STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
|NATIONAL CHURCH RESIDENCES OF||)||Appeal No. 19-32042|
|KANSAS CITY, MO||)||Parcel/Locator: 18-115-00-09-002.01|
|CATHY RINEHART, ASSESSOR,||)|
|CLAY COUNTY, MISSOURI,||)|
DECISION AND ORDER
The assessment made by the Board of Equalization of Clay County (BOE) is SET ASIDE. Complainant National Church Residences of Kansas City, MO (Complainant) presented substantial and persuasive evidence establishing that the subject property was exempt from ad valorem taxation under Article X, Section 6 of the Missouri Constitution and Section 137.100 as of January 1, 2019.
Complainant appeared by counsel Brian Howes.
Cathy Rinehart, Assessor of Clay County, Missouri (Respondent) appeared by counsel Patricia Hughes.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer John Treu (Hearing Officer).
The State Tax Commission (STC) takes this appeal to determine whether the subject property is exempt pursuant to Article X, Section 6 of the Missouri Constitution and Section 137.100 for tax year 2019.
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
FINDINGS OF FACT
- Authority. Complainant timely appealed to STC.
- Evidentiary Hearing. The issue of tax-exempt status for the subject properties was presented at an evidentiary hearing on June 23, 2020.
- Identification and Description of Subject Properties. The subject property is located at 3711 N. Jackson Ave, Kansas City, MO. (Ex. 1, Tr. pp 15:19 to 16:2). The building has 59 total units, with one unit provided for the manager. (Tr. pp. 21:5 to 21:14) The property is subject to the terms of the Section 202 Housing Program for low-income elderly under the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) whereby its accepted tenants make an income-based payment towards the market rent for an apartment unit at the property, and HUD subsidizes the balance of the rent.
- Assessment. Respondent valued the subject property at a true value in money (TVM) of $1,749,300, as of January 1, 2019, and denied exemption to the subject property.
- BOE. The BOE valued the subject property at a TVM of $889,300 and also found the subject property not to be exempt.
- Complainant’s Evidence. Complainant asserts that the subject property is exempt from ad valorem taxation because Complainant is a not-for-profit organization that owns and operates the property for a charitable purpose. Complainant offered the following evidence to support its assertion:
|A||Written Direct Testimony Sonya Brown||Admitted|
|B||Written Direct Testimony Sandy Langendorfer||Admitted|
|C||Written Direct Testimony DaLonda Laddusaw||Admitted|
|D||Articles of Incorporation||Admitted|
|E||Articles of Amended Incorporation||Admitted|
|F||Certificate of Incorporation – Missouri Nonprofit||Admitted|
|G||By-Laws of National Church Residences of Kansas City, MO||Admitted|
|H||Amendment to By-Laws||Admitted|
|I||IRS 501(c)(3) Status Letter||Admitted|
|J||HUD Capital Advance Program Regulatory Agreement||Admitted|
|K||HUD Capital Advance Program Use Agreement||Admitted|
|L||Project Rental Assistance Contract||Admitted|
|M||HUD Semi-Annual Performance Report, Multifamily Housing Service Coordinator Program – October 1, 2015 – March 31, 2016||Admitted|
|N||HUD Semi-Annual Performance Report, Multifamily Housing Service Coordinator Program – April 1, 2016 – September 30, 2016||Admitted|
|O||HUD Semi-Annual Performance Report, Multifamily Housing Service Coordinator Program – January 1, 2017 – June 30, 2017||Admitted|
|P||HUD Semi-Annual Performance Report, Multifamily Housing Service Coordinator Program – July 1, 2017 – December 31, 2017||Admitted|
|Q||HUD Program Performance Form, Multifamily Housing Service Coordinator Program, October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018||Admitted|
|R||Audited Financial Statements for Fiscal Year 2019||Admitted|
|S||Audited Financial Statements for Fiscal Year 2018||Admitted|
|T||Audited Financial Statements for Fiscal Year 2017||Admitted|
|U||Audited Financial Statements for Fiscal Year 2016||Admitted|
|V||Rent Roll as of 1/1/2017||Admitted|
|W||Rent Roll as of 1/1/2018||Admitted|
|X||Rent Roll as of 1/1/2019||Admitted|
|Y||Housing Management Agreement||Admitted|
|Z||Chouteau Village Sample Lease||Admitted|
|AA||NCR Marketing Materials – Service Coordination||Admitted|
|BB||Community Health Snapshot for Chouteau Village||Admitted|
