State Tax Commission of Missouri
PAUL & MARLENE SCHNEIDER,)
v.) Appeal No.11-32965
SCOTT SHIPMAN, ASSESSOR,)
ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the St. Charles County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE.Complainants did not present substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board of Equalization.Respondent’s evidence was substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment.
True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2011 and 2012 is set at $141,000, residential assessed value of $26,790.
Complainant Paul Schneider appeared pro se.
Respondent appeared by Assistant County Counselor, Joseph W. Smith.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.
Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the St. Charles County Board of Equalization, which sustained the valuation of the subject property.The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2011.The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the St. Charles County Board of Equalization.A hearing was conducted on April 10, 2012, at the St. Charles County Administration Building, St. Charles, Missouri.
2.Subject Property.The subject property is identified by map parcel number 6-006B-44-44-00-4, Assessor’s ID No. 061380A000 and is further identified as 117 Hunters Ridge, St. Charles, Missouri.The property consists of 12,330 square feet.It is improved by a single-family ranch-style residence built in 1976, containing 1,541 square feet of living area.The house has three bedrooms and three bathrooms.There is a full basement with 400 square feet of recreational area.
4.Complainant’s Evidence.Mr. Schneider testified at hearing to an opinion of value of $106,000, based on other homes that had sold.He requested to have until April 13, 2012, to submit comparable properties.Permission was given for the Complainants to submit comparable properties as requested.Respondent was given until April 20, 2012, to make any objections to the submission of Complainants.
On April 13th, Complainants submitted real estate data sheets on three properties.For purposes of identification, the three sheets are collectively marked as Exhibit A.On April 16th, Counsel for Respondent objected to the data sheets on the grounds of lack of foundation and hearsay.Objections are sustained.See, Complainants Fail To Prove Value, infra.
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, 2011, to be $106,000.
5.Respondent’s Evidence.Respondent presented Exhibit 1 – Appraisal Report of Tanya Fipps, State Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser.Exhibit 1 was received into evidence.Respondent’s evidence was substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and prove value of $141,000, Assessed residential value of $26,790.See, Respondent Proves Value, infra.
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.
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.The constitutional mandate is to find the true value in money for the property under appeal. By statute real and tangible personal property is assessed at set percentages of true value in money.In an overvaluation appeal, true value in money for the property being appealed must be determined based upon the evidence on the record that is probative on the issue of the fair market value of the property under appeal.
Presumption In Appeals
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the County Board of Equalization.This presumption is a rebuttable rather than a conclusive presumption.It places the burden of going forward with some substantial evidence on the taxpayer – Complainant.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.Complainant’s opinion of value, unsupported by any recognized valuation methodology did not constitute substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption and establish value.Respondent’s evidence was substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption and establish value.
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.True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use.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.
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.Missouri courts have approved the comparable sales or market approach, the cost approach and the income approach as recognized methods of arriving at fair market value.Complainants did not present an opinion of value derived from a recognized appraisal methodology.Respondent did present a valuation utilizing both the cost and sales comparison approaches to value.
Complainants Fail To Prove Value
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, 2011.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.”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.
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.
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 does not appear to be sufficient, the testimony should be rejected.”An opinion of value based upon unadjusted sales prices is not an opinion base upon proper elements and a proper foundation.No probative weight can be given to Mr. Schneider’s opinion of value.
Respondent’s objections to the tendered sales data sheets are sustained and the data sheets are excluded from evidence.Sale data sheets are hearsay.Appraisers are able to use and rely upon such data when developing an appraisal.However, there is no evidence to qualify Mr. Schneider as an expert in the appraisal of real property.The data sheets lack any foundation testimony from one recognized as an expert in appraisal.Accordingly, the owner’s testimony has no supporting documentation.Complainant’s failed to meet their burden of proof.
Respondent Proves Value
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.The Fipps appraisal developed both a cost approach and a sales comparison approach.The final conclusion of value was based on the sales comparison approach.The appraiser’s opinion of value was based upon a recognized appraisal methodology properly performed.Exhibit 1 and the testimony in support thereof constituted substantial and persuasive evidence to prove the value of $141,000.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization for St. Charles County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2011 and 2012 is set at $26,790.
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, 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 St. Charles 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, 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 May 21, 2012.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
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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 21stday of May, 2012, to:Paul Schneider, 117 Hunters Ridge, St. Charles, MO 63301, Complainant; Joseph Smith, Assistant County Counselor, 100 North Third Street, Room 216, St. Charles, MO 63301, Attorney for Respondent; Scott Shipman, Assessor, 201 North Second, Room 247, St. Charles, MO 63301-2870; Ruth Miller, Registrar, 201 North Second Street, Room 529, St. Charles, MO 63301; Michelle McBride, Collector, 201 North Second Street, Room 134, St. Charles, MO 63301.
Contact Information for State Tax Commission:
Missouri State Tax Commission
301 W. High Street, Room 840
P.O. Box 146
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0146
 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)
 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).
 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. 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).
 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).
 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).