STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
|TYRONE & BRENDA HUGHLON,||)|
|v.||)||Appeal No. 17-30004 &|
|ROBERT MURPHY, ASSESSOR,||)|
|JACKSON COUNTY, MISSOURI,||)|
SETTING ASIDE HEARING OFFICER DECISION
UPON APPLICATION FOR REVIEW
On December 5, 2017, Senior Hearing Officer John Treu (Hearing Officer) entered his Decision and Order (Decision) affirming the decisions of the Board of Equalization of Jackson County (BOE). Tyrone and Brenda Hughlon (Complainants) subsequently filed an Application for Review of Hearing Officer’s Decision and Order with the State Tax Commission (STC). Robert Murphy, Assessor of Jackson County (Respondent) made no reply.
We SET ASIDE the Decision and Order of the Hearing Officer. The true value in money (TVM) for the subject properties on January 1, 2017, was $250,000. Segments of the Hearing Officer’s Decision may have been incorporated into our Decision without further reference.
FINDINGS OF FACT
The subject parcel in Appeal 17-30004 is a lot improved with a one and one-half story, single family residence of 3,887 square feet. It was constructed in 1989. It has four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, one half bathroom, a fireplace, and a three car attached garage. The property has brick exterior. It has not been updated and is lacking a deck in the back of the house. The subject parcel in Appeal 17-30005 is a .27 acre irregular shaped parcel adjacent to the improved parcel and is too small for improvements other than the neighborhood sign. The properties are located in the Timber Valley Subdivision.
The Assessor determined values as follows:
|Appeal No||Parcel||True Value in Money (TVM)|
Complainants appealed to the BOE. BOE heard the appeal and determined TVM for the subject properties as of January 1, 2017 was:
|Appeal No||Parcel||True Value in Money (TVM)|
Complainant filed a Complaint for Review of Assessment with the STC on the grounds of overvaluation.
|C||Jackson County BOE Support Report|
|D||Lot Map of 44-330-13-08-00-0-00-000|
All exhibits were received into evidence. Complainants testified on their own behalf. They proposed a TVM of $240,000 – $250,000.
Complainants offered Exhibit A which purports to be comparable sales. The sales ranged from $169,000 to $249,500. There were no homes with the same bedroom/bath count as the subject. One sale property with 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths and a 2 car garage sold for $225,000. Two sales with 4 bedrooms and 2 full baths and 2 half baths sold from $249,500 to $260,000. The sales occurred from November 2016 to October 2017. The properties are located in Timber Valley.
Complainants also presented the Respondent’s BOE Support Report (Exhibit B). The Respondent was proposing a valuation of $278,357. The report includes 3 comparable sales. The comparable properties were located in Timber Valley. The sales occurred from October 2015 to May 2017. The properties sold from $249,500 to $273,000. The comparable properties had 4-5 bedrooms; two full/ two half baths to three full/ one half baths; and 2-3 car garages. The condition of all the comparable sales was very good.
Complainants also presented documentation from their neighborhood association to support their contention that the additional lot (17-3005) cannot be improved.
|1||BOE 2017 Support Report|
|2||2017 STC Summary Report|
|3||IAAO Course Study of Richard Hillhouse|
|4||Mass Appraisal Trainee Experience Log Form|
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Complainant’s Points on Review
Complainant’s Application for Review alleges error by the BOE in their finding of TVM and the comparable properties used to find value.
Standard of 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. Section 138.432 RSMo Cum. Supp. 2015; 12 CSR 30-3.080(4). The Commission may then summarily allow or deny the request. Section 138.432; 12 CSR 30-3.080(5). The Commission may affirm, modify, reverse, set aside, deny, or remand to the Hearing Officer the Decision and Order of the Hearing Officer on the basis of the evidence previously submitted or based on additional evidence taken before the Commission. Section 138.432; 12 CSR 30-3.080(5)(A).