|CC||Resident Rights and Responsibilities Packet||Admitted|
|DD||NCR Housing Division Service Coordinator – Job Description||Admitted|
|EE||Chouteau Village Service Coordination – Job Description||Admitted|
|FF||Service Coordinator Activity Logs||Admitted|
|GG||Programs & Activities Offered to the Residents of Chouteau Village||Admitted|
|HH||Resident Programs & Activities – 2019 Weekly Schedule||Admitted|
|II||Resident Welcome Packet (“Blue Folder”) – 2019||Admitted|
|JJ||Resident Welcome Packet (“Blue Folder”) – 2020||Admitted|
|KK||Chouteau Village – Inability to Pay Policy||Admitted|
|LL||NCR – Rent Collections and Payment Deadlines||Admitted|
|MM||NCR – Lease Termination & Eviction Policy)||Admitted|
|OO||Resident Income Statistics||Admitted|
|PP||Chouteau Village – Tenant Selection Plan||Admitted|
|Chouteau Village – Applications (Parts 1-2)||Admitted|
|RR||Chouteau Village – Waiting List||Admitted|
|UU||Exemption Appeal and Application||Admitted|
Complainant is a Missouri not-for-profit corporation, exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). (Ex. A, Q/A 6-14; Ex. D-I; SS & TT) Complainant has a contract with HUD, which sets the amount of rent Complainant receives for each unit. (Ex. A, Q/A 15 and 16; Ex. J-L). Residents pay 30% of their income with HUD making up the difference. (Ex. A, Q/A 16). The contract rate as of the assessment date was $577 per month and there is no minimum rent. (Ex. X). The combined HUD subsidies exceed the combined rent payments made by tenants each year. (Ex. A, Q/A 23; Ex. V-X)
National Church Residences (NCR) manages the subject property. (Ex. U & V). NCR is a faith-based organization closely affiliated with Complainant. Sonya Brown, Vice President of Property Management with NCR, testified that she leads a team that covers 310 affordable housing communities in 25 states. (Ex. A, Q/A 2). She also testified that 11 of the 14 affordable housing projects she oversees in Missouri were tax exempt. (Tr. 71). NCR’s mission is to provide high-quality care, services, and residential communities for seniors, people with disabilities, and others in need of care. It provides safe affordable housing coupled with supportive services tailored to meet individual resident needs. (Ex. A, Q/A 12).
Under the management contract between Complainant and NCR, NCR receives a management fee (set by HUD) of 9% of income. (Tr. 85) Sandy Langendorfer (Langendorfer), the on-site manager, testified funds from management fees go to pay for types of services deemed necessary by HUD. Other operating expenses such as payroll are the obligation of NCR. (Tr 103)
Prospective residents must meet HUD’s qualifications to become approved as residents. Those qualifications include being age 62 or older and having very-low or extremely-low income, again as defined by HUD. (Ex. B, Q/A 15 & 16; Ex. PP) For 2019, the year in question, a single person earning up to $18,100 qualified as having extremely low income, and a single person earning up to $30,100 qualified as very-low income. (Tr. 26) However, most of the current residents had incomes below $20,000 per year, with the majority qualifying as extremely-low income. (Ex. OO) The average income level of the residents as of the assessment date was approximately $16,000, in the extremely-low income category. (Tr. 68)
Potential tenants submit applications. (Ex. B, Q/A 6 & 7; Ex. QQ) The on-site property manager for the subject property verifies that applicants meet the age and income requirements and places the applicant on that facility’s waiting list. (Tr. 98-100) There is a long waiting list. (Ex. RR) When a vacancy occurs, Langendorfer contacts applicants on the waiting list in the order in which their applications were received until she reaches the name of an applicant who is still interested in becoming a resident. (Id.) Once she finds an interested applicant, she enters that information into a screening program. (Id.) The screening program provides an acceptance recommendation or a denial recommendation. (Id.) If the result is to accept, Langendorfer proceeds with meeting the applicant and moving forward. (Id.) If it is a denial, then the person is disqualified in accordance with HUD regulations. However, Langendorfer notifies the applicant and gives that person a chance to explain or address the issue. (Id.) She testified that her recommendation had only been overridden once. (Id.)
