located within 1.05 miles of the subject.Each sale property sold at a time relevant to the tax date.The sale properties were similar to the subject in style, quality of construction, age, condition, room count, bedroom and bathroom count, living area, location, site size and other amenities of comparability.To the extent that there are any differences in room count or bedrooms, Complainant bears that burden inasmuch as the County was not given access to the interior of the subject property.

5.The comparables were described as follows:Comparable 1 (2526 69th Place) sold in 2012 for $175,000. Comparable 2 (2509 69th Terrace) sold in 2011 for $168,000.Comparable 3 (3016 63rd Street) sold in 2011 for $277,000.All comparables were similar to the subject property.Adjustments were made for age, square footage, garages and basement finish.All adjustments appear to be appropriate to bring the comparables in line with the subject for purposes of the appraisal problem.

6.The net adjustments for Comparable 1 amounted to +$300 or 0.2% of the sales price.The net adjustments for Comparable 2 amounted to +$8,400 or 5.0% of the sales price.The net adjustments for Comparable 3 amounted to -$14,300 or 5.2% of the sales price.

7.The adjusted sales prices for Respondent’s comparables calculated to $175,300, $176,400, and $262,700, respectively.It isn’t specifically stated, but it appears the appraiser concluded on a $175,000 value which calculated to a value per square foot of $126 compared with the sales prices per square foot of living area for the comparables of $126, $141 and $209. The third house was newer which may be the reason the square foot value was higher.Nonetheless, the comparison of the value per square foot provides a validation check for the appraisal, to demonstrate that the indicated value is consistent with the market for properties such as the subject.

Then, although the home was sheet rocked and had cabinets, it did lack a number of elements of finish.In Ms. Salsbury’s opinion, the property was at least 60% finished and, therefore, she adjusted her opinion of value for the subject property to $105,000.She apportioned this value as $85,000 improvements and $20,000 lot.She testified that she might have overstated the lot value.The County requested a raise order to $105,000.

8.Although the County’s appraisal is well done, there is some question in the Hearing Officer’s mind as to the value of the lot itself.Because the lot value is not well established, the Board’s value of $97,500 or $71 per square foot, is AFFIRMED.



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.[3]

Presumptions In Appeals

There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the CountyBoardof Equalization.[4]

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, even if simply to sustain the value made by the Assessor, 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, or respondent when advocating a value different than that determined by the Board, 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.[5]

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.[6]It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.[7]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.

6.The price represents a normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special financing amounts and/or terms, services, fees, costs, or credits incurred in the transaction.[8]


Duty to Investigate

In order to investigate appeals filed with the Commission, the Hearing Officer has the duty to 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.The Hearing Officer’s decision regarding the assessment or valuation of the property may be based solely upon its inquiry and any evidence presented by the parties, or based solely upon evidence presented by the parties.[9]

Weight to be Given Evidence

The Hearing Officer is not bound by any single formula, rule or method in determining true value in money, but is free to consider all pertinent facts and estimates and give them such weight as reasonably they may be deemed entitled.The relative weight to be accorded any relevant factor in a particular case is for the Hearing Officer to decide.[10]

Trier of Fact

The Hearing Officer as the trier of fact may consider the testimony of an expert witness and give it as much weight and credit as he may deem it entitled to when viewed in connection with all other circumstances.The Hearing Officer is not bound by the opinions of experts who testify on the issue of reasonable value, but may believe all or none of the expert’s testimony and accept it in part or reject it in part.[11]

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.[12]

Missouricourts have approved the comparable sales or market approach, the cost approach and the income approach as recognized methods of arriving at fair market value.[13]

Opinion Testimony by Experts

If specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert on that subject, by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto.

The facts or data upon which an expert bases an opinion or inference may be those perceived by or made known to the expert at or before the hearing and must be of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the field in forming opinions or inferences upon the subject and must be otherwise reliable, the facts or data need not be admissible in evidence.[14]

Complainant Failed to Meet her 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, 2012.[15]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.”[16]

Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.[17]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.[18]

Complainant has failed to meet her burden of proof to establish that the correct value for the subject property on January 1, 2012 was $71,000.Value cannot be based upon foreclosures or short sales unless those are shown to actually represent market values.This position has been repeatedly stated in our decisions, available on our website, and is also contained in IAAO guidelines available on our website.[19]


The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization for Platte County for the subject tax day is SUSTAINED.

A party may file with the Commission an application for review of this decision within thirty (30) days of the mailing date shown in the Certificate of Service.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.

Failure to state specific facts or law upon which the appeal is based will result in summary denial. [20]

The Collector of Platte 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 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 January 10, 2013.



Luann Johnson

Senior Hearing Officer

Certificate of Service

I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid on this 10thday of January, 2013, to:Lori Shafinia, 5214 NW Walden Dr., Kansas City, MO 64151, Complainant; John Shank, 9800 N.W. Polo, Suite 100, Kansas City, MO 64153, Attorney for Respondent; David Christian, Assessor; 415 Third Street, P.O. Box 20, Platte City, MO 64079; Joan Harms, Clerk, 415 Third, P.O. Box 30, Platte City, MO 64079; Sheila Palmer, Collector; 409 Third, P.O. Box 40, Platte City, MO 64079.


Barbara Heller

Legal Coordinator

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


573-751-1341 Fax

[1] Ex. 1

[2] Ex. A

[3] Article X, section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, 138.431.4, RSMo.


[4] 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).


[5] Hermel, supra; Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).


[6] St. Joe Minerals Corp. v. State Tax Commission, 854 S.W.2d 526, 529 (Mo. App. E.D. 1993); Missouri Baptist Children’s Home v. State Tax Commission, 867 S.W.2d 510, 512 (Mo. banc 1993).


[7] Hermel, supra.


[8] 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.


[9] Section 138.430.2, RSMo.


[10] St. Louis County v. Security Bonhomme, Inc., 558 S.W.2d 655, 659 (Mo. banc 1977); St. Louis County v. STC, 515 S.W.2d 446, 450 (Mo. 1974); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company v. STC, 436 S.W.2d 650 (Mo. 1968).


[11] St. Louis County v. Boatmen’s Trust Co., 857 S.W.2d 453, 457 (Mo. App. E.D. 1993); Vincent by Vincent v. Johnson, 833 S.W.2d 859, 865 (Mo. 1992); Beardsley v. Beardsley, 819 S.W.2d 400, 403 (Mo. App. 1991); Curnow v. Sloan, 625 S.W.2d 605, 607 (Mo. banc 1981).


[12] See, Nance v. STC, 18 S.W.3d 611, at 615 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000); Hermel, supra;Xerox Corp. v. STC, 529 S.W.2d 413 (Mo. banc 1975).


[13] 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).


[14] Section 490.065, RSMo; State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts v. McDonagh, 123 S.W.3d 146 (Mo. SC. 2004); Courtroom Handbook on Missouri Evidence, Wm. A. Schroeder, Sections 702-505, pp. 325-350; Wulfing v. Kansas City Southern Industries, Inc., 842 S.W.2d 133 (Mo. App. E.D. 1992).


[15] Hermel, Inc. v. State Tax Commission, 564 S.W.2d 888, at 897.


[16] 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).


[17] See, Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).


[18] Brooks v. General Motors Assembly Division, 527 S.W.2d 50, 53 (Mo. App. 1975).


[20] Section 138.432, RSMo 2000.