STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
|ROBERT C. ELLIOTT,||)
|v.||)||Appeal No. 17-20004|
|STEPHEN J. CONWAY, ASSESSOR,||)|
|CITY OF ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI,
DECISION AND ORDER
The decision of the City of St. Louis Board of Equalization (BOE) is SET ASIDE. Complainant Robert C. Elliott (Complainant) presented substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the BOE.
Complainant appeared pro se.
Respondent Stephen J. Conway, Assessor, City of St. Louis, Missouri, (Respondent) appeared by counsel Georganna Ekpo.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer Amy S. Westermann (Hearing Officer).
Complainant appealed on the ground of overvaluation. Respondent initially set the true value in money (TVM) of the subject property at $650,000, as residential property, as of January 1, 2017. The BOE valued the subject property at $650,000, thereby sustaining Respondent’s valuation. The State Tax Commission (STC) takes this appeal to determine the TMV for the subject property as of January 1, 2017.
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.
- Evidentiary Hearing. The issue of overvaluation was presented at an evidentiary hearing on February 22, 2018, at the St. Louis County Government Building, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, Missouri.
- Identification of Subject Property. The subject property is identified by parcel/locator number 5050-01-0190-0. It is further identified as 5211 Washington Place, St. Louis, Missouri. (Exhibits A and B; Exhibit 1)
- Description of Subject Property. The subject property consists of approximately 16,186 square foot (.37 acre) residential lot improved by a 5,900 square foot, two-and-a-half-story, single family home with detached garage and carriage-house apartment built in approximately 1903. (Exhibit A) The home includes five bedrooms; two full bathrooms; one half bathroom; a 1,966 square foot unfinished basement; 11 fireplaces; and a front porch, a patio/deck, and a second-story enclosed porch. (Exhibit A; Exhibit 1) The exterior consists of brick construction. (Exhibit 1) According to Complainant’s expert, the home had a quality rating of Q2, defined, in part, as “custom designed” with “high-quality exterior ornamentation, high-quality interior refinements, and detail” and “workmanship, materials, and finishes [that] are generally of high or very high quality.” (Exhibit A) According to Complainant’s expert the home had a condition rating of C4, defined, in part, as “minor deferred maintenance and physical deterioration due to normal wear and tear,” “adequately maintained,” “functionally adequate.” (Exhibit A) According to Respondent’s expert, the subject property had a quality of construction rating of average and a condition rating of good. (Exhibit 1)
- Assessment. Respondent set a TVM for the subject property of $650,000, residential, as of January 1, 2017.
- Board of Equalization. The BOE set a TVM of the subject property at $650,000, residential, as of January 1, 2017.
- Complainant’s Evidence. Complainant opined that the subject propety’s TVM as of January 1, 2017, was $510,000. To support Complainant’s opinion of value, Complainant offered as evidence the following exhibits:
|Exhibit A||Data for 11 comparable properties located in subject property’s neighborhood: lists of 2017 assessed value, last recorded sale date, sale price, and percent difference between sale price and 2017 assessed value; -4.7% average change in value for comparable properties sold from 2001 to 2017 and 128.1% change in value of subject property from 1997 to 2017; -8.2% average change in value for comparable properties sold between 2015 and 2017 and 29.9% change in value for subject property from 2015 to 2017; photographs of comparable properties; real estate information and assessment information||Hearsay, lacks foundation/authentication; Continuing objection on grounds information incomplete||Overruled given that information is available to public from government resources; ruling reserved for Decision and Order; hereby overruled – admitted to be given weight deemed necessary in light of all the evidence|
|Exhibit B||Appraisal Report of James M. Croak (Mr. Croak)||Relevance||Overruled – Admitted|
|Exhibit C||Appraisal Report of Barry A. Hough||Hearsay, lacks foundation||Sustained – excluded as hearsay/lack of foundation in that Barry A. Hough was not present to testify or to be cross examined regarding the report|
|Exhibit D||2015 Change of Assessment form for subject property; Property Record Card for subject property||None||Admitted|
|Exhibit E||Satellite view of subject property in relation to commercial properties behind rear alley||Lacks foundation because Complainant not an expert||Overruled – admitted to be given weight deemed necessary in light of all the evidence|
|Exhibit F||Aerial photographs of subject property and some comparable properties in relation to commercial properties behind rear alley||Hearsay, lacks foundation||Overruled – admitted to be given weight deemed necessary in light of all the evidence|
Complainant testified on his own behalf. Complainant testified that he had purchased the subject property in 1997 for approximately $285,000. Complainant testified that the subject property had been listed with a realtor and publicly advertised. Complainant testified that the subject property was not encumbered by a mortgage. Complainant testified that the subject property had not been listed for sale in the three years prior to the Evidentiary Hearing. Complainant testified that no offers to purchase the property had been made and that, if he were to list it for sale, he would price the subject property at $510,000. Complainant testified that the subject property had been appraised twice within the three years preceding the date of the Evidentiary Hearing, once in 2015 for $450,000 and once in 2017 for $510,000. Complainant testified that he made no improvements other than repairs/maintenance of less than $100 per occurrence between January 1, 2015, and January 1, 2017.
