State Tax Commission of Missouri
WALTER & KATHLEEN CHILENSKI,)
v. ) Appeal No.11-10178
JAKE ZIMMERMAN, ASSESSOR,)
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI,)
DECISION AND ORDER
Decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization reducing the assessment made by the Assessor is AFFIRMED.
True value in money for the subject property for tax years 2011 and 2012 is set at $212,500, residential assessed value of $40,375.
Complainants did not appear at the evidentiary hearing.
Respondent appeared by Associate County Counselor, Paula J. Lemerman.
Case decided by Senior Hearing Officer W. B. Tichenor.
Complainants appeal, on the ground of overvaluation, the decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization, which reduced 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, 2011.The Hearing Officer enters the following Decision and Order.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.Jurisdiction.Jurisdiction over this appeal is proper.Complainants timely appealed to the State Tax Commission from the decision of the St. Louis County Board of Equalization.
2.Order Setting Evidentiary Hearing.By Order dated 5/4/12, the evidentiary hearing was set for 11:15 a.m., Tuesday, July 31, 2012, in the St. Louis County Government Center, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, Missouri.Said Order stated:
“If you cannot attend this hearing and need a continuance, you must put your request in writing and give the reason why it is necessary to reschedule the hearing.Your request for continuance must be filed with the State Tax Commission Legal Section at P. O. Box 146, Jefferson City, MO 65102-01`46 no later than five (5) days before the date of hearing.”
Said Order further stated:
“If you do not appear at the hearing and no request for continuance is made, your appeal will be dismissed for failure to prosecute.”
By Bench Order issued via email on 7/25/12 at 9:19 a.m., the evidentiary hearing was moved to 9:00 a.m., Thursday, August 2, 2012.Email was sent to Complainant, Complainant’s Counsel for Record and Respondent’s Counsel of Record.
3.Subject Property.The subject property is identified by locator number 26l520598 and is further identified as 9336 Buxton Dr., St. Louis, Missouri.
5.Evidentiary Hearing.The Evidentiary Hearing was called at 9:00 a.m., Thursday, August 2, 2012.Neither Complainants, nor Counsel of Record for Complainants appeared.Hearing Officer phoned the Chilenskis and spoke to Mr. Chilenski.Mr. Chilenski informed the Hearing Officer that Complainants would not be appearing at the hearing.
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.
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.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.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.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.When some substantial evidence is produced by the Complainant, “however slight,” the presumption disappears and the Hearing Officer, as trier of facts, receives the issue free of the presumption.The presumption is not evidence of value.
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.Complainants did not appear and present any evidence on the issue of the fair market value of the property under appeal.Therefore, the presumption of correct assessment by the Board was not rebutted and the assessed value as determined by the Board must be affirmed.
Dismissal of Appeal
The Hearing Officer on his own motion may dismiss an appeal for failure to comply with the rules and orders of the commission relating to appeals or failure of prosecution.Failure to appear at the evidentiary hearing and present evidence on the issue of fair market value constitutes failure to comply with the rules and orders of the Commission and failure to prosecute the appeal.Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.
The assessed valuation for the subject property as determined by the Board of Equalization for St. Louis County for the subject tax day is AFFIRMED.
The assessed value for the subject property for tax years 2011 and 2012 is set at $40,380.
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, 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 St. Louis 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 August 9, 2012.
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 9th day of August, 2012, to:Kim Blankenship, 9800 Watson Road, St. Louis, MO 63126, Attorney for Complainants; Paula Lemerman, Associate County Counselor, Attorney for Respondent, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, MO 63105; Jake Zimmerman, Assessor, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, MO 63105; John Friganza, Collector, County Government Center, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, MO 63105.
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
 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)