William & Julie Jenkins v. Jake Zimmerman, Assessor St. Louis County

October 23rd, 2018

STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI

 

WILLIAM & JULIE JENKINS, )  
  )  
Complainants, )  
  )  
v. ) Appeal No. 17-112698
  )  
JAKE ZIMMERMAN, ASSESSOR )  
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI, )  
  )  
Respondent. )  

 

DECISION AND ORDER

 

HOLDING

 

The assessment made by the Board of Equalization of St. Louis County (BOE) is AFFIRMED.  Complainants William and Julie Jenkins did not present substantial and persuasive evidence to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the BOE and to establish the true value in money (TVM) of the subject property as of January 1, 2017.

Complainant William Jenkins (Complainant) appeared pro se; Julie Jenkins appeared not.

Respondent Jake Zimmerman, Assessor, St. Louis County, Missouri, (Respondent) appeared by Counsel Steven Robson.

Case heard and decided by Senior Hearing Officer Amy S. Westermann (Hearing Officer).

ISSUE

Complainant appealed on the ground of overvaluation.  Respondent initially set the TVM of the subject property, as residential property, at $404,400.  The BOE lowered Respondent’s valuation and set the TVM at $335,000.  The value as of January 1 of the odd numbered year remains the value as of January 1 of the following even numbered year unless there is new construction or improvement to the property.  Section 137.115.1 RSMo   The State Tax Commission (STC) takes this appeal to determine the TVM for the subject property as the property existed on January 1, 2017, under the economic conditions as they existed on January 1, 2017.

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.
  2. Evidentiary Hearing. The issue of overvaluation was presented at an evidentiary hearing on September 5, 2018, at the St. Louis County Government Administration Building, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, Missouri.
  3. Identification of Subject Property. The subject property is identified by parcel/locator number 24U220460.  It is further identified as 725 Lakeshore Ridge Court, St. Louis County, Missouri.  (Exhibit A; Exhibit 1)
  4. Description of Subject Property. The subject property consists of a 11,326 square foot (.260 acres) residential lot improved by a 3,652 square foot, single-family, two-story home built in 1999.  (Exhibit A; Exhibit 1)  The home includes four bedrooms; three full bathrooms; one half bathroom; a 1,656 square foot basement with 200 square feet of finished area; a three-car attached garage; a porch and a deck; and one fireplace.  The exterior consists of masonry and vinyl finish.  (Exhibit A; Exhibit 1)  The subject property has a quality of construction rating of Q4 and a condition rating of C4.  (Exhibit 1)  The subject property is located in West St. Louis County near Eureka and Wildwood and within the Rockwood School District.  (Exhibit A; Exhibit 1) 
  5. Assessment. Respondent initially valued the subject property at $404,400 residential, as of January 1, 2017.
  6. Board of Equalization. The BOE lowered the valuation to $335,000.
  7. Complainant’s Evidence. Complainant opined that the subject property’s TVM as of January 1, 2017, was $306,000.  To support his opinion of value, Complainant offered the following evidence:
Exhibit Description Ruling
Exhibit A MARIS Matrix Sales Listing Report for subject property Admitted
Exhibit B Settlement statement showing buyer’s side of transaction and sale price of subject property in the amount of $306,000 Admitted
Exhibit C Special Warranty Deed for subject property dated June 23, 2017, and stating sale price of $306,000 Admitted
Exhibit D Purchase and Sale Agreement for subject property dated March 14, 2016, stating the subject property “may have been acquired by the Seller through foreclosure, deed in lieu of foreclosure, trustee’s sale or similar action . . . [and] is sold ‘AS IS’.” Admitted
Exhibit E Photograph of front elevation of subject property Admitted
Exhibit F-L Photographs of interior components of subject property (e.g., window, sink vanity, interior walls, etc.) showing damage and worn condition Admitted
Exhibit M Paid invoices for window repairs to subject property dated 08/10/17 in the total amount of $3,381.78 Admitted
Exhibit N Bid proposal for replacement of triple door dated 07/20/17 in the amount of $2,278.78; Complainant testified that the work had been completed as quoted and that Complainant had paid the invoice in full Admitted

 

Respondent objected to Complainant’s Exhibits F through L, arguing that Respondent had not been allowed entry for inspection of the condition of the subject property.  Complainant counter argued that Respondent had been able to use photographs of the interior from the MLS listing to view condition.  The Hearing Officer overruled the objection and admitted Exhibits F through L to be given the weight deemed necessary in the context of all of the evidence.  Respondent did not object to Complainant’s other exhibits, all of which were admitted into the record.

