State Tax Commission of Missouri
GEORGE & HELEN PRENDERGAST,)
v.)Appeal Number 07-79034
LISA POPE, ASSESSOR)
DECISION AND ORDER
The decision of the assessor, affirmed by the Board of Equalization, setting value at $200,500 (assessed value $38,095) is SET ASIDE.The value of $195,000 (assessed value $37,050) proposed by Respondent at hearing is adopted.
The issues in this case are discrimination and the true market value of a residential structure.
The subject property is a 4 bedroom home which was originally valued by the assessor at $200,500 (assessed value $38,095).Upon appeal, the Board of Equalization affirmed said value.Complainants appeal asserting a value of $165,000 (assessed value $31,350).At hearing, Respondent presented an appraisal report which indicated a value of $195,000 (assessed value $37,050).An evidentiary hearing was held on May 27, 2008, in thePlatteCountyAdministrationBuildingbefore senior hearing officer Luann Johnson.Complainants appeared pro se.Respondent appeared by counsel, John Shank.
The following exhibits were entered into the record:
Exhibit 1 –A packet containing the Complainant’s arguments; floor plans; proposed comparable sale; and demonstrating the assessments in the neighborhood.
Exhibit A – Appraisal Report
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction is proper.Complainants timely filed their appeal from the decision of the Platte County Board of Equalization.
2.The subject property is 9,730 square foot lot improved with a 2,359 square foot one and one-half story, four bedroom, two and one half bath, home built in 1976.The improvements are well maintained, showing an effective age of 15 years.The property is identified as parcel number 19-3.0-08-300-011-011.000, more commonly known as 4703 NW80th Terrace,Kansas City,Platte County,Missouri.
3.Respondent’s appraiser found sales of three similar homes which sold for $200,000, $186,000 and $205,000.These homes sold between February 2006 and July 2006 and were located within three block of the subject property.Respondent’s appraiser adjusted for room count, square footage, basement finish, and garages.After adjustments, these properties indicated a range of value for the subject property between $187,120 and $212,640.Based upon these sales, Respondent’s appraiser determined a market value for the subject property of $195,000 on January 1, 2007.Respondent’s evidence is substantial and persuasive.
4.Complainants presented no appraisal report in support of their opinion that the correct market value for the property was only $165,000 on January 1, 2007.Complainants’ submitted four MLS sheets showing properties that had sold in the area for the purpose of showing the sales prices of the properties and the premise that the properties sold for less than the original listing prices.We note that of those four MLS sheets, one indicated that the “home needs much updating”; one indicated that the home was in foreclosure; and one indicated that the home was a HUD home.These homes are either not comparable to the subject or do not clearly represent market sales.Complainants have failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence in support of their opinion of value.
5.Complainants argued that their assessed value had increased 48% between 2006 and 2007, which they argue was excessive.An assessment is excessive only if it overstates market value.In this instance, where it appears that the assessment closely represents market value, the percentage of increase will not cause the assessment to be set aside.
6.Finally, Complainants argue that they feel they were treated in a discriminatory manner because they were told that some taxpayers were able to get their assessments lowered just by making a phone call.Counties are encouraged to use informal means to resolve tax disputes wherever possible.However, it is not discriminatory for the County to refuse to change assessments which they feel are correct.In the event that the disagreements cannot be resolved informally, the taxpayers have the option to appeal to the State Tax Commission.These taxpayers have taken advantage of their right to impartial review of their assessment.This does not rise to the level of an unlawful or discriminatory assessment.
7.No evidence was presented which suggested that any new construction or property improvements occurred between January 1, 2007, and January 1, 2008.Therefore the value determined for tax year 2007 shall also be the value determined for tax year 2007.
8.The true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2007, and
January 1, 2008, is $195,000 (assessed value $37,050).
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lang=EN-CA style=’mso-ansi-language:EN-CA’>CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Highest and Best Use
True value in money is the fair market value of the property on the valuation date, and is a function of its highest and best use, which is the use of the property which will produce the greatest return in the reasonably near future.
It is true that property can only be valued according to a use to which the property is readily available.But this does not mean that in order for a specific use to be the highest and best use for calculating the property’s true value in money, that particular use must be available to anyone deciding to purchase the property. . . .A determination of the true value in money cannot reject the property’s highest and best use and value the property at a lesser economic use of the property.
True Value in Money
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 purchased by one who is desiring to purchase but who is not compelled to do so.It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.
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Where there is a claim of discrimination based upon a lack of valuation consistency, Complainants have the burden to prove:
1.The level of assessment for the subject property in 2007.This is done by independently determining the market value of the subject property and dividing the market value into the assessed value of the property as determined by the assessor’s office.
2.The average level of assessment for residential property in Platte County in 2007.This is done by (a) independently determining the market value of a representative sample of residential properties in Platte County; (b) determining the assessed value placed on the property the assessor’s office for the relevant year; (c)dividing the assessed value by the market value to determine the level of assessment for each property in the sample; and (d) determining the mean and median of the results.
Taxpayer has Burden of Proof
Taxpayers were the moving parties seeking affirmative relief, and as such, they bore the burden of proving the vital elements of their case, i.e., the assessments were “unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary or capricious.” To prevail, Taxpayers had to “present an opinion of market value and then … present substantial and persuasive evidence that the proposed value is indicative of the market value of the subject property on tax day.”
Substantial and Persuasive Evidence
Substantial evidence is that evidence which, if true, has probative force upon the issues, i.e., evidence favoring facts which are such that reasonable men may differ as to whether it established them, and from which the Commission can reasonably decide an appeal on the factual issues.
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.
Comparable Sales Approach
The comparable sales approach uses prices paid for similar properties in arms-length transactions and adjusts those prices to account for differences between the properties.Comparable sales consist of evidence of sales reasonably related in time and distance and involve land comparable in character.This approach is most appropriate when there is an active market for the type of property at issue such that sufficient data is available to make a comparative analysis.
In order to prevail on a claim of overvaluation, Complainants must present an opinion of value and then present substantial and persuasive evidence tending to demonstrate that their opinion of value is supported by market evidence.Complainants have failed to meet this burden of proof.
In order to prevail on a claim of discrimination, Complainants must first prove the value of their property and then prove that a statistically significant number of other residential properties in the County are being valued at a lower percentage of market value than the subject property.Complainants have failed to meet this burden.
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The assessed value determined by the Board of Equalization, is SET ASIDE.The Clerk is ORDERED to place a new value of $195,000 (assessed value $37,050), on the books for tax years 2007 and 2008.
A party may file with the Commission an application for review of a hearing officer decision within thirty (30) days of the mailing of such decision.The application shall contain specific detailed 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.
If an application for review of a hearing officer 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.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 Platte 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.If any protested taxes have been disbursed pursuant to Section 139.031(8), RSMo, either party may apply to the circuit court having jurisdiction of the cause for disposition of the protested taxes held by the taxing authority.
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 August 22, 2008.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
Senior Hearing Officer
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid this 22nd day of August, 2008, to:George Prendergast, 4703 N.W. 80th Terrace, Kansas City, MO 64151, 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.