Thomas & Martha Creel v. Copeland (Franklin)

April 30th, 2013

State Tax Commission of Missouri




Complainants, )


v. ) Appeal No. 12-57008





Respondent. )







Decision of the Franklin County Assessor setting values for Complainants’ motor vehicles is SET ASIDE IN PART and AFFIRMED IN PART. Complainants failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the true values in money proposed for the subject vehicles as of 1/1/12. Evidence on the record was sufficient to warrant adjustments in values for two of the vehicles under appeal.

True value in money for Complainants’ personal property (combined values) for tax year 2012 is set at $71,010, assessed value of $23,670.[1]

Complainants appealed pro se.

Respondent responded pro se.

Case submitted on documents and decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.


Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Respondent which set a combined assessed value of $24,700 on Complainants’ vehicles. The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the Complainants’ personal property on January 1, 2012. The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.


1. Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper. Complainants timely appealed to the State Tax Commission.[2]

2. Submission on Documents. By Order, dated 1/18/13, parties were to file and exchange their exhibits to be used for their case in chief. Parties were to inform the Hearing Officer on or before March 7, 2013, if they desired to have an evidentiary hearing or would waive hearing and have the case decided upon the exhibits submitted by each party. Each party consented to the appeal being decided on exhibits submitted.

3. Subject Property. The subject property consists of the following:

(1) 2010 Chevrolet Camaro – V6 Coupe 2DLT, VIN – 2G1FF1EV4A9138109;

(2) 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt-L4 Coupe 2D LT, VIN – 1G1AL18H097174708; and

(3) 2002 Beaver Santiam RV 40’.[3]

4. Values of Non-Appealed Property. The following personal property items are not under appeal:[4]








Pickup ½ T





Ram 2500





Boat Trailer





Flatbed Trailer




Landau Boat






Motor 50









5. Assessment.[7] The Assessor valued the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro at $21,625, assessed value of $7,210.[8] The Assessor valued the 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt at $10,300, assessed value of $3,430.[9] The Assessor valued the 2002 Beaver RV at $32,880, assessed value of $10,960.[10] The vehicles were valued under the Assessor’s mass appraisal system. Variables such as high mileage, condition of the vehicle were not taken into consideration. The Clean Trade In value was used for the two automobiles. The Clean Trade In and Used W/S Trade In values were used to value the RV.[11]

6. Complainants’ Evidence. The following exhibits are received into evidence on behalf of Complainants:




NADA Glossary of Terms and Definitions


Basis NADA December 2012 Website – 2010 Camaro


Basis NADA December 2012 Website – 2009 Cobalt

D & E

Basis NADA November 2012 Website – 2002 Beaver RV


NADA Website – Mileage Request


NADA – October 2011 – 2009 Cobalt


Mo Dept of Rev – 2009 Cobalt Record


NADA – October 2011 – 2010 Camaro


Photo – 202 Beaver Santiam RV


Photo – weather cracks on dark vinyl graphics on RV


Photo – wear and tear on driver’s seat


Photo – weather cracks on dark vinyl graphics on RV


Photo – flaking crome plate on mirror arms


Photo – top rear corner crack and repair


Complaints for Review of Assessment – appealed vehicles


Statement of Basis of Value


Complainants’ proposed value for the 2009 Cobalt is $4,150 allowing for mileage of 118,780.[13] Complainants’ proposed value for the 2010 Camaro is $18,700 allowing for mileage of 34,210[14] Complainants’ proposed value for the 2002 RV is $25,000.

Complainants’ evidence was not substantial and persuasive to establish the values tendered to be market values for the subject vehicles as of 1/1/12. See, Complainant’s Fail To Prove Values, infra.

7. Respondent’s Evidence. The following exhibits are received into evidence on behalf of Respondent:




Mo Dept of Rev – 2010 Camaro Record


NADA – October 2011 – 2010 Camaro


Mo Dept of Rev – 2009 Cobalt Record


NADA – October 2011 – 2009 Cobalt


Mo Dept of Rev – 2002 Beaver Santiam RV


NADA – September through December 2012 RV Cover


NADA – 12/12 – 2002 Beaver Santiam RV


Assessor’s Account: 003545


Copy of Complaint for Review of Assessment & attachments[15]


Assessor’s Statement of Basis of Value


8. Conclusions of Value. The 2009 Cobalt is valued at $7,900, assessed value of $2,630. The 2010 Camaro is valued at, $20,930, assessed value of $6,980. The 2002 RV is valued at $32,880, assessed value of $10,960. The total true value in money for the three appeal vehicles is $61,710, total assessed value is $20,570.

9. Total Value for Account No. 003545. Total true value in money/appraised value for the property in Account No. 003545 is $71,010, total assessed value of $23,670. See, FINDING OF FACT 5 – Values of Non-Appealed Property, supra.



