State Tax Commission of Missouri
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
ORDER CORRECTING DECISION NUNC PRO TUNC
Decision issued July 2, 2010, is corrected nunc pro tunc as follows:
On page 2, Finding of Fact 2, in the first sentence, the number “$32,625” is stricken and the number “$32,620” is inserted in lieu thereof.
On page 7, in the last sentence of the paragraph before ORDER, the number “$32,625” is stricken and the number “$32,620” is inserted in lieu thereof.
On page 7, under ORDER, in the second sentence, the number “$32,625” is stricken and the number “$32,620” is inserted in lieu thereof.
In all other respects the Decision is affirmed as issued.
SO ORDERED August 2, 2010.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
W. B. Tichenor
Senior Hearing Officer
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is AFFIRMED.
Complainant Marko Trogrlic appeared pro se.
Respondent appeared by Associate County Counselor Paula J. Lemerman
Case heard and decided by Hearing Officer Maureen Monaghan.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization, which sustained 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 St. Louis County Board of Equalization.Evidentiary hearing was held on June 23, 2010, at the St. LouisCountyGovernmentCenter,Clayton,Missouri.
3.Subject Property.The subject property is located at 9940 Markhall Lane, St. Louis County, Missouri.The property is identified by locator number 27J430621.The property consists of 10,750 square foot lot improved by a one-story brick, ranch, single-family structure of average quality construction.The house was built in 1960 and appears to be in average condition.The residence has a total of seven rooms, with three bedrooms and one and 1/2 baths.The home contains 1444 square feet of living area.There is full basement with 700 square feet of finished space including a full bath.The property also has an attached two-car garage. There are some cracks in the property, but the owner has not suffered from water damage.
4.No New Construction and Improvement.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2009, to January 1, 2010.Therefore, the assessed value remains the same for 2010 as that set for 2009.
5.Complainant’s Evidence.Mr. Trogrlic testified in his own behalf.He arrived at an opinion of fair market value of $145,000.He testified that his value in 2007 was $180,000 and was $151,300 in 2006.He purchased the property in October 2005 for $165,000.He offered his Change of Assessment Notice (Exhibit A) into evidence on behalf of Complainants.
6.Respondent’s Evidence.The properties, relied upon by Respondent’s appraiser in performing his appraisal, were comparable to the subject property for the purpose of arriving at an indicated value.The properties were located within less than a mile of the subject (0.11 to 0.38 miles).Each sale property sold at a time relevant to the tax date of January 1, 2009.(May 2008 to July 2009).The sale properties were similar to the subject in style, quality of construction, age, condition, room, bedroom and bathroom count, living area, location, site size and other amenities of comparability.The appraiser property adjusted for variances between each sale property and the subject.The gross and net adjustments as a percentage of sale prices were within the recognized and accepted ranges.
Respondent’s evidence met the standard of substantial and persuasive to establish the value of the subject, as of January 1, 2009, to be $193,000.However, Respondent’s appraisal was accepted only to sustain the original assessment made by the Assessor and sustained by the Board and not for the purpose of raising the assessment above that value.Respondent meet the standard of clear, convincing and cogent evidence in this appeal to sustain the original valuation of $171,700.
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 failed to meet the required evidentiary standard, therefore the presumption of correct assessment was not rebutted by Complainant.
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 and the income approach as recognized methods of arriving at fair market value.Complainant failed to present any evidence to establish valuation of the subject property as of January 1, 2009, under any recognized appraisal methodology.Respondent’s appraiser concluded a fair market value relying on the development of the sales comparison approach to value.The sales comparison methodology generally will provide the best appraisal approach for valuing single family, owner occupied properties.
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.
Owner’s Opinion of Value
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 owner’s opinion of value was derived from sales in 2007 as they appear on his notice of change of assessment.The sales prices are not adjusted for time and a full market comparison was not completed.
No probative weight can be given to the owner’s opinion of value as it was based on improper elements and an improper foundation.Accordingly, the taxpayers failed to meet their burden of proof to established by substantial and persuasive evidence the true value in money of their property as of January 1, 2009.
Evidence of Increase in Value
In any case in St. Louis County where the assessor presents evidence which indicates a valuation higher than the value finally determined by the assessor or the value determined by the board of equalization, whichever is higher, for that assessment period, such evidence will only be received for the purpose of sustaining the assessor’s or board’s valuation, and not for increasing the valuation of the property under appeal.The evidence presented by the Respondent was substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the fair market value of the property under appeal, as of January 1, 2009, to be $193,000.However, under the Commission rule just cited and Supreme Court decision the assessed value cannot be increased above $32,625 in this particular appeal..
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization forSt. LouisCountyfor the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $32,625.
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.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 St. Louis 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 July 2, 2010.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
 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).
 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).