Randy & Roselinda Maxwell v. Strahan (Taney)

May 21st, 2012

State Tax Commission of Missouri






v.) Appeal No.11-89506











The assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE.Complainants presented substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the true value in money of the property under appeal as of January 1, 2011.

True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2011 and 2012 is set at $95,000, residential assessed value of $18,050.

Complainants appeared pro se

Respondent appeared by Counsel, Jason Coatney, Keck Austin, Springfield, Missouri

Case decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.


Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation, the Assessor’s 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.


1.                  Jurisdiction.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission.The procedural history of Complainants’ actions with regard to the 2011 assessment by Respondent is as follows:[1]

a.                   Notice of Change in Assessed Value of Real Property Received[2]


b.                  Called Assessor’s Office on 6/8/11 was advised to send letter with supporting documents to support request for lowering assessed value, with copy of appraisal.Was instructed to also include the request for appeal to Taney County Board of Equalization.Items were sent via email to sheiliab@co.taney.co.mo.us and christys@co.taney.mo.us and mailed by U. S. Postal Service to James E. Strahan, Assessor’s Office, P. O. Box 612, Forsyth, MO 65653.[3]


c.                   Called Taney County Clerk’s Office on 8/24/11 was informed that BOE had closed and would have to appeal to the Commission.Clerk stated there had been an administrative error on the county’s behalf in accepting Complainants’ appeal.


Complainants followed the instructions given by the Assessor’s Office.Assessor’s Office failed to properly forward the BOE Appeal form to the County Clerk.Complainants made a good faith effort to perfect their appeal to the BOE and were prevented from do so by the County’s administrative error.When a taxpayer follows the instructions provided by an assessor and submits a BOE Appeal to the assessor, the assessor assumes the responsibility of seeing that the appeal is timely and properly filed with the County Clerk.

2.Submission on Documents.By Order issued 12/27/11, the parties were to file and exchange Exhibits and Written Direct Testimony for their respective cases in chief.Complainants complied with said Order.Respondent did not file and exchange any Exhibits or Written Direct Testimony.Said Order allowed either party to object to the submission of the
case upon documents.No objection was filed by either party.Case is taken for Decision upon the documents filed by Complainants.

3.Subject Property.The subject property is identified by map parcel number 7-7-36-2-1-3.161 and is further identified as Branson Woods Cabins Unit 161, Branson, Missouri.4.Assessment.The Assessor assessed the property at a residential assessment of $25,870, a true value in money of $136,160.[4]

5.Complainants’ Evidence.Complainant’s submitted the following exhibits which are received into evidence.




Appraisal of Subject Property, dated 6/4/11 – Laura A. Melcher – $95,000


Change Notice on Subject Property, dated 5/18/11


Letter dated 6/8/12 – to Assessor from Complainants


Taney County Board of Equalization – Application to Appeal Property Assessment, dated 6/8/11


Notes on email addresses of Taney County employees


Email to Taney County employees with information on appeal of assessment, with notes, dated 8/24


FedEx Receipt on mailing to STC, dated 8/25/11


Letter dated 8/25/11 to STC from Complainants


Email to STC from Complainants, dated 10/20/11


Email to Complainants from STC, dated 12/27/11, with Order, dated 12/27/11


Complainant’s Narrative Testimony


FedEx Receipt on mailing to Counsel for Respondent, dated 1/13/12


FedEx Receipt on mailing to STC


There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2011, to January 1, 2012, therefore the assessed value for 2011 remains the assessed value for 2012.[5]

Complainants’ evidence was substantial establish the true value in money as of January 1, 2011, to be $95,000.

5.Respondent’s Evidence.Respondent did not submit any evidence on the issue of overvaluation.



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.[6]

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.[7]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.[8]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 no presumption that the Assessor’s assessment of the property under appeal is correct.[9]

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.[10]True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use.[11]It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.[12]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.[13]


The appraisal submitted by Complainants valued the subject property under the Standard For Valuation.[14]

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.[15]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.[16]Complainants’ opinion of value was based upon the sales comparison approach to value.