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. Article X, Sections 4(a) and 4(b), Mo. Const. of 1945. The constitutional mandate is to find the TVM for the property under appeal. TVM is defined as the price that the subject property would bring when offered for sale by one willing but not obligated to sell it and bought by one willing or desirous to purchase but not compelled to do so. Rinehart v. Bateman, 363 S.W.3d 357, 365 (Mo. App. W.D. 2012); Cohen v. Bushmeyer, 251 S.W.3d 345, 348 (Mo. App. E.D. 2008); Greene County v. Hermel, Inc., 511 S.W.2d 762, 771 (Mo. 1974). True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not in terms of value in use. Stephen & Stephen Properties, Inc. v. State Tax Commission, 499 S.W.2d 798, 801-803 (Mo. 1973). In sum, true value in money is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date. Hermel, Inc., 564 S.W.2d at 897.
By statute, real property and tangible personal property are assessed at set percentages of true value in money: residential property at 19%; commercial property at 32%; and agricultural property at 12%. Section 137.115.5 RSMo (2000) as amended.
Complainant’s Burden of Proof
To obtain a reduction in assessed valuation based upon an alleged overvaluation, the Complainant must prove the true value in money of the subject property on the subject tax day. Hermel, Inc., v. State Tax Commission, 564 S.W.2d 888, 897 (Mo. banc 1978). True value in money is defined as the price that the subject property would bring when offered for sale by one willing but not obligated to sell it and bought by one willing or desirous to purchase but not compelled to do so. Rinehart v. Bateman, 363 S.W.3d 357, 365 (Mo. App. W.D. 2012); Cohen v. Bushmeyer, 251 S.W.3d 345, 348 (Mo. App. E.D. 2008); Greene County v. Hermel, Inc., 511 S.W.2d 762, 771 (Mo. 1974). True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not in terms of value in use. Stephen & Stephen Properties, Inc. v. State Tax Commission, 499 S.W.2d 798, 801-803 (Mo. 1973). In sum, true value in money is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date. Hermel, Inc., 564 S.W.2d at 897.
“’True value’ is never an absolute figure, but is merely an estimate of the fair market value on the valuation date.” Drury Chesterfield, Inc., v. Muehlheausler, 347 S.W.3d 107, 112 (Mo. App. E.D. 2011), citing St. Joe Minerals Corp. v. State Tax Comm’n of Mo., 854 S.W.2d 526, 529 (Mo. App. E.D. 1993). “Fair market value typically is defined as the price which the property would bring when offered for sale by a willing seller who is not obligated to sell, and purchased by a willing buyer who is not compelled to buy.” Drury Chesterfield, Inc., 347 S.W.3d at 112 (quotation omitted).
BOE Presumption of Correct Assessment
A presumption exists that the assessed value fixed by the BOE is correct. Rinehart, 363 S.W.3d at 367; Cohen, 251 S.W.3d at 348; Hermel, Inc., 564 S.W.2d at 895. “Substantial and persuasive controverting evidence is required to rebut the presumption, with the burden of proof resting on the taxpayer.” Cohen, 251 S.W.3d at 348. Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Cupples Hesse Corp. v. State Tax Commission, 329 S.W.2d 696, 702 (Mo. 1959). Persuasive evidence is evidence that has sufficient weight and probative value to convince the trier of fact. Cupples Hesse Corp., 329 S.W.2d at 702. 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). See also, 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).
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.” Westwood Partnership, 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. W.D. 1991).
Complainant presented information regarding sales of properties within Timber Valley subdivision – where the subject parcels are located. Review of both the sales presented by the Complainant and the BOE report presented by Complainant shows sales of similar houses ranging in sale prices from $169,000 to $273,000. The list of sales in Timber Valley (Exhibit A) provides homes that sold. The list does not include factors such as square footage of the lot and improvement. The Respondent’s witness testified that the subject property is larger than most of the properties in the area.
An appropriately conducted sales comparison approach compares improved property with improved comparable properties that have recently sold. This method develops sales prices into indicators of value for the subject property by making adjustments to the sales prices of the comparables for their differences from the subject. Adjustments are usually made for market conditions, location and physical characteristics. The adjustments are based upon the market’s reaction to differences. The adjustment process produces a final indication of value.