Complainant testified that location drives the value of a property. Complainant testified that the subject property backs to commercial properties, particularly an entertainment venue. Complainant testified that the proximity of the entertainment venue adversely affects the value of the subject property because of late-night noise and an undesireable view of the parking lot and building.
On cross examination, Complainant testified that the slate roof of the subject property was replaced in 2014 at a cost of $300,000. Complainant testified that roof had been damaged by hail and that the insurance company found the most affordable way to return to a watertight state was to replace the entire roof. Complainant testified that he was not certain if the new roof was a selling point for the home because he is not a licensed realtor.
Complainant also presented the testimony of his expert, Mr. Croak. Mr. Croak opined that the subject property’s TVM, $510,000, was based on market analysis of comparable properties in the area surrounding the subject property. Mr. Croak testified that the effective date of his appraisal was December 31, 2017. Mr. Croak testified that he was generally familiar with the City of St. Louis’ appraisal process. Mr. Croak testified that he had conducted an exterior appraisal and that the subject property backs to a commercial site, which might adversely affect land value.
On cross examination, Mr. Croak testified that he has been a state certified appraiser for 20 years and has been appraising properties for 27 years. Mr. Croak testified that 15% of his appraisals annually are in the area of the subject property. Mr. Croak reiterated that he had conducted an exterior-only inspection and assumed an average condition of the interior of the home. Mr. Croak testified that he would have made an adjustment for condition of the interior if the exterior had appeared inferior or superior. Mr. Croak testified that he had made an adjustment for the “double” lot size and for the carriage house apartment over the garage. Mr. Croak testified that his investigation of comparable sales revealed that no time adjustment was necessary for the effective date of the appraisal versus the relevant tax date.
In his report, Mr. Croak analyzed three comparable sales, all of which were .44 miles or less from the subject property. (Exhibit A) The sale prices of the comparables ranged from $322,000 to $590,000. The sale dates of the comparables ranged from August 2017 to December 2017. (Exhibit A) All of the comparable properties were similar to the subject property in that they all were two-and-one-half story, single-family homes built in the early 1900s; had between five and seven bedrooms and at least two full bathrooms; and had mostly-unfinished basements. (Exhibit A) Mr. Croak made market-based adjustments for the differences between the comparables and the subject property, in particular for specific bedroom and bathroom counts, gross living area, finished area in basements; lack of central air conditioning; lack of a garage; lack of a patio or a deck; lack of a carriage house apartment; fireplaces; and in-ground swimming pool. (Exhibit A) The adjusted sale prices of the comparables ranged from $479,600 to $538,240. (Exhibit A)
- Respondent’s Evidence. Respondent advocated that the BOE’s valuation $650,000 should be affirmed supported by an appraisal report showing a TVM of $750,000 as of January 1, 2017. Respondent offered as evidence the following exhibits:
|Exhibit 1||Appraisal Report of Real Property Appraiser 2 Chris Roth (Mr. Roth)|
Complainant did not object to Respondent’s exhibit, which was admitted into the record.
