STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
|MOHD MURAYAN||)||Appeal No. 19-30092|
|GAIL MCCANN BEATTY, ASSESSOR,||)|
|JACKSON COUNTY, MISSOURI,||)|
DECISION AND ORDER
The assessed value of Gail McCann Beatty, Assessor of Jackson County, Missouri (Respondent) valuing the subject property in this appeal at a true value in money (TVM) of $192,600 is SET ASIDE. Mohd Murayan (Complainant) presented substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the TVM of the subject property on January 1, 2019.
TVM for the subject property for tax years 2019 and 2020 is $170,000.
Complainant appeared pro se.
Respondent appeared by attorney Tamika Logan.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer John Treu (Hearing Officer).
Complainant appealed, on the ground of overvaluation, the TVM of Respondent of the subject property. The State Tax Commission (STC) takes this appeal to determine the TVM for the subject property on January 1, 2019. The value as of January 1 of the odd numbered year remains the value as of January 1 of the following even numbered year unless there is new construction and/or improvement to the property. Section 137.115.1 RSMo.
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. Authority. Authority over these appeals is proper. Complainant timely appealed to the STC from the decision of the BOE.
2. Evidentiary Hearing. The Evidentiary Hearing was held on August 20, 2020, at the Jackson County Courthouse, Kansas City, Missouri.
3. Identification of Subject Property. The subject property is identified by map parcel number/locator number 54-710-10-01-01-0-00-000 and street address 10805 E. 350 Highway, Raytown, MO. (Ex. B and Complaint for Review of Assessment)
4. Description of Subject Property. The subject property is a commercial carwash. Complainant purchased the subject property on 8/14/2019 for $170,000. The subject property appears to be in need of some repair, including foundation repair, roof repair, parking lot repair, plumbing repair, and electrical repair. (Ex. A, Exhibit B and Testimony of Complainant)
5. Assessment. Respondent valued the property at $192,600 commercial (assessed value $61,632). No Board of Equalization (BOE) appeal was taken as the subject property was purchased after the pertinent deadline. (Complaint for Review)
6. Complainant’s Evidence. Complainant offered into evidence Exhibit A containing multiple photographs and Exhibit B a sheet summarizing estimates for repairs.
The photographs (Exhibit A) depict damage to the property and its condition, including fallen concrete, damaged pavement, electric issues, and general disrepair. Exhibit B lists needed repairs for fixing/enforcing foundation and cracks, replacement of the roof, electrical work and fixtures, fixing the parking lot, drainage and plumbing works, and replacement of two pumps/water heater/ air vacuum. Complainant testified that his opinion of the TVM of the subject property as of January 1, 2019, is $75,000.
7. No Evidence of New Construction & Improvement. There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2019, to January 1, 2020, therefore the assessed value for 2019 remains the assessed value for 2020. Section 137.115.1.
8. Respondent’s Evidence. Respondent offered no evidence, but noted Respondent had no objection to the purchase price as the TVM.
9. Presumption of Correct Assessment Not Rebutted. Complainant’s evidence was substantial and persuasive to establish the TVM of the subject property as of January 1, 2019. See, Presumption In Appeal, infra.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DECISION
STC Authority Over Ad Valorem Taxation Appeals
The STC has authority to hear this appeal and to correct any assessment that 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. Article X, Section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431.
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. Article X, Sections 4(a) and 4(b), Mo. Const. of 1945. The constitutional mandate is to find the true value in money for the property under appeal. By statute real and tangible personal property are assessed at set percentages of true value in money. Section 137.115.5. residential property at 19% of true value in money; commercial property at 32% of true value in money and agricultural property at 12% of true value in money.
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, 2019. Hermel Inc. v. STC, 564 S.W.2d 888 (Mo. banc 1978) 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.” 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 valuation which does not reflect the fair market value (true value in money) of the property under appeal is an unlawful, unfair and improper assessment.
Owner’s Opinion of Value
The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value. Rigali v. Kensington Place Homeowners’ Ass’n, 103 S.W.3d 839, 846 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003); 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. 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). “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.” Carmel Energy at 783. A taxpayer does not meet his burden if evidence on any essential element of his case leaves the STC “in the nebulous twilight of speculation, conjecture and surmise.” See, Rossman v. G.G.C. Corp. of Missouri, 596 S.W.2d 469, 471 (Mo. App. 1980).
Sale of Subject
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. St. Joe Minerals Corp. v. STC, 854 S.W.2d 526 (App. E.D. 1993).
Standard for Valuation
Section 137.115 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. Id. at 529; Missouri Baptist Children’s Home v. State Tax Commission, 867 S.W.2d 510, 512 (Mo. banc 1993). True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use. 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).
It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date. Hermel, supra.
Investigation by Hearing Officer
In order to investigate appeals filed with the STC, the Hearing Officer may 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 his inquiry and any evidence presented by the parties, or based solely upon evidence presented by the parties. Section 138.430.2. The Hearing Officer made inquiry of Complainant during the evidentiary hearing.
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. 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).
Complainant Proves Value
Complainant presented substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the TVM of the subject property, as of January 1, 2019. Complainant presented evidence that the subject property is in need of multiple repairs. Complainant testified he purchased the subject property for $170,000 in an open market transaction. Respondent had no objection to the purchase price being set as the TVM.
The assessed valuation for the subject property is SET ASIDE.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2019 and 2020 is set at $54,400 ($170,000 TVM commercial).
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 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, MO 65102-0146, 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 application for review is based will result in summary denial. Section 138.432.
The Collector of Jackson 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.
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 September 18, 2020.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
John J. Treu
Senior Hearing Officer
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been electronically mailed and/or sent by U.S. Mail on September 18, 2020, to: Complainant(s) and/or Counsel for Complainant(s), the County Assessor and/or Counsel for Respondent and County Collector.
Contact Information for State Tax Commission:
Missouri State Tax Commission
421 East Dunklin Street
P.O. Box 146
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0146