State Tax Commission of Missouri
WALTER & JANA LANE,)
v.) Appeal Number 09-73000
ROBERT RAINES, ASSESSOR,)
MORGAN COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the Morgan County Board of Equalization sustaining the assessment made by the Assessor is AFFIRMED.True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $320,420, residential assessed value of $60,880.Complainant, Walter Lane, appeared pro se.Respondent appeared pro se.Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.
The Commission takes this appeal to determine the true value in money for the subject property on January 1, 2009.
Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the Morgan County Board of Equalization, which sustained the valuation of the subject property.The Assessor determined an appraised value of $320,420, assessed value of $60,880, as residential property.Complainants proposed a value of $260,000, assessed value of $49,400.A hearing was conducted on October 20, 2009, at the Morgan County Courthouse, Versailles, Missouri.
The Hearing Officer, having considered all of the competent evidence upon the whole record, enters the following Decision and Order.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainant timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the Morgan County Board of Equalization.
2.Complainant’s Evidence.Mr. Lane testified in his own behalf and stated his opinion of the fair market value of the subject property as of January 1, 2009, to be $260,000.This opinion of value was based on Mr. Lane’s conclusion that the appraised value determined by the Assessor for 2007 of $298,500 should be reduced due to the overall decline in the housing market.
Exhibit A was received into evidence, without objection.Exhibit A consisted of a typed statement of Mr. Lane giving the nature and basis of the appeal and five Multi-Listing Service (MLS) data sheets on property listed for sale as of the date of the hearing.
3.Respondent’s Evidence.Respondent testified as to his valuation of the property under appeal for general assessment purposes.Exhibit 1 was received into evidence, without objection.Exhibit 1 consisted of the typed statement of Mr. Raines explaining his supporting data relating to the valuation of Complainants’ property.Supplemental to the typed statement were the following documents: Sale Grid with data on seven sales of comparable properties; Property Record Card for subject property, with photographs; Photographs of the comparable properties; and Aerial Photographs and data on sales of vacant lake front property.
4.Subject Property.The subject property is located at 14775 Stoker Road, Gravois Mills, Missouri.The property is identified by Map Parcel Number 15-5-15-3-4-1.The property consists of lot with approximately 460 feet of useable shoreline on the Lake of the Ozarks.It is improved by a 1224 square feet based, 2442 adjusted living area, two story log cabin home, remodeled in 2004/05. There is a detached two car garage and other amenities.
5.No New Construction.There was no evidence of new construction and improvement from January 1, 2009, to the date of the hearing and the Owner had no plans for new construction and improvement before December 31, 2009.The valuation for 2009 will remain the value for 2010, in the absence of new construction and improvement prior to 1/1/2010.
6.Complainant Failed To Prove Value.Complainant’s evidence was not substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the true value in money as of January 1, 2009, to be $260,000.
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.
Presumptions In Appeals
There is a presumption of validity, good faith and correctness of assessment by the CountyBoardof Equalization.The presumption of correct assessment is rebutted when the taxpayer 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.Complainant failed to present substantial and persuasive evidence to establish what a willing buyer and seller would have agreed to as the purchase price on January 1, 2009.
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.True value in money is defined in terms of value in exchange and not value in use.It is the fair market value of the subject property on the valuation date.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.
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.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. Complainants failed to present an opinion of value based upon a recognized methodology for the valuation of real property for ad valorem tax purposes.There was no relevant market data presented to establish value based upon the methodology relied upon by Mr. Lane.
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, 2009.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.”
Substantial evidence can be defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.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.
Owner’s Opinion of Value
The owner of property is generally held competent to testify to its reasonable market value.The owner’s opinion is without probative value however, where it is shown to have been based upon improper elements or an improper foundation.A taxpayer does not meet his burden if evidence on any essential element of his case leaves the Commission “in the nebulous twilight of speculation, conjecture and surmise.”
Mr. Lane asserts that the value of his property should be reduced from the Assessor’s appraised value for the 2007 – 2008 assessment cycle, because “… the residential real estate market at the lake area has not appreciated in value but depreciated in value.”There are significant problems with the basis for Mr. Lane’s opinion of value.His opinion assumes that the 2007 value of $298,500 did in fact represent market value as of January 1, 2007.There is no evidence to establish that conclusion.The opinion of value then assumes that a reduction of 13% in the 2007 appraised value is appropriate.There is no evidence to establish, even assuming for the sake of argument that the 2007 appraised value is correct, that the value of the Lane property fell by $38,500 from January 2007 to January 2009.
Newspaper articles, television news stories and Internet articles discussion the decline in the real estate market, do not constitute evidence of fair market value for any given property.The opinion that a taxpayer forms from being exposed to such information is not relevant, let alone, substantial and persuasive evidence of market value of the property under appeal.The raw MLS listing information submitted fails to establish market value for the subject property.
In short, the opinion of value tendered by Mr. Lane was not based upon proper elements and a proper foundation.It can be given no probative value.It rests upon conjecture and speculation concluded from general economic news, not actual market data relevant to the valuation of the subject property on January 1, 2009.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Assessor and sustained by the Board of Equalization for Morgan County for the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2009 and 2010 is set at $60,880.
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.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.
The Collector of Morgan 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 November 19, 2009.
STATE TAX COMMISSION OFMISSOURI
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 19th day of November, 2009, to:Walter Lane, 1108 NW 74th Street, Kansas City, MO 64118, Complainant; Marvin Opie, Prosecuting Attorney, Morgan County Justice Center, Versailles, MO 65084, Attorney for Respondent; Robert Raines, Assessor, 100 East Newton, Versailles, MO 65084; Cathy Daniels, Clerk, 100 East Newton, Versailles, MO 65084; Kathy Francis, Collector, P.O. Box 315, Versailles, MO 65084.
 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).
 Daly v. P. D. George Company, et al, 77 SW3d 645, 649 (Mo.App E.D. 2002), citing, Equitable Life Assurance Society v. STC, 852 SW2d 376, 380 (Mo.App. 1993); citing, Stephen & Stephen Properties, Inc. v. STC, 499 S.W.2d 798, 801-803 (Mo. 1973).
 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.
 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).
 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).
 Cohen v. Bushmeyer, 251 S.W.3d 345, (Mo. App. E.D., March 25, 2008); Carmel Energy, Inc. v. Fritter, 827 S.W.2d 780, 783 (Mo. App. W.D. 1992); State, ex rel. Missouri Hwy & Transp. Com’n v. Pracht, 801 S.W.2d 90, 94 (Mo. App. E.D. 1990); Shelby County R-4 School District v. Hermann, 392 S.W.2d 609, 613 (Sup. 1965).