Mr. Roth testified that he had been employed by Respondent as an Appraiser 2 for two years and as an Appraiser 1 for 13 years prior to being promoted. Mr. Roth testified that his qualifications were listed in Exhibit 1, which stated that the Appraiser was not required to be licensed or certified as a real estate appraiser under Section 339.501.5(3).
Mr. Roth opined that the TVM of the subject property was $750,000 as of January 1, 2017. Mr. Roth testified that he used the sales comparison approach to arrive at an opinion of TVM for the subject property. Mr. Roth testified that the effective date of the appraisal was January 1, 2017; that the subject property was a “double lot”; that he had conducted an exterior inspection from the curb and the alley; and that he had reviewed many comparables, particularly those similar in size, condition, location, and with a carriage house apartment comprised of two bedrooms, one full bathroom, and one half bathroom.
On cross examination, Mr. Roth acknowledged that the assessed value of Comparable No. 1 had decreased from its 2015 purchase price of $637,500 by 22.5% but testified that he did not know the reason for the decrease. Mr. Roth testified that the assessed value of the subject property increased during the same timeframe because it had been under assessed previously and that investigation had revealed its TVM. Mr. Roth testified that the subject property is very large and is the largest house on the street. Mr. Roth testified that the overall condition of the home would affect its value but he had no objective evidence of the interior condition because he had not been permitted to perform an inspection. Mr. Roth acknowledged that the proximity of the entertainment venue to the subject property affected the TVM of the subject property.
In his report, Mr. Roth analyzed three comparable sales, all of which were situated within less than 10 blocks of the subject property. (Exhibit 1) The sale prices of the comparables ranged from $637,500 to $797,500. (Exhibit 1) The comparbles sold between June 2015 and August 2015. Mr. Roth made market-based adjustments to each of the comparables to account for the differences between them and the subject property. The adjusted sale prices of the comparables ranged from $742,500 to $810,000. (Exhibit 1) In the report, Mr. Roth noted that the comparables were the most similar sales found in the subject property’s neighborhood, were considered the most reliable indicators of value, and were located in the same marketing area. (Exhibit 1) Mr. Roth found Comparable No. 1 to be most similar in terms of location but gave Comparable No. 3 the most consideration due the similarities in the sizes and conditions of their carriage house apartments above the garages. (Testimony of the Appraiser; Exhibit 1)
- Presumption of Correct Assessment Rebutted– TVM Established. Complainant presented substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the BOE and to establish the TVM of the subject property as of January 1, 2017, to be $510,000.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DECISION
The STC 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 BOE, 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 (2000) as amended.
Investigation by Hearing Officer
In order to investigate appeals filed with the STC, 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 (2000) as amended. 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.
Board Presumption and Computer-Assisted Presumption
There exists a presumption of correct assessment by the BOE – the BOE presumption. The BOE presumption requires the taxpayer to present substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut it. If Respondent is seeking to prove a value different than that set by the BOE, then Respondent is required to rebut the BOE presumption. The BOE’s valuation is assumed to be an independent valuation.
The computer-assisted presumption can only come into play in those instances where the BOE has lowered the assessor’s original valuation of the subject property and Respondent is seeking to have the valuation returned to the assessor’s original valuation. If in a given appeal the Respondent is offering evidence that would establish a value less than the original valuation, then the computer-assisted presumption is not applicable to that appeal. Even if the BOE has reduced the valuation and the Respondent’s evidence is offered to increase the value, but not to the level of the original valuation, the computer-assisted presumption does not come into play.
If the BOE sustained the valuation of the assessor, the BOE presumption remains operative as to evidence which is presented by Complainant and Respondent. The computer-assisted presumption only comes into play if the BOE lowered the value of the assessor and Respondent is seeking to sustain the original assessment that was made as the result of a computer-assisted method.
In the present appeal, the BOE independently valued the subject property at the same amount as Respondent’s original assessment. Complainant is now seeking to lower the BOE’s valuation; therefore, the BOE presumption applies to Complainant. Respondent is not seeking to establish a different value than that set by the BOE but advocates that the BOE’s valuation should be sustained. The computer-assisted presumption does not apply under the circumstances.