Complainant testified that he purchased the subject property on June 23, 2017, for $306,000.  Complainant testified that the subject property had been listed with a realtor for “quite some time” and that the sale had been publicly advertised.  Complainant testified that the subject property was secured with a deed of trust in the amount of approximately $300,000.  Complainant testified that he was unsure whether he would price the subject property higher than $306,000 if he were to list it for sale.  Complainant testified that the home had been in a state of disrepair at the time of purchase and that he had made some improvements since then.

Complainant testified that he has had a broker’s license since 2007 and has an extensive background in real estate as a broker, developer, and real estate investor.  Complainant has provided price opinions for real property as a broker but not as an appraiser.  Complainant testified that he purchased the subject property for his personal residence and not as an investment and that he has family living nearby.  Complainant admitted that the subject property had been a foreclosure and had been marketed as a short sale a year before it finally sold as a foreclosure.  According to Exhibit A, the subject property had been listed for sale on June 6, 2016, for $389,900, then the listing was withdrawn on December 12, 2016.  The subject property was again listed for sale on March 22, 2017, for $371,000, then the sale closed on June 26, 2017, for $306,000.  (Exhibit A)  Complainant testified that the seller was a bank with no signs of financial distress.  Complainant testified that the seller was trying to maximize value during a strong market in the spring selling season and that the sale meets the Appraisal Institute’s definitions of fair market value and open market sale.

On cross examination, Complainant testified that he had prepared a broker price opinion for the subject property in 2012.  Complainant testified that two of the comparable sales utilized in Respondent’s Exhibit 1 had been foreclosures or short sales.

On re-direct, Complainant testified that he has performed over 1,000 broker price opinions and that he has represented buyers and sellers in St. Louis County, St. Charles County, and the City of St. Louis.  Complainant testified that the 2012 price opinion he prepared for the subject property was not relevant to the property’s TVM on January 1, 2017.

  1. Respondent’s Evidence.  Respondent opined that the TVM of the subject property as of January 1, 2017, was $365,000, which supported the presumption that the BOE’s valuation of $335,500 was correct.  Respondent offered the following evidence:
Exhibit Description Ruling
Exhibit 1 The appraisal report of Barry A. Hough Admitted
Exhibit 2 Qualifications of the Appraiser Admitted

 

Complainant objected to a portion of Exhibit 1, on page 6, with regard to the Appraiser’s “Comments on Sales Comparison.”  Specifically, Complainant objected to lines contained in the paragraph beginning, “According to Cal McCline . . . .”  Complainant argued that the statements attributed to Mr. McCline concerning costs to repair the home and bring it to a typical condition and quality of a recently updated home constituted inadmissible hearsay.  The Hearing Officer overruled the objection and received the entirety of Exhibit 1 to be given the weight deemed necessary in the context of all of the evidence.  Complainant did not object to Respondent’s Exhibit 2.

The Appraiser testified that he had researched the sale history of the subject property and noted his findings in the addendum to his appraisal report:

From 06/06/16 to 12/31/16 the subject property was offered as an “as-is” short sale for $389,000. According to the realtor who listed the property, the asking price was set according to a loss mitigation negotiation between the prior homeowners and their lender.

 

On 12/23/16 HSBC Bank Usa [sic] paid $412,633 to Substitute Trustee Corp as part of a foreclosure proceeding. On 03/27/17 the property was offered as an “as-is” bank owned property for $371,000 through a realtor located in Chicago, IL. The asking price was reduced to $352,500 on 04/26/17 and then to $334,900 on 05/25/17.