Issues that may cause problems for potential residents are criminal history, previous evictions, or credit history. (Tr. 31-36) Those with a recent felony conviction could be dangerous to other residents. Further, Complainant cannot accept someone unable to have utilities in their unit turned on due to credit history since such could be harmful to Complainant’s residents. (Id.) A result of denial is always discussed with the prospective resident. (Id.)
DaLanda Luddusaw (Luddasaw), is the subject property’s Service Coordinator. She is responsible for coordinating programs and services to assist residents to maintain a good quality of life and age in place. (Ex. C, Q/A 2; Ex. EE) She maintains activity logs and HUD Performance Reports depicting programs and services she provides to residents. (Ex. C, Q/A 4-8; Ex. FF; Ex. M-Q) Residents are provided with materials describing the service coordination program that includes navigation of health care systems, assistance with legal issues, educational and emotional support, and homemaker assistance. (Ex. AA; Ex. CC; Ex. GG) Laddusaw assists residents in numerous, substantial ways at no cost to the residents. (Ex. EE) NCR presented substantial evidence of the services that Laddusaw provided to residents. (Id.) NCR offered several HUD semi-annual performance reports documenting services relating to advocacy, benefits/entitlements, conflict resolution, crisis intervention/support counseling, family support, general info/referral, homemaker, education, and other services routinely offered (Ex. M-Q) The reports documented health care services, including helping residents find a Medicaid doctor and communicating with residents’ doctors and/or health insurers. (Id.) She also described some of the numerous services she performs for residents and produced her log notes that document many such services in specific cases. (Ex. FF)
Laddusaw also assists in scheduling social events for residents. (Ex. GG) These activities include weekly bingo, monthly birthday celebrations, coffee and discussion, annual garage sale, holiday parties, monthly pot luck dinners, monthly grill-outs, weekly bible study, weekly exercise programs, and weekly card games. She assists with all of these activities, scheduling them, publishing them on the calendars and in the newsletters, making sure new residents learn about them, even picking up or providing food for the gatherings. (Id.)
Educational and wellness programs are also offered to residents. These programs include recognition of depression in the elderly, bimonthly blood pressure checks, diabetes education, visiting nurses, annual free flu shot clinic, fall prevention with home safety, insurance question and answer, bimonthly blood sugar checks, fire with personal safety, and exercise for the elderly. (Ex GG) Laddusaw assists with all of these activities, scheduling them, publishing them on the calendars and in the newsletters, making sure new residents learn about them.
Laddusaw coordinates many of the programs and services with outside organizations. (Ex. C, Q/A 14) The Visiting Nurse Association checks residents’ blood pressure (monthly), blood sugar (odd months only), and cholesterol (yearly). The Northland Shepherd’s Center provides resident transportation services, education/wellness opportunities, and, most recently, food items. Additionally, The Harvesters Food Program provides commodity boxes and a senior mobile food pantry to residents; Panera Bread offers a bread program; and Kansas City Community Gardens provides free garden education/guidance and discounted plants/supplies for the property’s community garden. The Visiting Physicians Association does a lunch-and-learn or activity every month for the residents, and it also offers many in-home services including primary care, short-term episodic care, lab, mobile x-ray, and ultrasound.
Laddusaw also reaches out to various community organizations including the Salvation Army, Northland Shepherd’s Center, and local Catholic charities as sources for additional funding for residents having difficulty paying their rent. (Ex. C, Q/A 15)
Laddusaw testified that although she may not have directly performed the services offered to residents, she was directly responsible for coordinating them and was “pretty much the middle of everything.” (Tr. 115) She also testified that “pretty much everything they (residents) need they can come to me and I can find something to help them.”