Complainant’s Burden of Proof
To obtain a reduction in assessed valuation based upon an alleged overvaluation, the Complainant must prove the true value in money of the subject property on the subject tax day. Hermel, Inc., v. State Tax Commission, 564 S.W.2d 888, 897 (Mo. banc 1978). True value in money is defined as the price that the subject property would bring when offered for sale by one willing but not obligated to sell it and bought by one willing or desirous to purchase but not compelled to do so. Rinehart v. Bateman, 363 S.W.3d 357, 365 (Mo. App. W.D. 2012); Cohen v. Bushmeyer, 251 S.W.3d 345, 348 (Mo. App. E.D. 2008); Greene County v. Hermel, Inc., 511 S.W.2d 762, 771 (Mo. 1974). True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not in terms of value in use. Stephen & Stephen Properties, Inc. v. State Tax Commission, 499 S.W.2d 798, 801-803 (Mo. 1973). In sum, true value in money is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date. Hermel, Inc., 564 S.W.2d at 897.
“’True value’ is never an absolute figure, but is merely an estimate of the fair market value on the valuation date.” Drury Chesterfield, Inc., v. Muehlheausler, 347 S.W.3d 107, 112 (Mo. App. E.D. 2011), citing St. Joe Minerals Corp. v. State Tax Comm’n of Mo., 854 S.W.2d 526, 529 (Mo. App. E.D. 1993). “Fair market value typically is defined as the price which the property would bring when offered for sale by a willing seller who is not obligated to sell, and purchased by a willing buyer who is not compelled to buy.” Drury Chesterfield, Inc., 347 S.W.3d at 112 (quotation omitted).
A presumption exists that the assessed value fixed by the BOE is correct. Rinehart, 363 S.W.3d at 367; Cohen, 251 S.W.3d at 348; Hermel, Inc., 564 S.W.2d at 895. “Substantial and persuasive controverting evidence is required to rebut the presumption, with the burden of proof resting on the taxpayer.” Cohen, 251 S.W.3d at 348. Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Cupples Hesse Corp. v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959). Persuasive evidence is evidence that has sufficient weight and probative value to convince the trier of fact. Cupples Hesse Corp., 329 S.W.2d at 702. 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). See also, 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).
There is no presumption that the taxpayer’s opinion is correct. The taxpayer in a STC 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.” Westwood Partnership, 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. W.D. 1991).
Generally, a property owner, while not an expert, is competent to testify to the reasonable market value of his own land. Cohen, 251 S.W.3d at 348-49; Carmel Energy, Inc. v. Fritter, 827 S.W.2d 780, 783 (Mo. App. W.D. 1992). “However, when an owner’s opinion is based on improper elements or foundation, his opinion loses its probative value.” Carmel Energy, Inc., 827 S.W.2d at 783. A taxpayer does not meet his burden if evidence on any essential element of his case leaves the STC “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. E.D. 1980).
In this case, Complainant opined that the TVM of the subject property was $510,000 as of January 1, 2017.
Respondent’s Burden of Proof
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. Hermel, Cupples-Hesse, Brooks, supra
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 reasonably 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); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company v. STC, 436 S.W.2d 650 (Mo. 1968).
The Hearing Officer, as the trier of fact, may consider the testimony of an expert witness and give it as much weight and credit as deemed necessary when viewed in connection with all other circumstances. Beardsley v. Beardsley, 819 S.W.2d 400, 403 (Mo. App. W.D. 1991). The Hearing Officer, as the trier of fact, is not bound by the opinions of experts but may believe all or none of the expert’s testimony or accept it in part or reject it in part. Exchange Bank of Missouri v. Gerlt, 367 S.W.3d 132, 135-36 (Mo. App. W.D. 2012).
Complainant testified on his own behalf and presented the expert testimony and the report of Mr. Croak. Respondent presented the expert testimony and the report of the Appraiser. All of the witnesses were credible.
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. See, Nance v. STC, 18 S.W.3d 611, 615 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000); Hermel, Inc., 564 S.W.2d at 897; Xerox Corp. v. STC, 529 S.W.2d 413 (Mo. banc 1975). 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. 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. 1974).