 

On 06/26/17 the current owner purchased the property in an “as-is” foreclosure sale from HSBC Bank for $306,000.

 

None of the asking or transfer prices were indicative of the fair market value of the subject property as of 01/01/17. The parties involved were not typically motivated market participants. The 12/23/16 price reflected the outstanding debt and fees associated with the property. The 06/27/17 price represented an acceptable loss for a lender not wanting to hold an REO property for an extended period of time.

 

Between  01/01/15 and 06/30/17 11 homes in the subject subdivision were sold in standard arm’s length transactions through the MLS system. All of these homes were comparable to the subject property. They ranged in price from $365,000 to $510,000. The average sale price was $434,000 and the median sales price was $430,000. Marketing times ranged from 1 day to 291 days with an average exposure time of 82 days. There were no foreclosures or short sales listed.

 

No sales of the comparable properties were noted within one year from the date of sale reported in the sales comparison approach for each of the comparable properties.

 

The sources for this information are the Multiple Listing Service, St. Louis County Records, and Cal McCline, the realtor who marketed the subject property as a short sale from 06/06/16 to 12/31/16.  

 

The Appraiser testified that the subject property had condition issues and had not been updated since its construction.  The Appraiser testified that he spoke to the realtor who had listed the subject property before it went into foreclosure, and he had estimated the subject property needed $40,000 to $50,000 of work to bring the home to market standard.  The Appraiser testified that foreclosures were rare in the area of the subject property and in the timeframe of the sale of the subject property.  The Appraiser testified that the listing for Comparable No. 3 in the appraisal report did not mention that the comparable property was a short sale, foreclosure, or as-is property.

On cross examination, the Appraiser testified that an appraisal is performed for a bank for the lender’s own protection rather than for the buyer because a bank wants to know the fair market value of a property to ensure it is not selling below market.  The Appraiser testified that pre-requisites to a fair market sale are cash or equivalent terms and time and exposure on the market.  The Appraiser testified that HSBC, the seller, was not a typical seller because it had been motivated to sell at the sale price to off-set its loss.  The Appraiser testified that he did not speak to anyone at HSBC about the bank’s motivation for accepting Complainant’s bid.  The Appraiser further testified that his knowledge of foreclosure came from appraising foreclosed properties for banks.  With regard to the interior condition of the subject property, the Appraiser testified that the condition rating assigned to the property was based on the whole property and not on one item.  The Appraiser testified that the subject property could be classified as C4 even with wall damage and rotting in the floor around the back door if those were isolated conditions in a 3,500-square foot home.

Exhibit 1, the appraisal report, analyzed six comparable properties, all of which were two-story four-bedroom homes located in the same subdivision as the subject property.  The comparable properties sold between February 2016 and April 2017.  The sale prices of the comparables ranged from $365,000 to $477,500.  After making market-based adjustments for lot size, square feet, and condition, the adjusted sale prices of the comparables ranged from $347,500 to $367,000.  (Exhibit 1)  The Appraiser placed the most weight on Comparable No. 3 due to its similarity to the subject property in quality of its finishes and updating.  (Exhibit 1)  The adjusted sale price of Comparable No. 3 was $365,500.

  1. Presumption of Correct Assessment Rebutted – Value Established. Complainant’s evidence was not substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the BOE.  In this case, Respondent presented substantial and persuasive evidence establishing that the TVM of the subject property was $365,000 as of January 1, 2017.  However, Respondent presented his evidence to support the BOE’s valuation and advocated that the BOE’s valuation of $335,000 should be affirmed.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DECISION

Jurisdiction

The Commission has jurisdiction to hear this appeal and correct any assessment which is shown to be unlawful, unfair, arbitrary, or capricious, including the application of any abatement.  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.  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 true value in money for the property under appeal.  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.

Investigation by Hearing Officer

In order to investigate appeals filed with the Commission, 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 RSMo (2000) as amended.  The Hearing Officer’s decision regarding the assessment or valuation of the property may be based solely upon his inquiry and any evidence presented by the parties or based solely upon evidence presented by the parties.  Id.

