October 18, 2023

How do property taxes work in Missouri?

How often is property assessed in Missouri?

  • All Missouri county assessors are required to perform property reassessments in odd-numbered years. The most re-assessment happened in 2023. The previous one was in 2021. And the next reassessment will be in 2025.
  • The goal of the reassessment process is to establish a fair-market value for each real property as on January 1st of the reassessment year. i.e., if your property were put up for sale on Jan 1st, then what would a prospective buyer pay for it, in an "arms length" transaction? Be aware that is a best effort estimate of the value. Nobody would know for sure unless the property actually sold!
  • Your tax is not based directly on the market value! It is based on the "assessed value" of your property.
  • Assessed value is set based on the property type:
    • Residential property is assessed at 19%.
    • Agricultural property and vacant land is assessed at 12%.
    • Commercial property is assessed at 32%.

e.g., if the market value of your house is $100k, then the assessed value will be $100 * 0.19 = $19k.

  • Your actual tax amount will be known only when your local taxing jurisdictions viz. school district, fire protection district, library, community college etc, set their levies.
  • To safeguard Missouri homeowners against abnormal tax hikes, Hancock Ammendment restricts growth in property tax levies to the previous year's levy with a growth adjustment that is the lesser of the actual growth rate, inflation, or 5 percent.

How to lower your property tax in Missouri?

The first step is to appeal your reassessment. County assessors have to mail out assessment notices by June 15th. Keep yourself a reminder. If you don't receive your notice by June 20th, then go to your county assessor's website and search for your property and view the assessment details.

You have two reassessment appeal options: 1. An informal appeal, which can include an interior inspection of any structure on the property if certain conditions are met. 2. A formal appeal to the county BOE (Board of Equalization).

In case you are not satisfied with the result of your formal appeal, you can approach the Missouri State Tax Commission.

The second step is to participate in the budget hearings of your taxing jurisdictions and ensure the proposed spends are required and necessary.

What do I need for my appeal?

The first step is to establish what you think is a fair-market value for your home. For this, you can approach a local realtor or check your property here. You can get your comparable properties report for a low price that you can present at your BoE hearing.

In addition, imagine you are a prospective buyer and take a look at your house. What would give the buyer a pause? e.g, foundation cracks, leaky roof, mold infestations, chipped paints, cracked driveway, outdated kitchen cabinets and counters etc. Anything that a prospective buyer would consider would need to replace or repair. Take photos of all such items and get repair/replacement estimates from contractors/vendors. Submit these online with your appeal/or take them with you to your hearing. Remember that all supporting documents need to be submitted along with your appeal.

In sum, by keeping your taxable value low and ensuring your county taxing units keep their expenditure sensible, all county homeowners can ensure they pay their fair amount of property taxes.

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