State Tax Commission of Missouri
|v.||)||Appeal Number 15-56000|
|ALICIA MILLER-DEGASE, ASSESSOR,||)|
|DOUGLAS COUNTY, MISSOURI,||)|
ORDER AFFIRMING HEARING OFFICER DECISION
On November 2, 2015, Senior Hearing Officer John Treu issued his Order dismissing the appeal for failing to state a claim. Complainant timely filed an Application for Review.
Standard Upon Review
A party subject to a Decision and Order of a Hearing Officer with the State Tax Commission may file an application requesting the case be reviewed by the Commission. The Commission may then summarily allow or deny their request. The Commission may affirm, modify, reverse or set aside the decision. The Commission may take any additional evidence and conduct further hearings.
DISCUSSION AND RULING
The State Tax Commission has authority to hear appeals from the County Board of Equalization on the claims of overvaluation, discrimination, classification, exemption, or a combination of these issues. There are three elements that must be proven in every appeal:
- The taxpayer has standing to bring the appeal;
- The assessment was formerly appealed to the local board of equalization; and
- The appeal to the Commission was made in a timely and proper manner.
Additionally, the true value in money, classification, and assessment placed on the property by the board of equalization should be made a part of the record.
The taxpayer in the overvaluation case is asserting that the property has been valued above its true value in money by the board of equalization. This is the most common type of appeal before the Commission. The taxpayer must establish the three elements set forth above and the market value of the property as of January 1 of the appropriate tax year.
An appeal claiming discrimination is based on the constitutional requirement that “taxes . . . be uniform upon the same class or subclass of subjects . . . .” Mo. Const. of 1945, art. X, § 3 (amended 1982). The taxpayer in a uniformity case is asserting that, because assessments are not uniform, he or she is being denied equal protection because the subject property is being assessed at a higher level or ratio of true value than the other property in the same class of property in the jurisdiction. In addition to the three elements set forth above, the taxpayer in this claim must also establish:
- The true value in money of the subject property on the tax day;
- The average level of assessment for the relevant subclassification of property in the taxing jurisdiction; and
- The disparity between the subject property’s level of assessment and the average level of assessment for that subclassification is excessive.
Misclassification is a third type of claim for which the State Tax Commission has jurisdiction. Real property may be subclassified as subclass 1, residential property; subclass 2, agricultural and horticultural property; and subclass 3, commercial and all other property. Mo. Const. of 1945, art. X, § 4(b). The taxpayer may bring an appeal based on the allegation that the subject property has been misclassified. The claim may be that real property has been misclassified as personal property or vice versa. The more common case is one in which the taxpayer claims that the subject real property has been improperly subclassified. In addition to the three elements previously stated, a taxpayer must also establish the correct classification or grade for the subject property.
The last claim is an exemption case alleges that the subject property is not subject to tax in Missouri because it falls within a category of property that has been specifically exempted from taxation by statute or by the Missouri Constitution. The crucial element in an exemption case is to show that the property is either owned by a political subdivision of the state or is used for exempt purposes. Exemption statutes are strictly construed against the taxpayer. Tiger v. State Tax Comm’n, 277 S.W.2d 561 (Mo. 1955); American Bridge Co. v. Smith, 179 S.W.2d 12 (Mo. 1944); Mississippi River Fuel Corp. v. Smith, 164 S.W.2d 370 (Mo. 1942).
Taxpayer Fails to State a Recognizable Claim
The taxpayer states on his Complaint for Review the following ground for appeal:
“NO ‘person” or state entity has possessory interest in property, has no tax situs within County, State or state, is neither franchised, corporate, encumbered, not partially owned Property NOT TITLED in or within County of Douglas or State of Missouri (See ‘Letters’-Missouri Attorney General). County of Douglas Commissioners and Assessor are without personal or Subject Matter Jurisdiction and authority to assess Real Property/Real Estate Taxes on Private Property of plaintiff lawfully seized of an unencumbered indefeasible estate in fee. Title Holder and Private Property are neither franchised, nor corporate, nor resident within the corporate jurisdiction of County of Douglas or State of Missouri.”
The State Tax Commission is empowered as well as limited by the authority granted in the Missouri Revised Statutes. The Commission has not been granted the authority to determine any claim of appeal other than valuation, discrimination, classification and exemption as set forth under Section 137.100 RSMo.
The Decision and Order of the Hearing Officer, is AFFIRMED. Appeal was properly dismissed for failure to state a claim in which the State Tax Commission has jurisdiction.
Judicial review of this Order may be had in the manner provided in Sections 138.432 and 536.100 to 536.140, RSMo within thirty days of the mailing date set forth in the Certificate of Service for this Order.
If judicial review of this decision is made, any protested taxes presently in an escrow account in accordance with this appeal shall be held pending the final decision of the courts unless disbursed pursuant to Section 139.031.8, RSMo.
If no judicial review is made within thirty days, this decision and order is deemed final and the Collector of St. Louis 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.
SO ORDERED this 5th day of January, 2016
STATE TAX COMMISSION
Bruce E. Davis, Chairman
Randy Holman, Commissioner
Victor Callahan, Commissioner
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been sent electronically or mailed postage prepaid this 5th day of January, 2016, to: Complainants(s) counsel and/or Complainant, the county Assessor and/or Counsel for Respondent and county Collector.
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