Although several sales within the subject’s area were presented, none were adjusted for differences from the subject property. A review of the properties show a range of sale prices of 4 bedroom homes in the subdivision from $225,000 to $260,000. Complainants testified that their home has not been updated. Further, the subject property lacks a deck on the back of the house. The back door cannot be used as it is a significant drop to the back lot below. Updates and features would need to be addressed for the property to be marketed or concessions would be made to the buyer.
Complainants presented substantial and persuasive evidence to establish a TVM of the subject properties of $250,000.
The Decision of the Hearing Officer is SET ASIDE. Subject properties’ total assessed value is set at $47,500.
Segments of the Decision and Order of the Hearing Officer, including the findings of fact and conclusions of law therein, have been incorporated without reference, as if set out in full, in this final decision of the STC.
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 Jackson 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 24th day of April, 2018.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
Victor Callahan, Commissioner
Will Kraus, Commissioner
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been sent electronically or mailed postage prepaid this 24th day of April 2018, to: Complainants(s) counsel and/or Complainant, the County Assessor and/or Counsel for Respondent and County Collector.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
|TYRONE & BRENDA HUGHLON||)|
|v.||)||Appeal No. 17-30004 & 17-30005|
|ROBERT MURPHY, ASSESSOR||)|
|JACKSON COUNTY, MISSOURI,||)|
DECISION AND ORDER
Decisions of the Jackson County Board of Equalization (BOE) are AFFIRMED. Tyron and Brenda Hughlon (Complainants) did not present substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the BOE.
Complainants appeared pro se.
Robert Murphy, Assessor of Jackson County, Missouri (Respondent) appeared by attorney Tamika Logan.
Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer John Treu (Hearing Officer).
Complainants appeal on the ground of overvaluation, the decisions of the BOE, as to the true value in money (TVM) of the subject properties. The State Tax Commission (STC) takes these appeals to determine the TVM for the subject properties on January 1, 2017.
FINDINGS OF FACT
- Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper. Complainant timely appealed to the STC from the decision of the BOE.
- Evidentiary Hearing. The Evidentiary Hearing was held on November 15, 2017 at Jackson County Courthouse, Kansas City, Missouri.
- Identification of Subject Property. The subject properties are identified by map parcel numbers or locator numbers 44-330-13-07-00-0-00-000 & 44-330-13-08-00-0-00-000. They are further identified as 6326 Norwood Ct, Raytown, Missouri. (Ex. C, Ex. D, & Ex. 1-3)
- Description of Subject Property. The subject properties are adjoining parcels, both owned by Complainants. The combined parcels consists of a .52 acre tract of land, with one parcel improved by a one and one-half story, single family residential home, with 3,887 square feet of living area. The home was built in 1993. Amenities include four bedrooms, two full bathrooms, one half bathroom, a fireplace, and a 3-car attached garage. The exterior of the home is brick and stucco. (Ex. C, Ex. D, Ex. 1-3 & Testimony)
- Assessment. The Assessor and BOE set the TVM of the parcels as follows:
|Appeal No.||Parcel||Assessor TVM||BOE TVM|
- Complainant’s Evidence. Complainants offered into evidence Exhibits A, B, C, D and their own testimony. Exhibit A consisted of purported comparable properties in Timber Valley, where the subject is located. Exhibit B consisted Complainants’ homeowners agreement. Exhibit C consisted of a Jackson County Assessor 2017 BOE Support Report. Exhibit D consisted of a lot map for parcel 44-330-13-08-00-0-00-000. All exhibits were received without objection.
- Respondent’s Evidence. Respondent offered into evidence Exhibits 1, 2, 3 and the testimony of Darlene Lachey (Lachey). Lachey is employed by the Jackson County Assessment Department. She has been employed since 1994. She currently is a residential appraisal coordinator, acting as an assistant supervisor. She previously served as a senior residential appraiser and prior to that as a residential appraiser. Exhibit 1 consisted of a BOE Support Report. Exhibit 2 consisted of a Summary Report for parcel 44-330-13-07-00-0-00-000. Exhibit 3 consisted of a Summary Report for parcel 44-330-13-08-00-0-00-000. All exhibits were received without objection.
