Smith & Newby Berkley v. Zimmerman (SLCO)

April 30th, 2013

State Tax Commission of Missouri




Complainant, )


v. ) Appeal No. 05-11033





Respondent. )







St. Louis County Board of Equalization’s assessment SET ASIDE. On December 26, 2012, Complainant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. Assessor filed a reply stating that they were not contesting the motion and would stipulate to the Complainant’s Exhibit as to valuation.

True value in money and assessment ratio for the subject property for tax year(s):

Tax Year

True Value

Assessment Ratio

Assessed Value






Complainant represented by counsel Attorney Thomas Campbell.

Respondent represented by Attorney Edward Corrigan.

Case decided by State Tax Commission.


Complainant appeals, on the ground(s) of overvaluation and discrimination, the decision of the County Board of Equalization. Having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, the following Decision and Order is entered.


1. Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper. Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the County Board of Equalization.

2. Motion for Summary Judgment. The Complainant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on December 26, 2012.

3. Subject Property. The subject property is identified by map parcel number: 10k520211 and is further identified as 8942 Latty Ave, St. Louis, Missouri.

4. Valuation and Assessment. The County Board of Equalization determined the valuation and assessment of the property as:


True Value

Assessment Ratio

Assessed Value






5. 2005 Ratio. The State Tax Commission in West County BMW v. Muehlheausler, STC Number 05-12569, (Decision and Order, including the findings of fact and conclusions of law therein, is incorporated by reference, as if set out in full, in this final decision of the Commission) found the weighted median of 25% as the commercial ratio assessment.



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.[1]

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.[2] 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.[3]

Presumption In Appeals and True Value

There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the County Board of Equalization.[4] This presumption is a rebuttable rather than a conclusive presumption. It places the burden of going forward on the taxpayer – Complainant.

The presumption of correct assessment is rebutted when the taxpayer presents substantial and persuasive evidence to establish that the Board’s valuation is erroneous and what the fair market value should have been placed on the property.[5]

In this case, the Complainant has set forth in their Motion for Summary Judgment that the Board of Equalization’s determination of value is the true value of the subject property and the Respondent did not present any evidence as to the valuation of the property. Therefore, the Board of Equalization’s determination of true value is sustained.


In order to obtain a reduction in assessed value based upon discrimination, the Complainant must (1) prove the true value in money of their property on January 1, 2005; and (2) show an intentional plan of discrimination by the assessing officials resulting in an assessment of that property at a greater percentage of value than other property, generally, within the same class within the same taxing jurisdiction or show that the level of an assessment is so grossly excessive as to be inconsistent with an honest exercise of judgment. [6]

The Complainant submitted evidence showing the true value to be $1,800,000. It was previously found by the Commission that the average assessment ratio for the county for

January 1, 2005, was 25% rather than the statutorily mandated 32%. At 25%, the assessed value for the subject property should have been $450,000. Instead, the assessed value for the subject property, as determined by the Board of Equalization, was $576,000.


The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization for St. Louis County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE.

The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2005 and 2006 is set at $160,000.

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 Decision.

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. If no judicial review is made within thirty (30) 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.

If any or all protested taxes have been disbursed pursuant to Section 139.031(8), RSMo, Complainants may apply to the circuit court having jurisdiction of the cause for disposition of the protested taxes held by the taxing authority.

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 April 30, 2013.



Bruce E. Davis, Chairman


Randy Holman, Commissioner


Victor Callahan, Commissioner

Certificate of Service


I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid on this 30th day of April, 2013, to: Thomas Campbell, 100 South Fourth Street, Suite 1000, St. Louis, MO 63102, Attorney for Complainant; Edward Corrigan, Associate County Counselor, Attorney for Respondent, County Government Center, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, MO 63105; Jake Zimmerman, Assessor, County Government Center, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, MO 63105; Eugene Leung, Acting Collector, County Government Center, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, MO 63105.


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


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


[3] Section 137.115.5, RSMo


[4] Hermel, Inc. v. STC, 564 S.W.2d 888, 895 (Mo. banc 1978); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Co. v. STC, 436 S.W.2d 650, 656 (Mo. 1968); May Department Stores Co. v. STC, 308 S.W.2d 748, 759 (Mo. 1958)


[5] Hermel, supra; Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959)


[6] Savage v. State Tax Commission, 722 S.W.2d 72 (Mo. banc 1986); Westwood Partnership v. Gogarty, 103 S.W.3d 152 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003.)