As explained in the companion article, Should You Challenge Your Property Tax Assessment in Missouri? you may be able to lower that taxable value – and reap big tax savings in Missouri.
To successfully challenge the taxable value, you’ll need to establish at least one of the following facts:
If you’re convinced that any of these facts is true, consider the following strategy for trying to get your taxable value reduced.
If you have convincing evidence that the tax assessor has overvalued your home, he or she may agree to change the value. If that happens, you won’t need to pursue an administrative appeal. You can get contact information for your tax assessor from the Missouri State Tax Commission.
Most tax assessors are hard-working officials who take pride in their work, and do their best to treat homeowners fairly. It’s best to phone ahead for an appointment with the tax assessor or an assistant. Before your meeting, make extra copies of your evidence, such as tax assessor reports, related to the value of your home. When you meet, assume that the tax assessor is acting in good faith and is willing to consider your evidence. There’s no need for you to be argumentative or to complain about how property taxes have become burdensome. Just stick to evidence that warrants a lower taxable value for your home.
The tax assessor may change the taxable value on the spot but, more likely, will need a few days or weeks to look into the issue.
If you can’t reach agreement with the tax assessor, you can appeal the valuation. Here’s where to appeal and useful evidence for doing so.
You can appeal your home valuation by petitioning your County Board of Equalization. File your appeal with the County Clerk by the third Monday in June – except in St. Louis, where the deadline is the second Monday in May. Call the tax assessor’s office for details on what paperwork you need to submit. There will be a hearing where your evidence will be considered.
In pursuing your appeal, several types of evidence may be useful, including:
At the hearing, you’ll probably have just five or ten minutes to present your case, so be succinct. Bring extra copies of your documentary evidence so that each hearing officer has a copy. Try to include a chart showing comparative sales prices and taxable values. You may want to arrive early so that you observe – and learn from – other people’s hearings.
If you’re not satisfied with the Board’s decision, you can appeal to the Missouri State Tax Commission. In most communities, you must file your appeal within 30 days after the Board rules, or by September 30 – whichever is later. But in St. Louis and some other communities, the date is August 15 rather than September 30. For more information, see the helpful brochure Property Tax Appeals before the State Tax Commission of Missouri, published by the Commission.
If you don’t agree with tax commission’s decision, you can go to court for a further review. You’ll probably need to hire a lawyer to advise or represent you if you plan to go to court.
To find an experienced real estate lawyer in Missouri, check out Nolo’s Lawyer Directory.
For more information on tax appeals in Missouri, look at the website of the Missouri State Tax Commission. Click on How to File an Appeal of Your Assessment.