STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
|STEVEN L. SHANKER,||)|
|Complainant,||)||Appeal No. 20-32541|
|)||Account No. 75848100|
|SCOTT SHIPMAN, ASSESSOR,||)|
|ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MISSOURI||)|
DECISION AND ORDER
Steven L. Shanker (Complainant) appeals the St. Charles County Board of Equalization’s (BOE) decision finding the true value in money (TVM) of the subject property on January 1, 2020, was $28,600, with an assessed value of $9,532. Complainant claims the personal property is overvalued and proposes a value of $27,170. Complainant did not produce substantial and persuasive evidence establishing overvaluation. The BOE’s decision is affirmed.
The evidentiary hearing was conducted on August 5, 2021, via WebEx video conference. Complainant appeared pro se. Respondent was represented by counsel Amanda Jennings.
FINDINGS OF FACT
- Subject Property. The subject property is part of the personal property identified by account number is 75848100.
The subject property consists of a 2019 Subaru Forester Wagon 5D Touring AWD. Complainant purchased the subject property through Costco’s automobile buying program on March 12, 2019, for $33,857.50, which includes an administrative fee of $199.50, a temporary tag fee of $7.50, and a service contract expense of $1,200. (Tr. 2:45-3:22, 29:19-31:50.)
- Respondent and BOE. Respondent determined the TVM for the subject personal property for the 2020 tax year was $28,600. The BOE independently determined the TVM was $28,600.
- Complainant’s Evidence. Complainant asserts the TVM of the subject property for the 2020 tax year was $27,170. Complainant testified in support if his opinion of value and submitted the following exhibits:
|A||Photograph of the subject property, driver’s side rear quarter panel and wheel damage, taken on accident date, August 6, 2019.||Admitted|
|B||Photograph of the subject property, wheel damage, taken on August 6, 2019.||Admitted|
|C||Photograph of front of the subject property.||Admitted|
|D||Photograph of portion of driver’s side/front of the subject property.||Admitted|
|E||Photograph of back of the subject property.||Admitted|
|F||Photograph of passenger side of the subject property.||Admitted|
|G||Photograph of driver side front seat interior of the subject property.||Admitted|
|H||Photograph of driver side backseat interior of the subject property.||Admitted|
|I||Photograph of passenger side front seat interior of the subject property.||Admitted|
|J||Photograph of passenger side backseat interior of the subject property.||Admitted|
|K||Photograph of interior of the back of the subject property.||Admitted|
|L||Copy of front and pages II, III, IV, and V of J.D. Power Official Used Car Guide, Central Edition, 2013-2021, Passenger Cars and Light-Duty Trucks.||Admitted|
|M||Internet printout of CARFAX vehicle history reports information from https://www.carfax.com.||Admitted|
|N||Photograph of damage to the subject vehicle.||Admitted|
|O||Three-page document indicating how to calculate diminished value.||Admitted|
|P||Excel spreadsheet of diminished value basis and calculation prepared by Complainant.||Admitted|
|Q||Photograph of most of St. Peters Police Department incident report involving the subject property and dated 8/6/2019.||Admitted|
|R||A cover letter prepared by Complainant that explains his position and exhibits.||Admitted|
Respondent objected to Exhibits L, M, and O. Exhibits A through R were received into evidence to be given the weight deemed appropriate.
- Respondent’s Evidence. Respondent presented the testimony of Michele Baumgartner, the personal property manager of Respondent’s office, and submitted Exhibits 1 and 2. Exhibit 1 is a two-page JD Power printout indicating the NADA (National Automobile Dealers’ Association) average trade-in value for the subject vehicle as of October 1, 2019, is $28,600, and includes a definition for “Average trade-in” and other terms. Exhibit 2 is a three-page estimate from Carstar Jungerman for the subject vehicle with a highlighted portion indicating that the subject property was “out” October 4, 2019.
- Value. The TVM of the subject property on January 1, 2020 was $28,600, with an assessed value of $9,532.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
- Assessment and Valuation. Motor vehicles not registered as historic motor vehicles are assessed at 33 and 1/3 % of their TVM as of January first of each year. Section 137.115.1. To determine the TVM, “the trade-in value published in the October issue of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association Official Used Car Guide” is “the recommended guide of information.” Section 137.115.9. For vehicles more than two years older than the model year, a value more than the average trade-in value can be used only if the assessor performs a physical inspection of such vehicle. Id. For newer vehicles within two years of the model year, the “assessor may use a value other than average without performing a physical inspection of the motor vehicle.” Id. “True value in money means the fair market value of the property on the valuation day.” Snider v. Casino Aztar/Aztar Mo. Gaming Corp., 156 S.W.3d 341, 351 (Mo. banc 2005). The fair market value is “the price which the property would bring from a willing buyer when offered for sale by a willing seller.” Mo. Baptist Children’s Home v. State Tax Comm’n, 867 S.W.2d 510, 512 (Mo. banc 1993). Determining the TVM is a factual issue for the STC. Cohen v. Bushmeyer, 251 S.W.3d 345, 348 (Mo. App. E.D. 2008). The “proper methods of valuation and assessment of property are delegated to the Commission.” Savage v. State Tax Comm’n, 722 S.W.2d 72, 75 (Mo. banc 1986).
