Vitaliy Zverev v. Austin Graybill, Assessor, Webster County

July 31st, 2020

STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI

 

VITALIY ZVEREV,                                            )

Complainant,                                           )   Appeal No. 19-92500

)

  1. )   Parcel No. 3C63RRGL5FG653197

)

AUSTIN GRAYBILL, ASSESSOR,                 )

WEBSTER COUNTY, MISSOURI,                   )

Respondent.                                             )

 

DECISION AND ORDER

Vitaly Zverev (Complainant) appeals an assessment by the Webster County Assessor (Respondent) setting the assessed value of a motor vehicle at $10,130. Complainant claims the assessment is unlawful because the vehicle is used in interstate commerce and Respondent failed to fairly apportion the assessment according to the ratio of miles traveled in Missouri relative to the miles traveled in other jurisdictions. Complainant did not produce substantial and persuasive evidence proving the assessment is unlawful. The assessment is affirmed.

Complainant and Respondent appeared pro se. The evidentiary hearing was conducted on March 10, 2020, at the Webster County Courthouse in Marshfield, Missouri.

FINDINGS OF FACT

  1. Authority. Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission (STC).
  2. The Subject Property. The subject property is a 2015 Dodge Ram 3500 crew cab Tradesman four-wheel drive pickup truck. The vehicle has a diesel engine. Complainant uses the subject property in his commercial trucking business.
  3. Assessment. Respondent set the assessed value of the subject property at $10,130.
  4. Board of Equalization. There was no Board of Equalization hearing. Complainant was notified of the increased assessment upon receipt of the tax bill.
  5. Complainant’s Evidence. Complainant does not contest the true value in money of the subject property. Complainant’s sole claim is that the assessment is unlawful because Respondent failed to fairly apportion the assessed value according to the ratio of miles traveled in Missouri relative to the miles traveled in other jurisdictions.

Complainant submitted Exhibits A-E.   Each exhibit was admitted into the record.

Exhibit A consists of a “Missouri IRP Apportioned Cab Card” and a Missouri Department of Transportation document showing the subject property is licensed under the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA). The subject property is “proportionally registered” between Missouri and other jurisdictions for use in interstate commerce. Exhibit A provides no mileage data showing the ratio of miles traveled in Missouri relative to the miles traveled in other jurisdictions.

Exhibit B is a lease agreement showing Complainant owns the subject property and leased it to Safe Way Carrier, LLC. Exhibit B provides no mileage data showing the ratio of miles traveled in Missouri relative to the miles traveled in other jurisdictions.

Exhibit C is a Missouri Insurance Identification Card showing the subject property is insured.   Exhibit C provides no mileage data showing the ratio of miles traveled in Missouri relative to the miles traveled in other jurisdictions.

Exhibit D is a Missouri Department of Revenue document registering a trailer to Mark Zverev. Exhibit D is provides no mileage data showing the ratio of miles traveled in Missouri relative to the miles traveled in other jurisdictions.

Exhibit E is an annual vehicle inspection report showing the subject property passed a safety inspection. Exhibit E provides no mileage data showing the ratio of miles traveled in Missouri relative to the miles traveled in other jurisdictions.

  1. Respondent’s Evidence. Respondent submitted Exhibits 1 and 2. Both exhibits were admitted into evidence. Exhibit 1 consists of assessment lists showing Complainant declared the subject property for purposes of assessment. Exhibit 2 consists of Webster County personal property reports for 2020 and 2019. Exhibit 2 shows Respondent assessed the subject property at $10,130 in 2019.
  2. Value. The assessed value of the subject property is $10,130.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

  1. Authority

The STC has authority to hear and decide Complainant’s appeal. Section 138.430.1, RSMo 2000[1]; 12 CSR 30-3.010.1.

  1. Assessment

            Section 137.115.1 provides tangible personal property is assessed “at thirty-three and one-third percent of its true value in money as of January first of each calendar year.”[2] The true value in money “is an estimate of the fair market value on the valuation date.” Hermel, Inc. v. State Tax Comm’n, 564 S.W.2d 888, 897 (Mo. banc 1978). 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).

  1. Evidence

The hearing officer is the finder of fact, and determines both the credibility and weight of the evidence. Kelly v. Missouri Dep’t of Soc. Servs., Family Support Div., 456 S.W.3d 107, 111 (Mo. App. W.D. 2015); Stone v. Missouri Dep’t of Health & Senior Servs., 350 S.W.3d 14, 20 (Mo. banc 2011) (noting that in a contested case, courts defer to administrative agency findings of fact); see also section 536.090 (requiring all decisions and orders in contested cases to include “findings of fact”). 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.

  1. Apportionment

The Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution prevents states from discriminating against interstate commerce. Commercial Barge Line Co. v. Dir. of Revenue, 431 S.W.3d 479, 483 (Mo. banc 2014) (citing Complete Auto Transit, Inc. v. Brady, 430 U.S. 274, 279 (1977)); U.S. Const. art. I, sec. 8, cl. 3. Respondent’s statutory duty to assess personal property is supplemented by “the constitutional duty not to levy an unapportioned ad valorem tax where another state has constitutional authority to levy such a tax.”  State ex rel. City of Cabool v. Texas Cty. Bd. of Equalization, 850 S.W.2d 102, 104 (Mo. banc 1993). Therefore, if two or more states have the constitutional authority to tax personal property, “the commerce clause requires the taxing authorities to apportion taxes in a nondiscriminatory manner.”  Bi Go Markets, Inc. v. Morton, 843 S.W.2d 916, 917 (Mo. banc 1992). The apportionment of taxes is based on the ratio of miles traveled in Missouri relative to other states. Beelman Truck Co., v. Ste. Genevieve Cty. Bd. of Equalization, 861 S.W.2d 557, 560 (Mo. banc 1993). “The taxpayer has the burden of establishing multiple jurisdictions having the ability to tax.” Bi Go Markets, 843 S.W.2d at 917–18.

  1. Complainant did not prove the assessment is unlawful.

Complainant produced no evidence supporting his claim the assessment is an unlawful unapportioned ad valorem tax. Complainant’s evidence shows only that: (1) Complainant owns the subject property; (2) the subject property is registered in multiple jurisdictions; (3) Complainant leases the subject property to Safe Way Carrier, LLC; and (4) the subject property passed a safety inspection. This evidence does not show the subject property is taxable in other jurisdictions and provides no basis for apportionment.

Order

The assessment is affirmed. The assessed value of the subject property as of January 1, 2019, was $10,130.

Application for Review

            A party may file with the STC an application for review of this decision within thirty days of the date indicated in the certificate of service. 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 of Missouri, 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 in the certificate of service.

Disputed Taxes

            The Collector of Webster County, and 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 the taxes have been disbursed pursuant to a court order pursuant to section 139.031.

 

SO ORDERED July 31, 2020.

Senior Hearing Officer

State Tax Commission

Certificate of Service

On July31, 2020, a copy of the foregoing was emailed to Complainant, vitalyzverev1928@gmail.com; Respondent, agraybill@webstercountymo.gov; and Collector of Webster County, kfarr@webstercountymo.gov.

 

Elaina McKee

Legal Coordinator

 

[1] All statutory citations are to RSMo 2000, as amended.