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.

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).

Generally, a property owner, while not an expert, is competent to testify to the reasonable market value of his own land.  Cohen, 251 S.W.3d at 348-49; Carmel Energy, Inc. v. Fritter, 827 S.W.2d 780, 783 (Mo. App. W.D. 1992).  “However, when an owner’s opinion is based on improper elements or foundation, his opinion loses its probative value.”  Carmel Energy, Inc., 827 S.W.2d at 783.  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.”  See Rossman v. G.G.C. Corp. of Missouri, 596 S.W.2d 469, 471 (Mo. App. E.D. 1980).

Respondent’s Burden of Proof

Respondent, when advocating a value different from that determined by the original valuation or a valuation made by the BOE, must meet the same burden of proof to present substantial and persuasive evidence of the value advocated as required of the Complainant under the principles established by case law.  Hermel, Inc., 564 S.W.2d at 895; Cupples-Hesse, 329 S.W.2d at 702; Brooks, 527 S.W.2d at 53.

In this case, Respondent presented substantial and persuasive evidence, the Appraiser’s report and the testimony of the Appraiser, establishing that the TVM of the subject property was $365,000 as of January 1, 2017.  However, Respondent presented his evidence to support the BOE’s valuation and advocated that the BOE’s valuation of $335,500 should be affirmed.

Evidence of Increase in Value

In any case in charter counties or St. Louis City where Respondent presents evidence that indicates a valuation higher than the value finally determined by the assessor or the value determined by the BOE, whichever is higher, for that assessment period, such evidence will only be received for the purpose of sustaining the assessor’s or board’s valuation, and not for increasing the valuation of the property under appeal.  Section 138.060, RSMo; 12 CSR 30-3.075.

The evidence presented by Respondent was substantial and persuasive to rebut the presumption of correct assessment by the Board and establish the TVM of the property under appeal, as of January 1, 2017, to be $365,000.  However, the assessed value cannot be increased above $335,000 in this particular appeal.  State ex rel. Ashby Road Partners, LLC et al v. STC and Muehlheausler, 297 S.W.3d 80, 87-88 (Mo. banc 2009).

Weight to be Given Evidence

The Hearing Officer is not bound by any single formula, rule, or method in determining true value in money and 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).

The Hearing Officer, as the trier of fact, may consider the testimony of an expert witness and give it as much weight and credit as deemed necessary when viewed in connection with all other circumstances.  Beardsley v. Beardsley, 819 S.W.2d 400, 403 (Mo. App. W.D. 1991).  The Hearing Officer, as the trier of fact, is not bound by the opinions of experts but may believe all or none of the expert’s testimony or accept it in part or reject it in part.  Exchange Bank of Missouri v. Gerlt, 367 S.W.3d 132, 135-36 (Mo. App. W.D. 2012).

Board Presumption and Computer-Assisted Presumption

            There exists a presumption of correct assessment by the BOE – the BOE presumption.  In charter counties or the City of St. Louis, there exists by statutory mandate a presumption that the Assessor’s original valuation was made by a computer, computer-assisted method or a computer program – the computer-assisted presumption.  These two presumptions operate with regard to the parties in different ways.

The BOE presumption operates in every case to require the taxpayer to present evidence to rebut it.  If Respondent is seeking to prove a value different than that set by the BOE, then it also would be applicable to the Respondent.

The computer-assisted presumption is applicable only if (1) the BOE lowered the value of the Assessor and Respondent is seeking to sustain the original assessment and (2) it has not been shown that the Assessor’s valuation was not the result of a computer assisted method.  The BOE’s valuation is assumed to be an independent valuation.

In the present appeal, the BOE lowered the initial valuation of Respondent, and Complainant is now seeking to reduce the BOE’s valuation while Respondent advocates sustaining the BOE’s valuation; therefore, the BOE presumption applies to Complainant.

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, 615 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000); Hermel, Inc., 564 S.W.2d at 897; 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. 1974).

