State Tax Commission of Missouri
|SUNBEAM CORPORATION||)||Appeal Nos.||16-74000|
|SUNBEAM PRODUCTS, INC.||)||16-74001|
|SUNBEAM PRODUCTS, INC.||)||16-74002|
|CHERYLE PERKINS, ASSESSOR||)|
|NEWTON COUNTY, MISSOURI,||)|
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the County Board of Equalization (BOE) is SET ASIDE. Complainants presented substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessments by the Board of Equalization and allow the establishment of a true value in money (TVM).
Sunbeam Corporation and Sunbeam Products, Inc. (Complainants), appeared by counsel Brian Howes.
Cheryle Perkins, the Assessor of Newton County (Respondent) appeared by counsel Jake Skouby.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer John Treu (Hearing Officer).
Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation, the decisions of the Newton County BOE, which determined a TVM which was the same as the TVM set by Respondent. Complainants contend the properties have no TVM.
The Commission takes this appeal to determine the TVM for the subject property on January 1, 2015. The value as of January 1 of the odd numbered year remains the value as of January 1 of the following even numbered year unless there is new construction and improvement to the property. Section 137.115.1 RSMo
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. Complainants timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decisions of the Newton County BOE.
- Evidentiary Hearing. The Evidentiary Hearing occurred on October 30, 2017 in Newton County. Missouri.
- Identification of Subject Property. The subject properties are identified by map parcel numbers 021-2.0-10-002-001-001.001, 021-2.0-10-002-001-001.002, and 021-2.0-10-002-001-001.005. They are further identified as 4101 Howard Bush Drive, Neosho, Newton County, Missouri. 4101 Howard Bush Drive is made up of five parcels, constituting 92.36 acres improved with thirteen office/warehouse/distribution type buildings. The buildings have 1,800,218 gross leasable square feet of which 39,022 square feet is office space. The subject properties were built in various stages from 1969 to 2001. The property is zoned M-2 Heavy Industrial. The improvements are of metal construction.
In the 1960’s the property was utilized to manufacture barbecue grills. In the 1970’s, the property was utilized to manufacture camping equipment. In the 1980’s, the property was utilized to build weight benches, outdoor furniture and insect killers. In the mid 1990’s, the property was utilized for manufacturing porcelain and enameling. In the late 1990’s, product production and manufacturing ceased. At all times pertinent to the appeals, the subject property was utilized as an office/warehouse/distribution facility.
- Assessment. The properties were classified as commercial real property and valued in 2016 as follows:
|Parcel #||Assessor Value||BOE Value|
- Complainants’ Evidence. The following were prefiled pursuant to the scheduling order:
Exhibit A: Written Direct Testimony (WDT) John C. Hottle, Sr. (Hottle).
Exhibit B: Appraisal of Hottle.
Prior to the evidentiary hearing, the parties filed a stipulation to the admission of Complainants’ exhibits and a waiver of cross-examination of Hottle. Hottle is a certified Missouri real estate appraiser. He has been appraising property since the 1970’s. He has the MAI designation by the Appraisal Institute of Real Estate Appraisers. Hottle opined a TVM of $10,800,000 for the subject properties. Hottle considered all three approaches to value. Given the nature of the subject property, Hottle concluded the sales comparison approach was the most applicable. Hottle noted the subject properties are single-tenant industrial properties and that they are located in Neosho, Missouri. Therefore, he considered single-tenant industrial properties in the subjects’ immediate area first. He found no comparables which share the subjects’ characteristics, including size, age/condition, use, design, and building class. Consequently, Hottle utilized industrial properties in multiple states to best represent the subjects’ characteristics.
Hottle utilized four comparables in his sales comparison approach. They were located in Mount Zion, Illinois, La Vergne, Tennessee, Springdale, Ohio, and Topeka, Kansas. Hottle made adjustments for market conditions, location/submarket, building size, age/condition, office size, office condition/quality, and land-to-building ratio. The comparables sold between April 8, 2013, and August 1, 2014, and had a range of building square feet from 720,700 sq. ft. to 1,800,218 sq. ft. The office size of the comparables had a range of 20,000 sq. ft. to 101,734 sq. ft. The subject properties improvements were of metal construction. All comparables were of at least partial metal construction. Two were solely of metal construction, one of concrete and metal, and one of masonry and metal. The comparables were built between 1959 and 1987. The adjusted dollar/sq. ft. value ranged from $4.81/sq. ft. to $6.48/ sq. ft., with an average dollar/sq. ft. value of $5.96. Hottle concluded on $6/sq. ft. to value the subject properties.
- Respondent’s Evidence. Respondent failed to file any WDT or exhibits in compliance with the applicable scheduling order.
Respondent attempted to offer the testimony of Respondent on the evidentiary hearing date. Complainants objected. The objection was sustained. Respondent made an offer of proof.
- Presumption of Correct Assessment Rebutted. Complainants’ evidence was substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board.
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 affirming, modifying or reversing the determination of the board of equalization, 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.
Presumption In Appeal
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the County BOE. 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). The presumption of correct assessment is rebutted when the taxpayer presents substantial and persuasive evidence to establish that the BOE’s valuation is erroneous and what the TVM should have been placed on the property. Hermel, supra; Cupples-Hesse Corporation v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959).
Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. See, Cupples-Hesse, supra. 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).
Complainants’ Burden of Proof
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, 2015. 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).
Standard for Valuation
Section 137.115, RSMo, requires that property be assessed based upon its TVM 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).
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, at 615 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000); Hermel, supra; 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. Div. 2 1974).
Substantial and Persuasive Evidence
The Complainants presented substantial and persuasive evidence that the assessments by the Newton County BOE were incorrect. Complainant presented the WDT and Appraisal of Hottle. Hottle utilized a recognized method to value the properties. Hottle selected four comparables in multiple states in an attempt to match the characteristics, including size, age/condition, use, design, and building class of the subject properties. The adjustments made by the appraiser were consistent with generally accepted guidelines for the appraisal of property of the subjects’ type. The adjustments properly accounted for the various differences between the subjects and each comparable. Hottel opined a TVM of $10,800,000.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and modified by the Board of Equalization for Newton County for the subject tax day is SET ASIDE. TVM is set at $10,800,000, $3,456,000 assessed value.
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 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 Newton 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 this 21st day of November 2017.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
John J. Treu
Senior Hearing Officer
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been sent electronically or mailed postage prepaid this 21st day of November, 2017, to: Complainants(s) counsel and/or Complainant, the County Assessor and/or Counsel for Respondent and County Collector.