State Tax Commission of Missouri
|RICHARD & PAMELA PAYNE,||)|
|v.||)||Appeal No. 14-73002|
|JIM ANDERSON, ASSESSOR,||)|
|MORGAN COUNTY, MISSOURI||)|
DECISION AND ORDER
The assessments of Complainants’ automobiles are SET ASIDE as to the 2007 Dodge Ram Truck and AFFIRMED as to the 2011 Kia Optima. Substantial and persuasive evidence was presented to establish the true value in money for the both vehicles as of January 1, 2014, by Respondent, such being the Average Trade-In Values for the vehicles listed in the October 2013 issue of the NADA Used Car Guide.
True value in money for the subject automobiles for tax year 2014 is set at :
2007 Dodge Ram Truck $25,425 (assessed value of $8,475)
2011 Kia Optima $18,300 (assessed value of $6,100)
Complainant Pamela Payne appealed pro se.
Complainant Richard Payne did not appear.
Respondent appeared in person and noted that he and counsel had determined he would appear pro se.
Appeal heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer John Treu.
Complainants appeals the valuations of two automobiles. The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject personal property on January 1, 2014. The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
FINDINGS OF FACT
- Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper. Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission.
- Subject Property. The subject properties are a 2007 Dodge Ram Truck and a 2011 Kia Optima, identified in Assessor’s Account 011321535200.
- Assessment. The Assessor valued the 2011 Kia Optima using the statutorily required NADA guide, October 2013 issue and ascribed an assessed value of $6,100; however, appeared to round up by $15 the value of the 2007 Dodge Ram Truck and ascribed an assessed value of $8,480.
- Evidence. The NADA Official Used Car Guide October 2013 reports the average trade-in values for the 2011 Kia Optima as $18,300 and the average trade-in value of the 2007 Dodge Ram Truck as $25,425. (Exhibit 1 & 2). Complainants presented some evidence of potential high mileage on both vehicles as of January 1, 2014; however, no substantial and persuasive evidence was presented, by either party as to the NADA value adjustment for any high mileage number.
- Concluded Value. The true value in money of Complainants’ 2011 Kia Optima as of January 1, 2014 was $18,300. The true value in money of Complainants’ Dodge Ram Truck as of January 1, 2014 was $25,425. See, Hearing Officer Finds 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 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 and tangible personal property is assessed at set percentages of true value in money. Section 137.115 RSMo.
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). True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use. 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). 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:
- Buyer and seller are typically motivated.
- Both parties are well informed and well advised, and both acting in what they consider their own best interests.
- A reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market.
- Payment is made in cash or its equivalent.
- Financing, if any, is on terms generally available in the Community at the specified date and typical for the property type in its locale.
- 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.
Recommended Guide for Automobile Valuation
The assessor of each county and each city not within a county shall use the trade-in value published in the October issue of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association Official Used Car Guide, or its successor publication, as the recommended guide of information for determining the true value of motor vehicles described in such publication. In the absence of a listing for a particular motor vehicle in such publication, the assessor shall use such information or publications which in the assessor’s judgment will fairly estimate the true value in money of the motor vehicle. Section 137.115.9, RSMo
Complainants’ Burden of Proof and Respondent’s Evidence
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, 2014. Hermel, supra. 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.” 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).
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. Brooks v. General Motors Assembly Division, 527 S.W.2d 50, 53 (Mo. App. 1975). A taxpayer does not meet his/her burden if evidence on any essential element of his case leaves the Commission “in the nebulous twilight of speculation, conjecture and surmise.” See, Rossman v. G.G.C. Corp. of Missouri, 596 S.W.2d 469, 471 (Mo. App. 1980).
In the present case, the Commission is left “in the nebulous twilight of speculation, conjecture and surmise” regarding any issue of purported high mileage on the vehicles. As to both, Complainants provided a current odometer reading as of a certain date and then made an attempt to back into a mileage estimate, as of January 1, 2014, based upon average monthly miles driven. The undersigned also attempted to use such odometer reading and back into an odometer reading, as of January 1, 2014, based upon average daily use. However, both estimations require speculation, conjecture and surmise as to what the actual mileage reading was on each vehicle as of January 1, 2014.
More importantly, as stated above, no substantial and persuasive evidence was presented, by either party as to the NADA value adjustment for any high mileage number. Thus, the undersigned would have to partake in speculation, conjecture and surmise to reach a downward adjustment figure to assign to each vehicle, even if an actual mileage amount, as of January 1, 2014 had been proven.
Respondent presented evidence of the average trade-in value for each vehicle, based upon the NADA Official Used Car Guide October 2013.
High Mileage Adjustment
The final factor that must be addressed is the application of a mileage adjustment. The Assessor’s office does not apply mileage adjustments on any vehicles, but opts instead to simply use the average mileage NADA determines the vehicle should show for year, make and model. This is certainly appropriate for the mass assessment of automobiles. However, once an appeal has come before the Commission, it is appropriate to look at the actual mileage that a vehicle had at the time the October NADA value is being applied, namely, January 1 of the pertinent tax year. The high mileage must be taken into consideration when reaching the NADA Adjusted Trade-in value.
Nevertheless, as stated above, no substantial and persuasive evidence was presented as to the actual mileage of each vehicle on January 1, 2014. Estimates were presented; however, no evidence of the actual mileage as of January 1, 2014.
Hearing Officer Finds Value
The Hearing Officer considered the information provided by Complainants’ and Respondent and concluded on a values as follows:
2007 Dodge Ram Truck $25,425 (assessed value of $8,475)
2011 Kia Optima $18,300 (assessed value of $6,100)
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor for Morgan County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE in part and AFFIRMED in part.
The valuation of the 2007 Dodge Ram Truck should be set at $25,425 (assessed value of $8,475). The valuation of the 2011 Kia Optima should be set at $18,300 (assessed value of $6,100)
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. 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, 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. Section 138.432, RSMo.
The Collector of Morgan 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 26, 2015.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
John J. Treu
Senior Hearing Officer
Delivery or Notice was made via mail, email, fax, or personally on February 26, 2015 to the following Individuals of this Order
Richard & Pamela Payne, Complainants, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dustin Dunklee, Prosecuting Attorney and Attorney for Respondent, email@example.com
Jim Anderson, Assessor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathy Francis, Collector, email@example.com
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