State Tax Commission of Missouri
ROBERT R. PARRISH,)
v.)Appeal Number 07-62542
DON DAVIS, ASSESSOR,)
JASPER COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
AFFIRMING HEARING OFFICER DECISION
UPON APPLICATION FOR REVIEW
On March 27, 2008, Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor entered his Decision and Order (Decision) affirming the assessment by the Jasper County Board of Equalization.
Complainant timely filed (4/21/08) his Application for Review of the Decision.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Standard Upon Review
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).
The Hearing Officer as the trier of fact may consider the testimony of an expert or lay 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 or lay witnesses who testify on the issue of reasonable value, but may believe all or none of the testimony and accept it in part or reject it in part.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).
The Commission will not lightly interfere with the Hearing Officer’s Decision and substitute its judgment on the credibility of witnesses and weight to be given the evidence for that of the Hearing Officer as the trier of fact.Black v. Lombardi, 970 S.W.2d 378 (Mo. App. E.D. 1998); Lowe v. Lombardi, 957 S.W.2d 808 (Mo. App. W.D. 1997); Forms World, Inc. v. Labor and Industrial Relations Com’n, 935 S.W.2d 680 (Mo. App. W.D. 1996); Evangelical Retirement Homes v. STC, 669 S.W.2d 548 (Mo. 1984); Pulitzer Pub. Co. v. Labor and Indus. Relations Commission, 596 S.W.2d 413 (Mo. 1980); St. Louis County v. STC, 562 S.W.2d 334 (Mo. 1978); St. Louis County v. STC, 406 S.W.2d 644 (Mo. 1966).
A review of the record in the present appeal provides support for the determinations made by the Hearing Officer.There is competent and substantial evidence to establish a sufficient foundation for the Decision of the Hearing Officer.A reasonable mind could have conscientiously reached the same result based on a review of the entire record. The Commission finds no basis to support a determination that the Hearing Officer acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner or abused his discretion as the trier of fact and concluder of law in this appeal.Hermel, Inc. v. STC, 564 S.W.2d 888 (Mo. 1978); Black v. Lombardi, 970 S.W.2d 378 (Mo. App. E.D. 1998); Holt v. Clarke, 965 S.W.2d 241 (Mo. App. W.D. 1998); Smith v. Morton, 890 S.W.2d403 (Mo. App. E.D. 1995).Phelps v. Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer Dist., 598 S.W.2d 163 (Mo. App. E.D. 1980).
Complainant’s Application for Review was merely an argument against the conclusion of value reached by the Hearing Officer.Complainant failed to set forth any legal claim as a ground to find the Hearing Officer had abused his discretion or acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner.Complainant at hearing rejected the appraisal of Scott Stevens and placed no reliance on it in forming his opinion of value of $175,000.In the Application for Review, Mr. Parrish wants to offer it to establish the value of $207,500.
The Hearing Officer’s determination to give no weight to the Stevens appraisal was not in error.When an owner offers an appraisal but then does not use it to establish or support his opinion of value, as was done in this case, the appraisal report need not be given any probative weight as it has no relevancy to the owner’s opinion.It does not form the basis for the owner’s opinion.
Complainant also reasserts his argument that the value placed on the next door property by the Assessor should be the basis for the valuation of the property under appeal.The Hearing Officer properly rejected this argument in his Decision.The Commission does likewise.The valuation of a neighboring property by the Assessor does not establish true value in money for a property under appeal.Comparative assessment is not a methodology recognized by court decisions or by the Commission in appeals on the issue of overvaluation.
The Hearing Officer did not err in his determinations as challenged by Complainant.
The Commission upon review of the record and Decision in this appeal, finds no grounds upon which the Decision of the Hearing Officer should be reversed or modified.Accordingly, the Decision is affirmed.
Judicial review of this Order may be had in the manner provided in Sections 138.432 and 536.100 to 536.140, RSMo within thirty days of the date of the mailing of this Order.
The Collector of Jasper County, as well as the collectors of all affected political subdivisions therein, shall continue to hold the disputed taxes in this appeal pending an order of the Commission on whether a petition for judicial review has been filed.
