July 23, 2009
Residential Property Values Being Reassessed for 2009 Tax Year
While recent economic downturns have forced real estate prices lower in the past year, most property has still increased in value over the past decade.
How much? Well enough for the Missouri State Tax Commission to require the county assessor’s office to review tax assessments and bring them more in line with residential property values and appraisals.
The Commission has recommended an index increase for the county, the first since 1997. The county assessor’s office currently is in the process of re-assessing residential property in the county as opposed to an index increase that would raise assessed values across the board.
“There are some properties that will experience no increase at all, but the majority will see an increase of between 10 and 20 percent in their assessed valuation,” said Scotland County Assessor Jim Ward.
According to the Missouri Association of Counties, Scotland County has the third lowest assessed valuation of the 114 counties in Missouri at just over $54 million. That is higher than only Schuyler County ($38.3) million and Worth County ($24.4 million) while paling in comparison to the likes of St. Louis City at $25 billion or even closer to home, Adair County, which has an assessed valuation of more than $244 million.
Since 1997, the last time the county faced a similar mandate from the state, the county has seen its assessed valuation increase from $35 to $47 million in the decade ending in 2007. According to the tax commission, Scotland County’s assessed valuation increase just over three percent a year during that time frame, compared to a greater than six percent average annual increase statewide.
According to the tax commission, approximately 47% of the county’s real property is classified as residential, with 13% commercial and 40% agricultural.
The changes in assessed valuation will only impact residential property according to Ward.
For tax purposes, assessed valuation is based on a state-established percentage. Residential property is assessed at 19 percent of its market value. Agricultural property is assessed at 12 percent of its productive use or market value. Commercial property is assessed at 32 percent of its market value. Most personal property is assessed at 33 1/3 percent of its market value.
Taxes are paid per $100 of assessed valuation. The base tax levy for a county resident is $2.58. That includes $0.50 for the county, $0.35 for the county road and bridge fund, $0.31 for the special road and bridge fund, $0.19 for the library, $0.25 for the ambulance district, $0.15 for the health department, $0.30 for the nursing home, $0.50 for the hospital and $0.03 for the state.
Residents of Scotland County also pay one of four school district levies – Scotland County R-I $3.36, Gorin R-III $4.24, Knox County R-I $3.81, or Schuyler County R-I $3.52.
Residents within the city limits of Granger, Arbela, Memphis, Rutledge or Gorin also pay a municipal tax levy. Gorin and Memphis residents pay $1, while Granger pays $0.64, Arbela $0.50 and Rutledge $0.423.
For every $10,000 in increased assessed valuation on Scotland County residential property, the owner will pay an extra 19 times their current tax levy (NOT TOTAL TAX). That means a resident of Scotland County that lives in the SCR-I school district ($5.94 county and school combined tax levy) will see a tax increase of $112.86 for every $10,000 increase in residential assessed valuation. Residents of the city of Gorin (county, Gorin R-III and Gorin city combined tax levy of $7.82) will experience a tax increase of $148.80 for every $10,000 of increased assessed valuation of residential property.
If you do not agree with your assessment, there is an appeal process. An assessment is based on current market value and simply stating that property taxes are too high is not relevant testimony.
Property owners making an appeal need to determine what he or she believes to be the value of the property and gather and present evidence that supports that value. Such evidence could include photographs, the recent sale of the property, or the oral testimony of someone who has done a recent appraisal of your property.
An informal appeal can be made by contacting the county assessor’s office to learn how your assessment was made, what factors were considered, and what type of records pertain to the property. Many disagreements are taken care of at this level.
If the problem is not resolved, the next step is contacting the county clerk for information regarding forms and deadlines for appealing to the county board of equalization. A hearing will be scheduled where the board will hear evidence from the assessor and any evidence you might have regarding the value of the property which is the subject of the appeal.
If you are still not satisfied with the assessment on your property, 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 is later.