Complainants’ Prove Value of $95,000

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.[17]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.”[18]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.[19]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.[20]

Owner’s Opinion of Value

The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value.[21]In order for the owner’s opinion to be given probative value it must be based upon proper elements or a proper foundation.[22]An opinion of value based upon a timely appraisal report constitutes an opinion resting upon proper elements and a proper foundation.

Appraisal of Subject

In this case, the Complainants presented the appraisal performed by an independent, certified residential appraiser.The licensed appraiser determined a value of $95,000 using a sales comparison approach.The appraiser located three sales of Units in the subject development.The sales occurred from February 2010 to March 2011, with on sale occurring on 1/12/11.The comparable units were identical to the taxpayer’s unit with the exception of sales 2 and 3 in their gross living area.The square foot ranged from 576 to 1,255 square feet.The appraiser reviewed the market data and made adjustments for the living area and bath count.The net adjustments ranged from -13.04% to 18.82% providing adjusted sales prices of $90,300 to $100,000.The appraiser, after reviewing all information, concluded on a value of $95,000.

The only criticism of the appraisal is that the effective date is June 4, 2011 – 6 months after the ad valorem date.However, given that the valuation date is bracketed by the three sales and that two of the sales are within 3 months January 1, 2011.The difference between the appraisal date and the ad valorem date are in consequential.Accordingly, the value of $95,000 as proposed by the taxpayers is found to be the true value in money for the subject property as of January 1, 2011.


The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor for Taney 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 $18,050.

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.

Failure to state specific facts or law upon which the application for review is based will result in summary denial. [23]

Disputed Taxes

The Collector of Taney 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.


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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 21st day of May, 2012, to:Randy Maxwell, 1295 Hwy. 568, Ferriday, LA 71334, Complainant; Jason Coatney, 1112 E. Walnut, Springfield, MO 65806, Attorney for Respondent; James Strahan, Assessor, P.O. Box 612, Forsyth, MO 65653; Donna Neeley, Clerk, P.O. Box 156, Forsyth, MO 65653; Sheila Wyatt, Collector, P.O. Box 278, Forsyth, MO 65653.


Barbara Heller

Legal Coordinator


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


573-751-1341 Fax




[1] See, Exhibit K for narrative explanation, with reference to supporting exhibits.


[2] Notice dated 5/18/11, received by Complainants in Louisiana after that date.


[3] The mailing address is the address of record for the Assessor’s Office – The Missouri Roster – 2011-2012


[4] Exhibit B;Residential property is assessed at .19% of its true value in money (appraised value, fair market value) – Section 137.115.5, RSMo


[5] Section 137.115.1, RSMo.


[6] Article X, Section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, 138.431.4, RSMo.


[7] Article X, Sections 4(a) and 4(b), Mo. Const. of 1945


[8] Section 137.115.5, RSMo


[9] There shall be no presumption that the assessor’s valuation is correct – Section 138.431.4, RSMo.

[10] 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).


[11] 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).


[12] Hermel, supra.


[13] 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.


[14] Exhibit A, MARKET VALUE- p. 4 of 6


[15] See, Nance v. STC, 18 S.W.3d 611, at 615 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000); Hermel, supra;Xerox Corp. v. STC, 529 S.W.2d 413 (Mo. banc 1975).


[16] 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).


[17] Hermel, supra.


[18] 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).


[19] See, Cupples-Hesse, supra.


[20] Brooks v. General Motors Assembly Division, 527 S.W.2d 50, 53 (Mo. App. 1975).


[21] Rigali v. Kensington Place Homeowners’ Ass’n, 103 S.W.3d 839, 846 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003); Boten v. Brecklein, 452 S.W.2d 86, 95 (Sup. 1970).


[22] 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).


[23] Section 138.432, RSMo.