Michael Hoelscher v. Estes (Cole)

February 5th, 2008

State Tax Commission of Missouri






v.) Appeal Number 07-52003












Decision of the Cole County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is AFFIRMED.Hearing Officer finds presumptions of correct assessment not rebutted. True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2007 and 2008 is set at $74,300, residential assessed value of $14,120.

Complainant appeared pro se.

Respondent appeared by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, James W. Gallaher IV.

Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.


The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2007.


Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, discrimination and exemption, the decision of the Cole County Board of Equalization, which sustained the valuation of the subject property.The Assessor determined an appraised value of $74,300, assessed value of $14,120, as residential property.Complainant proposed a value of $9,600, assessed value of $1,824 on his Complaint for Review of Assessment.A hearing was conducted on November 27, 2007, at the Cole County Courthouse Annex,Jefferson,Missouri.

The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.

Complainant’s Evidence

By Order dated October 18, 2007, Complainant was ordered to bring two (2) copies of any documents to be introduced into evidence at the evidentiary hearing to support the opinion of value.Complainant offered into evidence a document which the Hearing Officer marked for purposes of identification as Exhibit B.Exhibit B was received into evidence.It consisted of the following documents (1) Cole County Commission Order, dated December 13, 2006, correcting the 2005 assessed value on the property under appeal to $17,960; (2) Cole County Commission Order, dated December 13, 2006, correcting the 2004 assessed value on the property under appeal to $16,700; and (3) Cole County Commission Order, dated December 13, 2006, correcting the 2006 assessed value on the property under appeal to $14,120.

Complainant also tendered to the Hearing Officer two other documents; (1) Plaintiff’s Motion for Court-Ordered Mediation; and (2) a 4 page document with a listing of documents and requesting judgment entered against the Collector in the amount of $979.80 plus interest and costs.These documents were not received into evidence, but were received only to maintain the file in this case.

Respondent’s Evidence

Counsel for Respondent submitted the following Exhibits:

Exhibit 1 – Cole County Assessor Informal Hearing record on the subject property (23 pages).

Exhibit 2 – Documents provided by Mike Hoelscher to Shawn Ordway, at the time he was the Cole County Assessor (17 pages).

Exhibit 3 – Documents provided by Cole County Assessor to the Board of Equalization (14 pages).


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

2.The subject property is located at 934 S. Rock Creek Road, Jefferson City, Missouri.The property is identified by parcel number 15-07-25-0000-001-004.The property consists of .92 of an acre lot improved by a story and a half traditional styled brick home.It was constructed in 1974 and extensively remodeled and updated in the late 1990.The home has 2,073 square feet above grade, with four bedrooms and 2 baths above grade.There is a full basement with approximately 1,120 square feet of finished recreation room and a three-quarters bath.The home has two fireplaces and a two-car detached garage built in 1991.The home suffers from a mold contamination issue.Exhibits 1 & 3.

3.The property was valued for 2004 at $117,900 and reduced to a value of $87,900.The property was valued for 2005 at $144,500 and reduced to $94,500.The property was valued for 2006 at $144,500 and reduced to $74,500.All reductions in value were to account for the mold contamination.

4.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2007, to the date of hearing.

5.There was no evidence tendered to establish a prima facie case of discrimination.

6.There was no evidence tendered to establish that the property is exempt from taxation under any statutes or case law.

7.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, 2007, to be $9,600.

8.Complainant appeared at the evidentiary hearing without having complied with the Commission’s Order to bring two copies of any documents that were to be offered into evidence.It is the practice of the Hearing Officer to mark all exhibit prior to going on the record.Complainant refused to provide the Hearing Officer with documents as instructed in the Order so that they could be marked. Tr.3:1-17.During the course of the hearing, Complainant was repeatedly requested to present any documents to be market as exhibits.Complainant refused to do so.Complainant was totally unprepared to present his case.See, Tr. 10:17Tr. 17:21.



The Commission has jurisdiction to hear this appeal and correct any assessment which is shown to be unlawful, unfair, arbitrary or capricious.Article X, section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, RSMo.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.Section 138.431.4, RSMo.

Presumptions In Appeals

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

The presumption of correct assessment is rebutted when the taxpayer presents substantial and persuasive evidence to establish that the assessor’s or Board’s valuation is erroneous and what the fair market value should have been placed on the property.Snider, Hermel & Cupples Hesse, supra.Complainant failed to present any evidence to address the issue of fair market value as of January 1, 2007.

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.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).It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.Hermel, supra.

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.


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.

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.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).

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. 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).

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, 2007.Hermel, Inc. v. State Tax Commission, 564 S.W.2d 888, at 897.Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.See, Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).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.Brooks v. General Motors Assembly Division, 527 S.W.2d 50, 53 (Mo. App. 1975).See also, 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).

The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value. Boten v. Brecklein, 452 S.W.2d 86, 95 (Sup. 1970).The owner’s opinion is without probative value however, where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or an improper foundation.Shelby County R-4 School District v. Hermann, 392 S.W.2d 609, 613 (Sup. 1965).

Mr. Hoelscher offered no evidence upon which a conclusion could be reached that the fair market value of the property on January 1, 2007, was $9,600.His unsupported opinion of $9,600 was not established upon proper elements or foundation.None of the documents tendered by the Complainant were relevant on the issue of fair market value.Even Exhibit B only provided support for an assessed value of $14,120, as had been set for tax year 2006.No probative weight can be given to an owner’s unsupported opinion of fair market value.

Mr. Hoselscher, for a totally unknown and unexplained reason, decided that he did not have to comply with the Commission Order relating to exhibits to be presented at hearing.Instead of simply complying with the Hearing Officer’s request to present any documents he wanted to offer into evidence so that the Hearing Officer could mark them for identification he refused.The taxpayer did not have documents prepared in any order to support his opinion of $9,600.Complainant only could refer to some documents which he could not produce or to documents which had nothing to do with the proceeding before the Commission.In short, the Complainant’s actions at the hearing resulted in nothing but a waste of time for all concerned.

The Complainant failed to meet his burden of proof, accordingly the value established by the Board and presumed to be correct is affirmed.


The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization forColeCountyfor the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.

The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2007 and 2008 is set at $14,120.

A party may file with the Commission an application for review of this decision within thirty (30) days of the mailing of such decision.The application shall contain specific grounds upon which it is claimed the decision is erroneous.Failure to state specific facts or law upon which the appeal is based will result in summary denial.Section 138.432, RSMo 2000.

If an application for review of this decision is made to the Commission, any protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accordance with this appeal shall be held pending the final decision of the Commission and an order to the Collector to release and disburse the impounded taxes.§139.031.3, RSMo.If no application for review is received by the Commission within thirty (30) days, this decision and order is deemed final and the Collector of Cole County, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall disburse the protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accord with the decision on the underlying assessment in this appeal.If any or all protested taxes have been disbursed pursuant to Section 139.031(8), RSMo, either party may apply to the circuit court having jurisdiction of the cause for disposition of the protested taxes held by the taxing authority.

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 February 5, 2008.





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 5thday of February, 2008, to:Michael Hoelscher, 934 S. Rock Creek Road, Jefferson City, MO 65101, Complainant; James W. Gallaher IV, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, 311 E. High, Room 300, Jefferson City, MO 65101, Attorney for Respondent; Christopher Estes, Assessor, 210 Adams Street, Jefferson City, MO 65101; Marvin Register, Clerk, Cole County Courthouse Annex, Room 201, Jefferson City, MO 65101; Larry Vincent, Collector, Cole County Courthouse Annex, Jefferson City, MO 65101.



Barbara Heller, Legal Coordinator