- Presumption of Correct Assessment Not Rebutted. Complainants’ evidence was not substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessments by the BOE and establish the TVM of the properties, as of January 1, 2017.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DECISION
The Commission has jurisdiction to hear these appeals 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 determinations of the BOE, 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.
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. Article X, Sections 4(a) and 4(b), Mo. Const. of 1945. The constitutional mandate is to find the TVM for the property under appeal. By statute residential real property is assessed at 19% of TVM. Section 137.115.5, RSMo.
Presumption In Appeal
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the 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). This presumption is a rebuttable rather than a conclusive presumption. It places the burden of going forward with some substantial evidence on the taxpayer – Complainants. 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).
Evidence must be both 1) substantial and 2) persuasive. 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, a Complainant must present an opinion of TVM and substantial and persuasive evidence that the proposed value is indicative of the market value of the subject property on January 1, 2017. Hermel, supra. There is no presumption that the taxpayer’s opinion is correct. The taxpayer in a Commission appeal 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). A valuation which does not reflect the TVM of the property under appeal, is an unlawful, unfair and improper assessment.
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). TVM is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use. 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). It is the TVM of the subject property on the valuation date. Hermel, supra. TVM is the most probable price in terms of money which a property should bring in a 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:
- Buyer and seller are typically motivated.
- Both parties are well informed and well advised, and both acting in what they consider their own best interests.
- A reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market.
- Payment is made in cash or its equivalent.
- Financing, if any, is on terms generally available in the Community at the specified date and typical for the property type in its locale.
- 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. 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.
Hearsay and Relevance
In evidentiary law there are two important and fundamental concepts relating to the admissibility of evidence, whether in testimonial or documentary form. Those two principles are hearsay and relevance. Either can be sufficient in various circumstances to exclude testimony or documents from coming into the evidentiary record.
Weight to be Given Evidence
The Hearing Officer is not bound by any single formula, rule or method in determining true value in money, but is free to consider all pertinent facts and estimates and give them such weight as reasonably they may be deemed entitled. The relative weight to be accorded any relevant factor in a particular case is for the Hearing Officer to decide. St. Louis County v. Security Bonhomme, Inc., 558 S.W.2d 655, 659 (Mo. banc 1977); St. Louis County v. STC, 515 S.W.2d 446, 450 (Mo. 1974); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company v. STC, 436 S.W.2d 650 (Mo. 1968).
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).
Complainant Fails to Prove TVM
Complainants failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence to establish a TVM as of January 1, 2017, for the subject property. Complainant’s evidence did not induce belief in the Hearing Officer. Furthermore, Respondent presented the opinion of Lachey, who opined a TVM of $263,000 for both parcels, of which she attributed $3,000 TVM to parcel 44-330-13-08-00-0-00-000, the empty, adjoining lot. All of Respondent’s evidence supports the TVM’s of the BOE.
Complainants’ evidence regarding “comparables” was not substantial and persuasive. Complainants’ opinion of TVM was not established by any recognized approach for the valuation of real property. The sales comparison approach is generally recognized to be the most reliable methodology to be utilized in the valuation of single-family residences. Complainants’ have no specialized experience, education, or background involving the valuation of property.
Complainant’s offered Exhibit A into evidence. Exhibit A consisted of purported comparable properties in Timber Valley, where the subject is located. However, no adjustments were made by Complainant to the “comparables” in Exhibit A, consistent with generally accepted guidelines for the appraisal of property of the subject’s type. Adjustment are necessary to properly account for the various differences between the subject and each purported comparable.
The assessed valuations for the subject property as determined by the BOE for tax year 2017, are AFFIRMED.
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 Jackson 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 December 5, 2017.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI
Senior Hearing Officer
Certificate of Service
Delivery or Notice of the information contained in this Order was made via email or U.S. Postage on December 5, 2017, to the following: