State Tax Commission of Missouri
NERRIT SCOTT & CATHI POSTMA,)
v.) Appeal Number 09-79004 & 09-79005
PLATTE COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
The subject properties are two substantially similar single-family dwellings valued by the Platte County Board of Equalization at $130,000 each.Because the properties are substantially similar and the evidence presented in each case is identical, the cases are combined for the purpose of discussion of evidence and determination of value.
The decision of the Platte County Board of Equalization is SET ASIDE.The Hearing Officer finds Complainants did not rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board.However, the evidence supporting the value recommended by Respondent at hearing is sufficient to overcome the presumption in favor of the Board.The true value in money for each of the subject properties for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $118,000, residential assessed value of $22,420.
Complainant Nerrit Scott Postma appeared pro se.
Respondent appeared in person and by her appraiser, Allen Hickman.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer Luann Johnson.
The Commission takes these appeals to determine the true value in money for the subject properties on January 1, 2009.
Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation and discrimination, the decision of the Platte County Board of Equalization, which set the value of the subject properties at $130,000 each (assessed value $24,700).Complainants proposed a value of $103,000 (assessed value of $19,570).Respondent proposed a value of $118,000 (assessed value $22,420). A hearing was conducted on October 22, 2009, at the Platte County Administration Building, Platte City, Missouri.
The issue of discrimination was dismissed during the hearing.
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
Complainants placed into evidence, as Complainants’ Exhibit A, a compilation of various sales and listings in the area.The Complainant, Scott Postma, is not an appraiser and the proposed comparables were not adjusted from similarity to the subject properties.But, the sales and listing demonstrate that there are a large number of foreclosed properties in the immediate area of the subject properties.Further, Complainants produced a letter from Peoples Bank indicating that the subject properties are located in a Special Flood Hazard Area requiring that Complainants maintain flood insurance on the subject properties.
Respondent placed into evidence the testimony of Mr. Allen Hickman, appraiser for Platte County.The appraiser testified as to his appraisal of the subject properties.The Appraisal Report, Exhibit 1 for Appeal Number 09-79004 and Exhibit 2 for Appeal Number 09-79005, were received into evidence.Mr. Hickman arrived at an opinion of value for each of the subject properties of $118,000 based upon a sales comparison approach to value.In performing his sales comparison analysis, the appraiser relied upon the sales of properties deemed comparable to the subject property.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction over these appeals is proper.Complainants timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Platte County Board of Equalization.
2.The subject property in Appeal No. 97-79004 is located at 7811 NW 122nd Street, Kansas City, Missouri.The property is identified by parcel number 17-6.0-13-300-001-084/000.The property consists of a 3,463 square foot lot improved by a one-story ranch, single-family structure of average quality construction.The house was built in 2005 and appears to be in average condition.The residence has a total of five rooms, which includes three bedrooms,two baths, and contains 1,373 square feet of living area.There is an attached two-car garage.The improvements sit on a slab.Complainants purchased the property for $113,000.Significant improvements were made after purchase.
3.The subject property in Appeal No. 97-79005 is located at 7715 NW 122nd Street, Kansas City, Missouri.The property is identified by parcel number 17-6.0-13-300-001-078/000.The property consists of a 3,312 square foot lot improved by a one-story ranch, single-family structure of average quality construction.The house was built in 2005 and appears to be in average condition.The residence has a total of five rooms, which includes three bedrooms,two baths, and contains 1,418 square feet of living area.There is an attached two-car garage.The improvements sit on a slab.Complainants purchased the property for $103,000.Significant improvements were made after purchase.
4.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2009, until the hearing date.
5.Complainants’ 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, 2009, to be $103,000, as proposed.Many of Complainants’ comparables involved manufactured homes which are not truly comparable to a stick built home.Also, Complainants were unable to adjust these proposed sales for areas of significant variation from the subject properties.
6.The properties relied upon by Respondent’s appraiser in performing his 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 three blocks of the subject properties.Each sale property sold at a time relevant to the tax date of January 1, 2009.The comparable 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.Three of the comparable sales were sales out of foreclosure, which reflect the depressed nature of the neighborhood.
7.The comparables were described as follows:
Comparable 1 (12316 N. Atkins) sold on January 16, 2009 for $135,000.This property consists of a 3,485 square foot lot improved by a one-story single-family structure of average quality construction.The house was built in 2005 and appears to be in good condition.The residence has a total of five rooms, which includes three bedrooms, two baths, and contains1,344 square feet of living area.The improvements are built upon a slab. There is an attached two-car garage.
