Ray Baldwin v. Jody Paschal, Assessor Callaway County

February 22nd, 2019

State Tax Commission of Missouri

RAY BALDWIN )  
  )  
              Complainant, )  
  ) Appeal No. 18-46502
v. ) Parcel/Loc. No. 10-03.0-06.0-00-000-002-000
  )  
JODY PASCHAL, ASSESSOR, )  
CALLAWAY COUNTY, MISSOURI, )  
  )  
               Respondent. )  

 

DECISION AND ORDER

HOLDING

            The assessment made by Respondent is AFFIRMED.  Ray Baldwin (Complainant) did not present sufficient grounds to state a claim that the subject property is exempt from ad valorem taxation because the subject property is owned pursuant to a land patent.

Complainant appeared pro se.

Respondent did not participate in the hearing.

Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer John Treu (Hearing Officer).

ISSUE

            Complainants timely appealed on the ground of exemption claiming property owned pursuant to a land patent is exempt.  On January 2, 2019, the appeal was dismissed for failure to state a claim.  Complainant timely filed a Motion to Set Aside Order of Dismissal and Reinstate Appeal.  On February 1, 2019, an Order Setting Hearing on Motion to Reinstate was issued.  A hearing date of February 20, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. was set.  At the hearing, Complainant asserted that the subject property is not subject to ad valorem taxation, as he owns it pursuant to a land patent.

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 over this appeal is proper.  Complainant timely appealed to the STC.
  2. Motion Hearing. The issue of exemption was presented at a motion hearing on February 20, 2019, at the Callaway County Courthouse, Fulton, Missouri.
  3. Identification of Subject Property. The subject property is identified by parcel/locator number 10-03.0-06.0-00-000-002-000.  It is further identified as 2508 County Road 183, Williamsburg, Missouri. (Complaint for Review)
  4. Description of Subject Property. The subject property consists of private property owned by Complainant.  No assertion is made that the subject property is used other than for private purposes.
  5. Respondent denied the exemption and assessed the subject property.
  6. Board of Equalization. Complainant made no appeal to the Board of Equalization based upon an assertion that a timely notice of increase of assessment was not sent.
  7. Complainant’s Evidence. Complainant asserts that the subject property is exempt from ad valorem taxation because Complainant owns it pursuant to a land patent.  To support his assertion, Complainant attached the following to his Motion to Set Aside Order of Dismissal and Reinstate Appeal:
Exhibit Description
A Notice of Certificate of Acceptance and Declaration of Land Patent
B Land Patent
C Land Patent
D Summary of Chain of Title showing 25 transfers of title

 

  1. Exemption Not Established. Complainant did not present sufficient grounds to state a claim that the subject property is exempt from ad valorem taxation under the Missouri Constitution.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DECISION

Jurisdiction

The Commission has jurisdiction to hear this appeal and correct any assessment which is shown to be unlawful, unfair, arbitrary, or capricious, including the application of any abatement.  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.  Article X, Section 14, Mo. Const. of 1945; Sections 138.430, 138.431, 138.431.4, RSMo.

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.  Article X, Sections 4(a) and 4(b), Mo. Const. of 1945.  The constitutional mandate is to find the true value in money for the property under appeal.  By statute, real property and tangible personal property are assessed at set percentages of true value in money:  residential property at 19%; commercial property at 32%; and agricultural property at 12%.  Section 137.115.5 RSMo.

Investigation by Hearing Officer

In order to investigate appeals filed with the Commission, the Hearing Officer may 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.  Section 138.430.2 RSMo.  The Hearing Officer’s decision regarding the assessment or valuation of the property may be based solely upon his inquiry and any evidence presented by the parties or based solely upon evidence presented by the parties.  Id.

Weight to be Given Evidence

The Hearing Officer is not bound by any single formula, rule or method in determining true value in money and is free to consider all pertinent facts and estimates and give them such weight as reasonable 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.

Exemption

Article X, Section 6 of the Missouri Constitution exempts from taxation all real and personal property of the state, counties and other political subdivisions and nonprofit cemeteries.  The Constitution also provides that all real and personal property, not held for private or corporate profit and used exclusively for religious worship, for schools and colleges, for purposes purely charitable, or for agricultural and horticultural societies may be exempted from taxation by general law.  The legislature by enactment of Section 137.100, RSMo has exempted property not held for private or corporate profit and used exclusively for religious worship, for schools and colleges, for purposes purely charitable, and for agricultural and horticultural societies.

Land Patent is a Deed

It has been long established that a “patent” for land is nothing more than a deed of the United States.  The operation of a “patent” as a deed is that of a quit claim, or rather of a conveyance of such interest as the United States possessed in the land.  Beard v. Federy, 70 U.S. 478.  A patent is not an exemption.

Discussion

            Complainant has presented no claim for exemption under the constitutional and statutory provisions of Missouri law.  There is no provision in the Missouri Constitution or Statutes which provides for real property to be exempt from ad valorem taxation because it is owned pursuant to a land patent.  Complainant cited to no Missouri case law recognizing land as exempt from taxation because it is owned pursuant to a land patent.  No such case law is known to exist.  Additionally, Complainant cited to no federal case law or statute, which requires individual states to exempt from ad valorem taxation private land, owned by an individual, which is used for private purposes, which is owned pursuant to a land patent.

Amendment X, United State Constitution provides:  “The powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”  There is no delegation to the federal government by the Constitution of authority to exempt real property from the ad valorem taxation of a state.  There is no prohibition in the Constitution against a state enacting ad valorem taxation.  Therefore, under Amendment X, the right to impose ad valorem taxation is reserved to the states and likewise the right to exempt real property from ad valorem taxation is reserved to the states.

There exist no state constitutional or statutory authority to grant an exemption as claimed by the taxpayer.  The Federal Constitution and Statutes do not grant an exemption from state ad valorem taxation of Complainant’s real property.  Accordingly, Complainant’s claim for exemption has no foundation in law and therefore, Complainant fails to state a legally cognizable claim for exemption.

ORDER

            The assessment made by Respondent is AFFIRMED.  Complainant did not present sufficient grounds to state a claim that the subject property is exempt from ad valorem taxation because the subject property is owned pursuant to a land patent.

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, MO  65102-0146, or emailed to Legal@stc.mo.gov, and a copy of said application must be sent to each person 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.  Section 138.432, RSMo.

Disputed Taxes

            The Collector of Callaway 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 February 22, 2019.

 

STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI

John J. Treu

Senior Hearing Officer

Certificate of Service

I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been sent electronically or mailed postage prepaid this 22nd day of February 2019, to: Complainant(s) and/or Counsel for Complainant(s), the County Assessor and/or Counsel for Respondent and County Collector.

Jacklyn Wood

Legal Coordinator