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.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18]

Standard for Valuation

Section 137.115, RSMo, requires that property be assessed based upon its true value in money 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.[19] True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use.[20] It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.[21] Market value is the most probable price in terms of money which a property should bring in competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller, each acting prudently, knowledgeable and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus.

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:

1. Buyer and seller are typically motivated.


2. Both parties are well informed and well advised, and both acting in what they consider their own best interests.


3. A reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market.


4. Payment is made in cash or its equivalent.


5. Financing, if any, is on terms generally available in the Community at the specified date and typical for the property type in its locale.


6. 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.[22]


Recommended Guide for Automobile Valuation

The assessor of each county and each city not within a county shall use the trade-in value published in the October issue of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association Official Used Car Guide, or its successor publication, as the recommended guide of information for determining the true value of motor vehicles described in such publication. In the absence of a listing for a particular motor vehicle in such publication, the assessor shall use such information or publications which in the assessor’s judgment will fairly estimate the true value in money of the motor vehicle.[23] The NADA guide is only the recommended guide. In an appeal before the Commission, the taxpayer or the Assessor may present evidence from other recognized valuation sources.

Complainants Fail To Prove Values

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 items of personal property on January 1, 2012.[24] There is no presumption that the taxpayers’ opinion is correct. The taxpayers are the moving party seeking affirmative relief. The taxpayers bear the burden of proof. Therefore, the Complainants must present evidence proving the vital elements of the case, i.e., the assessment was “unlawful, unfair, improper, arbitrary or capricious.”[25] A valuation which does not reflect the fair market value (true value in money) of the property under appeal is an unlawful, unfair and improper assessment.

Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.[26] 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.[27]

The Hearing Officer considered the entirety of Complainants’ evidence on the issue of fair market value for each of their vehicles.

Evidence on Automobiles

The documents on which the taxpayers based their opinions of value for the two automobiles were Exhibits B and C. The documents provided no evidence of value as of the valuation date (1/1/12). Although Exhibit Q asserted that Exhibits B and C were from the NADA December 2011 website, the documents each have the date of 12/30/12. There is nothing contained in either Exhibit from which the Hearing Officer can find that the information addresses the value of the two vehicles as of 1/1/12. In other words, the proposed values are based upon values twelve months after the valuation date.

In addition, there is no verification as to the reported mileage for the vehicles being the mileage as of 1/1/12. The Hearing Officer can only conclude that the mileage as reported was as of 12/30/12, the date shown when the NADA website valuations were run by Complainants. The record fails to establish the mileages for the vehicles as of 1/1/12, with some documentation to verify the asserted mileages.

Based on the foregoing Complainants have failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence to establish the values proposed for the 2009 Cobalt and the 2010 Camaro.

2009 Cobalt

Complainants did establish that the 2009 Cobalt being a five speed manual transmission should have been valued as such, instead of as an automatic transmission.[28] As addressed above, the Hearing Officer cannot utilize the Base Price Clean Trade-In from Exhibit C. The October 2011 Clean Trade In Base Price (Exhibit G & Exhibit 4) for the five speed manual transmission is shown to be $7,750, instead of the $10,300 used by the Assessor. According to Exhibit C, the vehicle has Cruise Control, which is a $150 add on. This establishes an adjusted Base Price of $7,900. The Hearing Officer has no evidence upon which an adjustment for mileage can be made as of 1/1/12 for this vehicle. This is due to the facts that mileage as of 1/1/12 was not established and no mileage deduction table from the October 2011 NADA was tendered into the record. Without this information, any deduction for mileage would be mere speculation on the part of the Hearing Officer. Accordingly, the true value in money as of 1/1/12 for the 2009 Cobalt is set at $7,900.

2010 Camaro

Complainants also established that the 2010 Camaro does not have an automatic transmission and the Base Price must be adjusted for this fact. The October Clean Trade In Base Price (Exhibit I & Exhibit 2) for this vehicle is $21,625, rounded to $21,630 by the Assessor. A $700 deduction is required to account for the lack of an automatic transmission. This reduces the Base Price to $20,930. As with the Cobalt, the evidentiary record lacks documentation upon which the Hearing Officer might adjust for mileage. Therefore, the true value in money as of 1/1/12 for the 2010 Camaro is set at $20,930.

Evidence on 2002 RV

Complainants propose a value of $25,000 for the RV based upon a trade-in offer by a dealer. The said offer was not accepted. The Hearing Officer does not find this persuasive for a number of reasons. Foremost, is the fact that there is no substantiating documentation on this matter. Specifically, the evidentiary record is lacking a written statement from the dealer to establish and verify the information provided by Complainants. There is no information as to when this asserted trade-in offer was tendered in relation to the valuation date of 1/1/1. On this basis, the Hearing Officer cannot give any probative weight to the $25,000 opinion of value. Accordingly, the value of $32,880 as determined by the Assessor is affirmed.


