Vacation World, Inc./Table Rock Investments, Inc. v. Hudson (Stone)

December 7th, 2010

State Tax Commission of Missouri







v.) Appeal(s) Number 10-88501 through 10-88503












Decision of the Stone County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is SET ASIDE in appeal 10-88501 and SUSTAINED in appeals 10-88502 and 10-88503.True value in money for the subject properties for tax year 2010 is set at:

Appeal #

Parcel ID












Complainant appeared by counsel J Randal Howell, II.

Case heard and decided by Hearing Officer Maureen Monaghan. Appeals 10-88502 and 10-88503 were consolidated prior to the hearing date since the parties were identical and the properties were similar. At the time of the hearing for Appeals 10-88502 and 10-88503, the parties stated that their testimony and evidence would be identical to Appeal 10-88501.Hearing

Officer accepted into evidence the record of Appeal 10-88501 and took all three appeals under advisement.


Complainant appeals, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Stone County Board of Equalization, which sustained the valuation of the subject property.The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2009.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.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Stone County Board of Equalization.A hearing was conducted on November 30, 2010, at the Stone County Annex, Carthage, Missouri.

2.Assessment.The Assessor appraised the properties under appeal as follows:

Appeal Number

Parcel Number

Assessor’s Value











3.Subject Property.The subject properties are located in Stonebridge Village Subdivision in Reeds Spring, Missouri.The properties are vacant, residential lots.Lot12-5.0-16-000-000-005.015 is the smallest and lot 12-2.0-09-000-000-002.265 is the largest, being about twice the size of the others.

4.Complainant’s Evidence.Mark Ruda testified.He is the Vice-President of the corporations that own the properties.He provided the following exhibits:




MLS search results of all vacant lots from 9/1/08 to 3/31/09; no results



MLS search results of all vacant lots sold from 8/1/08 to 4/30/09 in Stonebridge subdivisions.4 results.$62,000, $59,000, $62,000 and $39,000.


MLS 2010 sales in Stonebridge


Complainant’s evidence was substantial and persuasive in case number 10-88501

to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the true value in money as of January 1, 2009, to be $61,000.The Complainant’s evidence was not substantial and persuasive in cases 10-88502 and 10-88503.

5.Respondent’s Evidence.Brad Hudson from the Assessor’s Office.Mr. Hudson took office in September 2009 after the valuations were placed in the county’s book.Mr. Hudson has been reviewing sales for the 2011 assessment cycle.He does not have an opinion of value for 2009.He presented Exhibit 1 which was a listing of the properties that sold in Stonebridge Village, Forest Lake from 2006 to 2009.One property was sold in 2008 for $104,900 and one in 2009 for $62,000.



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]In an overvaluation appeal, true value in money for the property being appealed must be determined based upon the evidence on the record that is probative on the issue of the fair market value of the property under appeal.

Presumption In Appeals

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 with some substantial evidence on the taxpayer – Complainant.The presumption of correct assessment is rebutted when the taxpayer, or Respondent when advocating a value different than the value set by the Board, 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]Complainant’s evidence rebutted the presumption of correct assessment by the Board for one of the properties.

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.[6]True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use.[7]It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.[8]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.[9]


Complainant Met Burden of Proof for One Property

In order to prevail, Complainant 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, 2009.[10]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.”[11]

Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.[12]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.[13]

The properties were valued by the Assessor at $103,600, $42,600 and $42,600.All three properties are located in the same development.All three properties are vacant, residential lots.Property in appeal 10-88501, valued by the Assessor at $103,600, is the largest of the three properties – being close to twice the size as the others.

The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value.[14] The Complainant presented the same evidence for all three properties.Complainant presented evidence of sales from August 1, 2008, to April 30, 2009 – a time range relevant for a valuation date of January 1, 2009.The properties, similar in size to the smaller two subject properties, sold for $62,000, $59,000, $62,000 and $39,000.The sale prices indicate that the Assessor did not overvalue the properties when he set their values at $42,600.The sale prices are substantial and persuasive evidence that the property in appeal 10-88501 was overvalued.

Summary and Conclusion

The taxpayer presented substantial and persuasive evidence to establish that the assessment by the Board was in error and that the true value for the property in appeal number 10-88501 should have been $61,000.


The value for the subject properties for tax year 2010 is set as follows:



Parcel Number

Ruling on Board’s


True 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, MO65102-0146, 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. [15]

Disputed Taxes

The Collector of Stone 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 7, 2010.





Maureen Monaghan

Hearing Officer





Certificate of Service


I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been mailed postage prepaid on this 7thday of December, 2010, to:J. Randal Howell II, 114 W. Adams, Branson, MO 65616, Attorney for Complainant; Matt Selby, Prosecuting Attorney, P.O. Box 95, Galena, MO 65656, Attorney for Respondent; Brad Hudson, Assessor, P.O. Box 135, Galena, MO 65656; Judy Berkstresser, Clerk, P.O. Box 45, Galena, MO 65656; Vicki May, Collector, P.O. Box 256, Galena, MO 65656.




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] 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).


[7] 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).


[8] Hermel, supra.


[9] 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.


[10] Hermel, supra.


[11] 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).


[12] See, Cupples-Hesse, supra.


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


[14] Rigali v. Kensington Place Homeowners’ Ass’n, 103 S.W.3d 839, 846 (Mo. App. E.D. 2003); Boten v. Brecklein, 452 S.W.2d 86, 95 (Sup. 1970).


[15] Section 138.432, RSMo.