Assessment FAQ’s

What is Assessment and Reassessment?
Assessment is the process of placing a value on a property for the purpose of property taxation. Reassessment is an update of all real property assessments in the county, conducted by the county assessor to equalize values among taxpayers and to adjust values to current market conditions. 2005 is a year in which all properties in the county will once again be revalued and analysis reflects that in recent years the country has experienced significant increases in real estate values. “It is the statutory and constitutional responsibility of the assessor to assess property at current market value. It is equally the statutory and constitutional responsibility of the taxing entities to reduce their tax levies to the fullest extent of the law in order to offset the increase in valuation.”

How often is property reassessed?
Reassessed values of real estate are placed on the tax roles by the assessor every odd-numbered year (2001, 2003, 2005, etc.). Personal property tax is assessed every year.

What happens in an even year?
For most real estate owners, nothing. However, if new construction and improvements have taken place, the property’s market value is adjusted to reflect the added value of the new construction. The total value is based upon the market conditions as of January first of the preceding year.

What types of property are there?
Two types of tangible property:
-Real property – includes land, improvements to the land and all
rights inherent in ownership.
-Personal property – any property that is not real property, that is
not permanently affixed to or part of real estate.

Why is reassessment necessary?
Under Missouri’s Constitution, all assessments for property tax purposes must be based upon market value and be uniform within the same class or sub-class of property. Over time, the value of a property may change depending upon its nature, location and other factors. Some values change more rapidly than others. Reassessment is the only way to be sure that the taxpayer is being taxed the same as other comparable property.

Who is responsible for reassessing property?
The County Assessor is primarily responsible for assessing property within the county. However, the Assessor’s work is subject to review by the County Board of Equalization and the Missouri State Tax Commission. The State Tax Commission is the State agency charged with general supervision of assessors and with enforcing property tax laws.

What is market value?
Market value, true value in money and appraised value have the same meaning under Missouri law. A simple definition of market value is the price the property would bring when offered for sale by a person who is willing but not obligated to sell it, and is bought by a person who is willing to purchase it but is not forced to do so.

Will all property values change due to reassessment?
Most values are likely to change, but not all will change to the same extent. Market values increase more in some neighborhoods than in others. A major purpose of reassessment is to make sure that the new values reflect all changes that have occurred.

If no improvements have been made to the property, why should my assessed value increase?
Over time, market value changes, even if improvements are not made to the property. Many people sell their homes for much more than they paid for them years earlier. The statutes require that property be periodically reassessed to maintain realistic market values and treat all taxpayers fairly.

Will I be notified if there is an increase in my assessment?
The assessor is required by the statutes to notify the owner of record of any increase in the valuation of their property.

What if I disagree with my assessment?
If you do not agree with your assessment, there are three steps you can take in the appeal process. Remember that an assessment is based on current market value and our objective here is to establish the correct market value of the property. Stating that property taxes are too high is not relevant testimony. You should determine what you believe to be the value of your property and gather and present evidence that supports that value. Such evidence could include photographs, the recent sale of your property or the oral testimony of someone who has done a recent appraisal of your property.

  1. Informal appeals – contact the county assessor’s office as soon as you are notified of your assessment. During an informal meeting with the assessor or one of the staff, you can learn how your property assessment was made, what factors were considered and what type of records pertain to your property. Many disagreements are taken care of at this level.
  2. Board of Equalization – if not satisfied after the informal meeting, you should contact your county clerk for information regarding forms and deadlines for appealing to the County Board of Equalization.
  3. State Tax Commission – you have a right to appeal to the state tax commission by September 30 or 30 days after the final action of the Board of Equalization; whichever date is later.

How does the assessor know what personal property I have?
The assessor sends out blank assessment forms early each year. It is your responsibility to send a completed form to the assessor by March 1, listing all taxable personal property you owned on January 1, If your form is late, the penalty ranges from $10 to $100, depending on the amount of valuation involved. The assessor may contact you to follow up if the form is not complete.

Will political subdivisions lower their levies?
When the total assessed valuation in a political subdivision increases substantially, as often happens with a State-wide reassessment, it is allowed an increase in revenues to account for inflation; plus the revenues it receives from taxing new construction and improvements. Its governing body, after that, is required by the constitution to adjust tax rates downward. This is called a tax rate rollback. The allowed increase in revenues over the previous year for cost of living was 2.9% in 1996. (There is a maximum of 5% allowed.) After this allowance, and that for new construction during the previous year, the tax rates must be reduced to offset the valuation increase.

How does reassessment affect my taxes?
It depends. An increase in assessed value does not necessarily equate to an increase in property taxes. Your taxes are calculated by multiplying your assessed value times the combined levies of the taxing entities which levy a tax on that particular property. If levies increase, taxes may increase even if assessed values remain unchanged or decrease. If levies decrease, an increased in assessed values may not cause an increase in taxes. One factor which can cause a decrease in levies is a rollback which was discussed in the previous example. Another is voluntary reduction voted by the governing body.

Tax levies are normally set during August. That means when you receive a notice that your assessment has been increased, it is too early to be able to calculate how the change in assessed value will affect your taxes. You will not know until the rates have been set by all of the local governments that tax your property.