- Respondent’s Evidence. Respondent offered the following evidence to support her assertion:
|1||Property Record Card for the subject property||Admitted|
|2||Photos of the subject property||Admitted|
|3||Initial application for exemption dated 2/20/19||Admitted|
|4||Section 137.067, which Respondent requests that the Commission take official notice||Admitted|
|5||Section 137.100, which Respondent asks the Commission to take official notice||Admitted|
|6||Public information about the owner/Advertising and web site information about the property||Admitted|
|7||Subsidized Housing Worksheet, of which Respondent requests that the Commission take official notice||Admitted|
|8||Assessor manual instructions for Subsidized Housing Worksheet, of which Respondent requests that the Commission take official notice||Admitted|
|9||Income and expense records of Complainant with information for completion of Subsidized Housing Worksheet||Admitted|
|10||Completed Subsidized Housing Worksheets||Admitted|
|11||Sample lease for tenant||Admitted|
|12||HUD reimbursement record – rent roll||Admitted|
|13||HUD Project Rental Assistance Contract||Admitted|
|14||HUD Regulatory Agreement||Admitted|
|15||IRS Form 990 of Owner for 2016, 2017, and 2018||Admitted|
|17||Lease Termination and Eviction Policy||Admitted|
|18||Rent Collection and Payment Deadlines||Admitted|
|19||Tenant Selection Plan||Admitted|
|20||Service Coordinator Activity Report||Admitted|
|21||HUD Service Coordinator Snapshot||Admitted|
Respondent’s exhibits and testimony assert that other organizations provide services to the residents of the subject property and that Complainant is reimbursed by HUD for a large portion of the total rent that Complainant receives. Respondent’s exhibits and testimony also emphasize the fact that credit history, previous evictions, and criminal history are utilized in evaluating potential residents. Finally, Respondent asserts that Section 137.076 conflicts with or repeals Section 137.100.
- Tax-Exempt Status Established. Complainant’s evidence was substantial and persuasive to establish that the subject properties were tax-exempt as of the date of assessment on January 1, 2019.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
The STC has authority to hear this appeal and correct any assessment which is shown to be unlawful, unfair, arbitrary, or capricious, including the application of any abatement. The Hearing Officer shall issue a decision and order affirming, modifying, or reversing the determination of the BOE and correcting any assessment which is unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary, or capricious. Mo. Const. art. X, sec. 14, Sections 138.430, 138.431, 138.431.4.
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 residential property at 19%; commercial property at 32%; and agricultural property at 12%. Section 137.115.5.
Presumption in Appeal
There is a presumption of validity, good faith, and correctness of assessment by the BOE. Hermel, Inc. v. State Tax Comm’n, 564 S.W.2d 888, 895 (Mo. banc 1978); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Co. v. State Tax Comm’n, 436 S.W.2d 650, 656 (Mo. 1968); May Department Stores Co. v. STC, 308 S.W.2d 748, 759 (Mo. 1958).
Property Exempt from Taxation
The following subjects are exempt from taxation for state, county, or local purposes:
All property, real and personal, actually and regularly used exclusively for religious worship, schools, and colleges, for purposes purely charitable and not held for private or corporate profit, except that the exemption herein granted does not include real property not actually used or occupied for the purpose of the organization but held or used as investment even though the income or rentals received, therefore, is used wholly for religious, educational or charitable purposes.
Investigation by Hearing Officer
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. Section 138.430.2. 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. Id.
Weight to be Given Evidence
The Hearing Officer is not bound by any single formula, rule, or method in determining true value in money and is free to consider all pertinent facts and estimates and give them such weight as reasonable 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. State Tax Comm’n, 515 S.W.2d 446, 450 (Mo. 1974.
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 deemed necessary when viewed in connection with all other circumstances. Beardsley v. Beardsley, 819 S.W.2d 400, 403 (Mo. App. W.D. 1991). The Hearing Officer, as the trier of fact, is not bound by the opinions of experts but may believe all or none of the expert’s testimony or accept it in part or reject it in part. Exchange Bank of Missouri v. Gerlt, 367 S.W.3d 132, 135-36 (Mo. App. W.D. 2012)
Complainant’s Burden of Proof
A presumption exists that the exemption status and assessed value fixed by the BOE is correct. Rinehart, 363 S.W.3d at 367; Cohen, 251 S.W.3d at 348; Hermel, Inc., 564 S.W.2d at 895. “Substantial and persuasive controverting evidence is required to rebut the presumption, with the burden of proof resting on the taxpayer.” Cohen, 251 S.W.3d at 348. Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Cupples Hesse Corp. v. State Tax Comm’n, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959). Persuasive evidence is evidence that has sufficient weight and probative value to convince the trier of fact. Id. 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).
There is no presumption that the taxpayer’s opinion is correct. The taxpayer in an appeal 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.” Westwood Partnership, 103 S.W.3d at 152; Daly, 77 S.W.3d at 645; Reeves, 115 S.W.3d at 375; Industrial Development Authority of Kansas City v. State Tax Comm’n, 804 S.W.2d 387, 392 (Mo. App. W.D. 1991).