SO ORDERED June 18, 2008.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
Bruce E. Davis, Chairman
Jennifer Tidwell, Commissioner
Charles Nordwald, Commissioner
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Jasper County Board of Equalization increasing the assessment made by the Assessor is AFFIRMED.Hearing Officer finds presumption of correct assessment not rebutted. True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2007 & 2008 is set at $221,160, residential assessed value of $42,020.
Complainant appeared pro se.
Respondent appeared by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Jeremy Crowley.
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, the decision of the Jasper County Board of Equalization, which increased the valuation of the subject property.The Assessor determined an appraised value of $256,420, assessed value of $48,720, as residential property.After an informal meeting, the value was reduced to $217,530, assessed value of $41,330.The Board increased the value to $221,160, assessed value of $42,020.Complainant proposed a value of $200,000, assessed value of $38,000, on the Complaint for Review of AssessmentA hearing was conducted on March 13, 2008, at the Jasper County Courthouse Annex,Carthage,Missouri.
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
Complainant testified in his own behalf.Exhibit A was received into evidence on behalf of Complainant.Exhibit A was an appraisal, by Scott L. Stevens, Missouri State Certified Residential Appraiser, of the property under appeal, dated October 31, 2007, and opining a value of $207,500.Mr. Stevens was not present to testify as to his appraisal.
Complainant also offered into evidence Exhibit B.Exhibit B consisted of a copy of the (1) Notice of Increased Assessment for 2007 on the subject property; (2) Informal Hearing Notice of Change in Assessed Value – 9/14/07; (3) letter of Complainant – 6/29/07; (4) Board of Equalization Notice of Change in Assessed Value – 10/15/07; & (5) letter of Complainant to Commission.Exhibit B was received into evidence.
Complainant stated his opinion of value as of January 1, 2007, to be $175,000.This opinion of value was based upon two reasons.First the house next to the subject was valued by the Assessor for $163,000.Second it was the owner’s opinion that his property could not be sold for $200,000.Mr. Parrish did not rely upon Exhibit A to establish fair market value.
Respondent offered into evidence the appraisal report (Exhibit 1) of Christine Meadows, appraiser for Respondent.The appraiser testified as to her appraisal of the subject property.Exhibit 1 was received into evidence.Exhibit 1 concluded on a value for the subject property of $221,160 based upon aMarshall and Swift cost analysis.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Jasper County Board of Equalization.
2.The subject property is located at 2830Illinois,Joplin,Missouri.The property is identified by parcel number 19-6.0-14-40-011-029.0.
3.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2007, to January 1, 2008.
4.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 $175,000.
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.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.
Presumption 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 Board’s valuation is erroneous and what the fair market value should have been placed on the property.Snider, Hermel & Cupples Hesse, supra.The testimony presented by Complainant in support of his opinion of fair market value did not rebut the presumption of correct assessment.
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.
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).There was no market evidence to support the opinion of value of $175,000 presented by Mr. Parrish.A valuation of a neighboring property by the Assessor is not a recognized methodology for establishing fair market value for ad valorem tax purposes.
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).Comparing the value placed on another property by the Assessor is not a methodology which is recognized by the courts or by the Commission for finding true value in money.
The opinion of the owner that the property would not sell for $200,000 is not supported by any market data. Therefore, no probative weight can be given to the owner’s opinion of $175,000.Mr. Parrish did not offer the Stevens appraisal report to support his opinion of $175,000 and did not in fact agree with its conclusion of value.Exhibit A appraised the property eleven months after the assessment date.Without testimony by the appraiser as to whether a time adjustment would have to be made for the January 1st valuation date, the appraisal report does not establish a value as of the assessment date.Furthermore, the Marshall and Swift cost approach presented by Mr. Stevens of an indicated value of $219, 200 is within less than 1% of the value determined by Respondent relying on the cost approach.
An owner’s opinion, unsupported by market data is not based upon proper elements or a proper foundation.Therefore, no probative weight could be given to the opinion of value presented by Complainant.Accordingly, the valuation set by the Board of Equalization must be affirmed.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization forJasperCountyfor the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2007 and 2008 is set at $42,020.
Complainant 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 Jasper 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.
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 March 27, 2008.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
W. B. Tichenor
Senior Hearing Officer