- Evidence. The hearing officer is the finder of fact and determines the credibility and weight of the evidence. Kelly v. Mo. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., Family Support Div., 456 S.W.3d 107, 111 (Mo. App. W.D. 2015). 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.
- Complainant’s Burden of Proof. The taxpayer bears the burden of proof and must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the property was overvalued or misclassified. Westwood P’ship v. Gogarty, 103 S.W.3d 152, 161 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003). The BOE’s valuation is presumptively correct. Tibbs v. Poplar Bluff Assocs. I, L.P., 599 S.W.3d 1, 7 (Mo. App. S.D. 2020). The “taxpayer may rebut this presumption by presenting substantial and persuasive evidence that the valuation is erroneous” and must prove “the value that should have been placed on the property.” Id. “Substantial evidence is that evidence which, if true, has probative force upon the issues, and from which the trier of fact can reasonably decide the case on the fact issues.” Savage, 722 S.W.2d at 77 (internal quotation omitted). Evidence is persuasive when it has “sufficient weight and probative value to convince the trier of fact.” Daly v. P.D. George Co., 77 S.W.3d 645, 651 (Mo. App. E.D. 2002); see also White v. Dir. of Revenue, 321 S.W.3d 298, 305 (Mo. banc 2010) (noting the burden of persuasion is the “party’s duty to convince the fact-finder to view the facts in a way that favors that party”).
- Complainant Did Not Prove Overvaluation. Complainant did not produce substantial and persuasive evidence establishing that the BOE’s valuation was erroneous and that Complainant’s opinion of value, $27,170, was the TVM of the subject property as of January 1, 2020. Complainant has provided a detailed letter that explains his position, Exhibit R, and supporting evidence, including Exhibit P, an Excel spreadsheet that details his calculation of value. However, Complainant’s evidence does not persuasively show that Complainant’s initial value as listed in Exhibit P, “Market Value (per Assessor) $28,600,” should be adjusted downward to determine the TVM. While the evidence establishes that the subject property suffered damage in an August 6, 2019, accident, the evidence also shows that the subject property was repaired prior to the January 1, 2020, valuation date. Further, Exhibit 1 and related testimony establish that the $28,600 value is the NADA average trade-in value as of October 1, 2019, (Ex. 1 at 1; Tr. 41:33-42:20), and that an average trade-in value reflects a vehicle with, among other things, “paint, body and wheel surfaces” with “moderate imperfections” as well as “an average finish and shine which can be improved with restorative repair.” (Ex. 1 at 2; Tr. 42:20-43:34) Under cross-examination, Complainant testified that he was not happy with the repair of the subject property after the accident due to the difference in the slickness and smoothness of the paint between the area damaged in the accident and the undamaged area. (Tr. 33:30-34:40) However, Complainant’s evidence did not persuasively show that as of January 1, 2020, the condition of the subject property was below average trade-in condition. Therefore, Complainant did not persuasively establish that use of the average trade-in value to value the subject property resulted in the overvaluation of the subject property.
CONCLUSION AND ORDER
The BOE decision is affirmed. The TVM of the subject property as of January 1, 2020, was $28,600, with an assessed value of $9,532.
Application for Review
A party may file with the Commission an application for review of this decision within 30 days of the mailing date set forth in the certificate of service for this decision. The application “shall contain specific detailed grounds upon which it is claimed the decision is erroneous.” Section 138.432. The application must be in writing, and may be mailed to the State Tax Commission, P.O. Box 146, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0146, or emailed to Legal@stc.mo.gov. A copy of the 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.
The Collector of St. Charles 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.
SO ORDERED December 3, 2021.
Laura A. Storck-Elam
Senior Hearing Officer
State Tax Commission
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been electronically mailed and/or sent by U.S. Mail on December 3, 2021, to: Complainant(s) and/or Counsel for Complainant(s), the County Assessor and/or Counsel for Respondent and County Collector.
 Complainant timely filed a complaint for review of assessment. The State Tax Commission (STC) has authority to hear and decide Complainant’s appeal. Mo. Const. art. X, Section 14; section 138.430.1, RSMo 2000. All statutory citations are to RSMo 2000, as amended.
 The BOE letter attached to the Complaint for Review of Assessment states that additional personal property with an appraised value of $21,300 and an assessed value of $7,099 was not appealed to the BOE.
 Two copies of pages IV and V are included.