“For purposes of levying property taxes, the value of real property is typically determined using one or more of three generally accepted approaches.” Snider v. Casino Aztar/Aztar Missouri Gaming Corp., 156 S.W.3d 341, 346 (Mo. banc 2005), citing St. Louis County v. Security Bonhomme, Inc., 558 S.W.2d 655, 659 (Mo. banc 1977). “Each valuation approach is applied with reference to a specific use of the property—its highest and best use.” Snider, 156 S.W.3d at 346-47, citing Aspenhof Corp., 789 S.W.2d at 869. “The method used depends on several variables inherent in the highest and best use of the property in question.” Snider, 156 S.W.3d at 347.
“Each method uses its own unique factors to calculate the property’s true value in money.” Id. “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. Id. at 348. “Comparable sales consist of evidence of sales reasonably related in time and distance and involve land comparable in character.” Id. (quotation omitted). “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.” Id.
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.
In this case, both Complainant’s evidence and Respondent’s evidence was substantial. Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Cupples Hesse Corp. v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959). Here, the testimony and the reports of both Complainant’s and Respondent’s experts were credible. Both experts based their reports on exterior inspections of the home, and both experts reviewed and analyzed overall similar comparable properties. Both experts made market-based adjustments to their comparables, particularly a sizeable adjustment for the lack of a carriage house apartment above the garage in some of the comparables (Complainant made a $40,000 adjustment while Respondent made a $50,000 adjustment). (Exhibit A; Exhibit 1)
However, upon scrutinizing their respective reports, Mr. Croak’s report is persuasive. Persuasive evidence is evidence that has sufficient weight and probative value to convince the trier of fact. Cupples Hesse Corp., 329 S.W.2d at 702. Mr. Croak based his opinion of the subject property’s TVM on analysis of three comparable sales that occurred closer in time to the relevant tax date, within 12 months or less following January 1, 2017, than the comparable sales contained in Mr. Roth’s report, which occurred 16 to 18 months prior to January 1, 2017. The adjusted sale prices of Complainant’s comparables ranged from $479,600 to $538,240. Complainant’s opinion of the TVM of the subject property, $510,000, fell squarely within that range. The adjusted sale prices of Respondent’s comparables, ranging from $742,500 to $810,000, were substantially higher than the adjusted sale prices of Complainant’s comparables and substantially higher than the BOE’s determination of value. Consequently, it is reasonable to conclude that the BOE’s determination of value was incorrect and that Complainant’s opinion of value is correct.
The TVM for the subject property as determined by the BOE is SET ASIDE. The assessed value for the subject property for tax year 2017 is set at $96,900 residential ($510,000 TVM).
Application for Review
A party may file with the STC 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, 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 the City of St. Louis, 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 July 31, 2018.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
Amy S. Westermann
Senior Hearing Officer
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been sent electronically or mailed postage prepaid this 31st day of July, 2018, to: Complainants(s) counsel and/or Complainant, the County Assessor and/or Counsel for Respondent and County Collector.
 According to the various real estate records in this case, the name of the street where the subject property is located varies from “Washington Avenue” to “Washington Boulevard” to “Washington Place.” For simplicity and consistency, “Washington Place” will be used for purposes of the Decision and Order.
 Respondent’s Exhibit 1 reported the size of the lot as approximately 16,078 square feet and the size of the home as 6,257 square feet. Exhibit 1 reported that the size of the home includes 357 square feet of room addition, but Exhibit 1 also reported that Respondent did not conduct an interior inspection and was unable to obtain the room count for the subject property, implying that Respondent’s calculation of square footage was an estimate.
 Complainant’s evidence showed that the subject property had no fireplaces, while Respondent’s evidence established that the subject property had 11 fireplaces. Upon review of the photographs contained in both Complainant’s and Respondent’s expert reports, the Hearing Officer is compelled to conclude that the subject property has multiple fireplaces given the presences of multiple chimneys on the exterior of the home. Therefore, the Hearing Officer is persuaded that Respondent’s evidence related to this detail is correct.