Comparable 2 (7701 NW 122nd Street) sold on July 15, 2009 for $103,000.This property consists of a 3,052 square foot lot improved by a one-story single-family structure of average quality construction.The house was built in 2007 and appears to be in good condition. The residence has a total of five rooms, which includesthree bedrooms,two baths, and contains 1,344 square feet of living area.The improvements are built upon a slab.There is an attached two-car garage.
Comparable 3 (7709 NW 122nd Street) sold on September 15, 2009 for $103,250.This property consists of a 3,053 square foot lot improved by a one-story single-family structure of average quality construction.The house was built in 2005 and appears to be in good condition.The residence has a total of five rooms, which includesthree bedrooms,two baths, and contains 1,128 square feet of living area.The improvements are built upon a slab.There is an attached two-car garage.
Comparable 4 (12312 N. Atkins Ave.) is a listing for $133,000.This property consists of a 3,485 square foot lot improved by a one-story single-family structure of average quality construction.The house was built in 2007 and appears to be in good condition.The residence has a total of five rooms, which includes three bedrooms,two baths, and contains 1,394 square feet of living area.The improvements are built upon a slab.There is an attached two-car garage.
8.The appraiser made various adjustments to the comparable properties for differences which existed between the subject and each comparable.All adjustments appear to be appropriate to bring the comparables in line with the subject for purposes of the appraisal problem.
9.The net adjustments for Comparable 1 amounted to -$13,500 or 10.0% of the sales price. The net adjustments for Comparable 2 amounted to $0 or 0% of the sales price.The net adjustments for Comparable 3 amounted to +$4,900 or 4.7% of the sales price.The net adjustments for Comparable 4 amounted to -$13,000 or -9.8% of the list price.
10.The adjusted sales prices for the comparables calculated to $121,500, $103,000, $108,150 and $120,000, respectively.The appraiser determined a $118,000 value which calculated to a value per square foot of $85.94 compared with the sales prices per square foot of living area for the comparables of $100.44, $75.85, $91.53 and $95.41. 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.
11.Respondent’s evidence met the standard of substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the value of the subject properties, as of January 1, 2009, to be $118,000.
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.
Official and Judicial Notice
Courts will take judicial notice of their own records in the same cases.In addition, courts may take judicial notice of records in earlier cases when justice requires or when it is necessary for a full understanding of the instant appeal. Courts may take judicial notice of their own records in prior proceedings involving the same parties and basically the same facts.
Presumptions In Appeals
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Respondent’s Burden of Proof
Respondent, when advocating a value different from that determined by the original valuation or a valuation made by the Board of Equalization, must meet the same burden of proof to present substantial and persuasive evidence of the value advocated as required of the Complainant under the principles established by case law.
Complainants’ Burden of Proof
In order to prevail, Complainants 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.“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.”
Respondent Proves Value
Respondent presented substantial and persuasive evidence to establish a fair market value as of January 1, 2009, to be $118,000 each for these residential properties.Respondent’s appraiser developed an opinion of value relying upon an established and recognized approach for the valuation of real property, the sales comparison or market approach.The sales comparison approach is generally recognized to be the most reliable methodology to be utilized in the valuation of single-family residences.
The adjustments made the Mr. Hickman were consistent with generally accepted guidelines for the appraisal of property of the subject’s type.The adjustments properly accounted for the various differences between the subject and each comparable.The net and gross adjustments to the sale properties fell within a very narrow range from 0% to 10.0%.
The assessed valuation for the subject properties as determined the Board of Equalization forPlatte County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.
The assessed value for the subject property in Appeal Number 09-79004 for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $22,420.
The assessed value for the subject property in Appeal Number 09-79005 for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $22,420.
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.
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 December 2, 2009.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
Senior Hearing Officer
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid on this 2nd day of December, 2009, to:Nerrit Scott Postma, 14280 NW 64th Terrace, Parkville, MO 64163, Complainant; John Shank, 9800 N.W. Polo, Suite 100, Kansas City, MO 64153, Attorney for Respondent; Lisa Pope, Assessor; 415 Third Street, P.O. Box 20, Platte City, MO 64079; Sandra Krohne, Clerk, 415 Third, P.O. Box 30, Platte City, MO 64079; Donna Nash, Collector; 409 Third, P.O. Box 40, Platte City, MO 64079.
Barbara Heller, Legal Coordinator
 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. 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).
 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).
 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).
 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).
 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).