Taxation of property is the rule and exemption from taxation is the exception. United Cerebral Palsy Ass’n of Greater Kansas City v. Ross, 789 S.W.2d 798, 799 (Mo. banc 1990). Tax exemptions are not favored in the law, and statutes granting exemptions are to be strictly, yet reasonably, construed against the one claiming the exemption. Missouri Church of Scientology v. State Tax Comm’n, 560 S.W.2d 837, 844 (Mo. banc 1987), State ex rel. Union Electric Co. v. Goldberg, 578 S.W.2d 921, 923 (Mo. banc 1979). A property owner who claims the exemption bears a substantial burden to prove that his property falls within the exempted class. United Cerebral Palsy Ass’n of Greater Kansas City, 789 S.W.2d at 799.
Article X, Section 6 of the Missouri Constitution exempts from taxation all real and personal property of the state, counties, and other political subdivisions and nonprofit cemeteries. The Constitution also provides that all real and personal property, not held for private or corporate profit and used exclusively for religious worship, for schools and colleges, for purposes purely charitable, or for agricultural and horticultural societies may be exempted from taxation by general law. The legislature, by enactment of Section 137.100, has exempted property not held for private or corporate profit and used exclusively for religious worship, for schools and colleges, for purposes purely charitable, and for agricultural and horticultural societies.
The legal test for a charitable exemption is whether:
- The property is dedicated unconditionally to the charitable activity;
- The property is owned and operated on a not-for-profit basis; and
- The dominant use of the property is for the benefit of an indefinite number of people and directly or indirectly benefits society generally. Franciscan Tertiary Province of Missouri v. State Tax Comm’n, 566 S.W.2d 213, 224 (Mo. banc 1978); Twitty v. State Tax Comm’n, 896 S.W.2d 680, 684 (Mo. App. S.D. 1995).
In Franciscan Tertiary Province of Missouri v. State Tax Comm’n, 566 S.W.2d 213, 224 (Mo. banc 1978) the entire Missouri Supreme Court analyzed multiple types of situations for exemption. However, the Court explicitly stated:
[t]he general nature of the owning organization other than that it is not-for-profit cannot be said to determine whether the use of the particular property is charitable or not and that the property must be owned and operated on a not-for-profit basis. It must be dedicated unconditionally to the charitable activity in such a way that there will be no profit, presently or prospectively, to individuals or corporations
It is manifestly clear that by using the word “and” instead of “or” in the “owned and operated” terminology the court was stating very clearly that for the property to be exempt it has to both be “owned” and “operated” on a not-for-profit basis.
I. Owned and Operated on a Not-for-Profit Basis
The property must be owned and operate on a not-for-profit basis. The property also “must be dedicated unconditionally to the charitable activity in such a way that there will be no profit, presently or prospectively, to individuals or corporations. Any gain achieved in the use of the building must be devoted to the achievement of the charitable objective of the project.” Franciscan Tertiary Province, 566 S.W.2d at 244. This does not mean that the property or charity cannot operate “in the black.”
II. Actual and Regular Use for Charitable Purpose
In order for a property to be exempt from taxation for state, county, or local purposes, the property must be actually and regularly used exclusively for a charitable purpose as defined by Salvation Army v. Hoehn, 188 S.W.2d 826 (Mo. banc 1945). “Charity” is therein defined as “… a gift, to be applied consistently with existing laws, for the benefit of an indefinite number of persons, either by bringing their hearts under the influence of education or religion, by relieving their bodies of disease, suffering or constraint, by assisting them to establish themselves for life, or by erecting or maintaining the public buildings or works or otherwise lessening the burdens of government.” Salvation Army, 188 S.W.2d at 830. Exemption rests on the use of the property, not merely the charitable character of the owner. The phrase “regularly used exclusively” has been interpreted to mean the primary, inherent, and dominate use of the property as opposed to a mere secondary and incidental use. See Bethesda Barclay House v. Ciarleglio, 88 S.W.3d 85 (Mo. App. E.D. 2002); Home Builders Ass’n of Greater St. Louis v. St. Louis Co. BOE, 803 S.W.2d 636 (Mo. App. E.D. 1991); Pentecostal Church of God of America v. Hughlett, 601 S.W. 2d 666 (Mo. App. S.D. 1980); Barnes Hospital v. Leggett, 589 S.W.2d 241 (Mo. 1979); Missouri United Methodist Retirement Homes v. State Tax Comm’n, 522 S.W.2d 745 (Mo. 1975).