“For purposes of levying property taxes, the value of real property is typically determined using one or more of three generally accepted approaches.”  Snider v. Casino Aztar/Aztar Missouri Gaming Corp., 156 S.W.3d 341, 346 (Mo. banc 2005), citing St. Louis County v. Security Bonhomme, Inc., 558 S.W.2d 655, 659 (Mo. banc 1977).  “Each valuation approach is applied with reference to a specific use of the property—its highest and best use.” Snider, 156 S.W.3d at 346-47, citing Aspenhof  Corp., 789 S.W.2d at 869.  “The method used depends on several variables inherent in the highest and best use of the property in question.”  Snider, 156 S.W.3d at 347.  “Each method uses its own unique factors to calculate the property’s true value in money.”  Id.  “The ‘comparable sales approach’ uses prices paid for similar properties in arms-length transactions and adjusts those prices to account for differences between the properties.  Id. at 348.  “Comparable sales consist of evidence of sales reasonably related in time and distance and involve land comparable in character.”  Id. (quotation omitted).  “This approach is most appropriate when there is an active market for the type of property at issue such that sufficient data [is] available to make a comparative analysis.”  Id.

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.

 

  1. Both parties are well informed and well advised, and both acting in what they consider their own best interests.

 

  1. A reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market.

 

  1. Payment is made in cash or its equivalent.

 

  1. Financing, if any, is on terms generally available in the Community at the specified date and typical for the property type in its locale.

 

  1. 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.

Discussion

Complainant’s evidence was neither substantial nor persuasive to support an opinion as to the true market value of the subject property as of January 1, 2017.  Substantial evidence is that which is relevant, adequate, and reasonably supports a conclusion.  Cupples Hesse Corp., 329 S.W.2d at 702.  Persuasive evidence is that which causes the trier of fact to believe, more likely than not, the conclusion advocated is the correct conclusion.  Id.

Although Complainant credibly testified that he is expert in the field of real property pricing, sales, development, and investment, Complainant did not use any of the court approved methods of valuation to arrive at an opinion of TVM.  Complainant argued that the subject property sold near the relevant tax date, so the actual sale price of the subject property is the best indicator of its fair market value on the tax date.  An examination of the evidence as a whole leads to a different conclusion.  Respondent’s evidence established that the subject property’s neighborhood had numerous sales of similar homes through arm’s length transactions in the year preceding Complainant’s purchase of the subject property, indications of an active market.  The Appraiser analyzed six of the sales by comparing the similarities and differences between the comparables and the subject property to arrive at an opinion of value.  The sales comparison method is recognized as the most reliable method for appraising residential property in an active market.  Complainant did not research and analyze sales in the market.  Furthermore, the evidence established that Complainant purchased the subject property through a foreclosure and that foreclosures were rare in the area.  Consequently, the fact finder would be forced to speculate in order to conclude that the actual sale price of the subject property, which was purchased through foreclosure, a non-market transaction, represented the property’s TVM on the relevant tax date.

Respondent, though not required, presented substantial and persuasive evidence supporting the BOE’s valuation of the subject property.  The Appraiser used the comparable sales method for arriving at an opinion of TVM for the subject property, which is one of the three court-approved methods for determining value for tax assessment purposes.  The Appraiser’s report made market-based dollar adjustments to account for the similarities and differences between the comparables and the subject property.  The Appraiser’s report established that the adjusted sale prices of six comparable properties in the subject property’s subdivision ranged from $347,500 to $367,000.  The appraised value of the subject property fell squarely within this range.  (Exhibit 1)

ORDER

The TVM for the subject property as determined by the BOE is AFFIRMED.  The assessed value for the subject property is $63,650 residential ($335,000 TVM), as of January 1, 2017.

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

Disputed Taxes

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 October 23, 2018.

 

STATE TAX COMMISSION OF MISSOURI

Amy S. Westermann

Senior Hearing Officer

 

Certificate of Service

I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing has been sent electronically or mailed postage prepaid this 23rd day of October, 2018, to: Complainants(s) counsel and/or Complainant, the County Assessor and/or Counsel for Respondent and County Collector.

 

Jacklyn Wood

Legal Coordinator