The assessed valuations for the subject vehicles as determined by the Assessor for Franklin County for the subject tax day are SET ASIDE IN PART and AFFIRMED IN PART.

The total assessed value for Account Number 003545 for tax year 2012 is set at: $23,670 ($20,570 – Property Appealed; $3,100 – Property Not Appealed).

Application for Review

Complainants 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. 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. [29]

Disputed Taxes

The Collector of Franklin 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 April 30, 2013.



W. B. Tichenor

Senior Hearing Officer

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 Creel, 903 Twin Creek Lane, Leslie, MO 63056, Complainant; Mark Vincent, Franklin County Counselor, 203 E. Main Street, Suite C, Union, MO 63084, Attorney for Respondent; Tom Copeland, Assessor, 400 E. Locust, Suite 105A, Union, MO 63084; Debbie Door, Clerk, Franklin County Courthouse, 400 E. Locust, Suite 201, Union, MO 63084; Linda Emmons, Collector; Franklin County Courthouse, 400 E. Locust, Suite 103, Union, MO 63084.


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] Total for Appealed and Non-Appealed Property


[2] 12 CSR 30-3.010


[3] Exhibits 8 & 9; Exhibits P & Q


[4] Complaint for Review of Assessment and attachments thereto; Exhibit 8; Exhibits P & Q


[5] Exhibit 8. Market values are calculated to be 3 x Assessed Value.


[6] Exhibit 8; Personal Property is assessed at 1/3 of its appraised value (true value in money/market value) – Section 137.115 RSMo. Only assessed values reported on Exhibit 8, appraised value calculated by multiplying assessed value by 3.


[7] Assessor’s Account No. 003545 (Exhibit 8)


[8] Exhibits 2 & 8


[9] Exhibits 4 & 8


[10] Exhibit 8


[11] Exhibit 10


[12] Order dated 1/18/13 instructed Complainants to mark their exhibits by letters. Exhibits were submitted number. Hearing Officer assigned letters in sequence to Complainants’ exhibits.


[13] Exhibits C & Q


[14] Exhibits B & Q


[15] Original Complaint had the following items attached: (1) List of property in Account No. 003545; (2) Exhibits D & E; Exhibit C; Exhibit B; Complainant’s email, dated 12/31/12 (8:30 AM) listing their basis opinions and basis for valuation of their three vehicles.


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


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


[18] Section 137.115.5, RSMo


[19] 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).


[20] Daly v. P. D. George Company, et al, 77 S.W.3d 645, 649 (Mo. App E.D. 2002), citing, Equitable Life Assurance Society v. STC, 852 S.W.2d 376, 380 (Mo. App. 1993); citing, Stephen & Stephen Properties, Inc. v. STC, 499 S.W.2d 798, 801-803 (Mo. 1973).


[21] Hermel, supra.


[22] 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.


[23] Section 137.115.9 RSMo


[24] Hermel, supra.


[25] 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).


[26] See, Cupples-Hesse, supra.

Substantial and persuasive evidence is not an extremely high standard of evidentiary proof. It is the lowest of the three standards for evidence (substantial & persuasive, clear and convincing, and beyond a reasonable doubt). It requires a small amount of evidence to cross the threshold to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board. The definitions, relevant to substantial evidence, do not support a position that substantial and persuasive evidence is an extremely or very high standard.

“Substantial evidence: Evidence that a reasonable mind would accept as adequate to support a conclusion; evidence beyond a scintilla.” Black’s Law Dictionary, Seventh Edition, p. 580.

The word scintilla is defined as “1. a spark, 2. a particle; the least trace.” Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second College Edition. Black’s definition at 1347 is “A spark or trace <the standard is that there must be more than a scintilla of evidence>.” There must be more than a spark or trace for evidence to have attained the standard of substantial. Once there is something more than a spark or trace the evidence has reached the level of substantial. Substantial evidence and the term preponderance of the evidence are essentially the same. “Preponderance of the evidence. The greater weight of the evidence; superior evidentiary weight that, though not sufficient to free the mind wholly from all reasonable doubt, is still sufficient to incline a fair and impartial mind to one side of the issue rather than the other.” Black’s at 1201. Substantial evidence is that a reasonable mind would accept as adequate to support the conclusion. Preponderance is sufficient to incline a fair and impartial mind to one side of the issue rather than the other, i.e. support the proposed conclusion.


[27] Brooks v. General Motors Assembly Division, 527 S.W.2d 50, 53 (Mo. App. 1975).


[28] Exhibit Q


[29] Section 138.432, RSMo.