III. Dedicated Unconditionally to the Charitable Activity
The property must be used such that it is available to an indefinite group of people, rendered at cost or less, which brings their heats under the influence of education or lessens the burden of government. “The public nature of a charity is diminished when it is systematically denied to those who need and can least afford the service.” Evangelical Retirement Homes of Greater St. Louis, Inc. v. State Tax Comm’n, 669 S.W.2d 548, 554 (Mo. banc 1984).
IV. Benefit to Society
To fulfill the Franciscan test, the subject property must benefit society in general. Complainant has the burden to put forth substantial and persuasive evidence of how the subject properties benefit society.
The Hearing Officer is persuaded that Complainant meets all requirements of the Franciscan test. The subject property is both owned and operated on a not-for-profit basis. The fact that Complainant coordinates and solicits free outside services for its residents does not change this fact.
Like the subject property in the present appeal, the properties in Franciscan, Pentecostal Church of God v. Hughlett, 737 S.W.2d 728 (Mo. 1990), and Senior Citizens of Bootheel Services, Inc. v. Dover, 811 S.W.2d 35 (Mo. App. 1991), utilized HUD funding. The residential facilities in those cases were utilized for housing the elderly and disabled pursuant to an agreement with HUD. The Court cited Franciscan as the “seminal case for the proposition that the provision of housing for aged and handicapped persons who are unable to bear the full cost is a charitable purpose” is entitled to exemption. Id. In Pentecostal, the Court stated “Franciscan was designed to give general approval to housing projects for the elderly and handicapped. It should not be read grudgingly.” The Court rejected an argument that because the corporate entity did not make any gift it was not entitled to exemption.
The Hearing Officer is persuaded the evidence in the record as a whole established that the subject property is dedicated unconditionally to charitable activity. The subject property provides low-cost housing to low-income seniors. A service coordinator assists the subject property’s residents in obtaining outside services, connecting residents with community resources, and assisting the residents to maintain a good quality of life and to age in place. The aforementioned includes navigating health care systems, assistance with legal issues, educational and emotional support, and homemaker assistance. The service coordinator also reaches out to various community organizations for financial assistance for residents having difficulty paying rent. The cost to the tenants is limited to tenants as set forth above. Reasonable screening procedures are undertaken to maintain the safety, security, and welfare of the residents. No resident has been removed from the subject properties for failure to pay rent when the resident did not have the financial income to pay rent.
Finally, the Hearing Officer is persuaded the dominant use of the subject properties is charitable and that the charitable activities of Complainant benefit an indefinite number of people and directly or indirectly benefit society generally. Respondent asserts that no gift is given by Complainant, namely any monetary gift directly from Complainant. Charities may receive donations including money, goods, volunteer services, and outside services. Any money spent by a charity ultimately derives from the donation of another entity or person. Any services offered by a charity ultimately are paid for by the charity utilizing the donated money of another or donated by volunteers or other charities. A charity could solicit funds and then pay for services for the benefit of others or the charity could simply solicit the services at no charge to the charity. This is a distinction without a practical difference.
Complainant’s evidence was substantial and persuasive to establish the subject property met the charitable purposes test set forth above and to support exemption of the subject property as of January 1, 2019, for purposes of ad valorem taxation.
The subject property was exempt from ad valorem taxation under Article X Section 6 of the Missouri Constitution and Section 137.100 as of January 1, 2019, and the BOE decision is therefore SET ASIDE.
Application for Review
A party may file with the STC an application for review of this decision within 30 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, or emailed to Legal@stc.mo.gov, and a copy of said application must be sent to each person 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 Clay 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 February 12, 2021.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
Senior Hearing Officer
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been sent electronically or mailed postage prepaid this 12th day of February, 2021, to: Complainant(s) and/or Counsel for Complainant(s), the County Assessor and/or Counsel for Respondent and County Collector.
 All statutory references are to RSMo 2000, unless otherwise indicated.
 The Hearing Officer heard the appeal and drafted this Decision and Order prior to his departure from employment with the STC.