MSAA Frequently Asked Questions

What are Assessment and Reassessment?
Assessment is the process of placing 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.
How often is property reassessed?
Reassessed values of real estate are placed on the tax rolls by the assessor every odd-numbered year (1995, 1997, etc.). Personal property is assessed every year.
What happens in the even year?
For most real estate owners, nothing. However, if new construction and improvements have taken place, the property is reassessed in the even-numbered year - - but only to pick up the value that has been added by the new construction. That value is based upon market conditions as of January first of the preceding year.
What types of property are there?
Two types of tangible property:
  1. Real Property - Includes land, improvements to the land and all rights inherent in ownership
  2. Personal Property - Any property that is not real property; that is, not permanently affixed to or part of real estate. Personal property includes cars, boats, aircraft and farm equipment.
Is all property taxed?
No. Some personal property is exempt, including household goods, inventories, wearing apparel and items of personal use and adornment. Exempt real estate and personal property can also include property owned by governments, and property used as non profit cemeteries, exclusively for religious worship, for schools and colleges, and for purely charitable purposes.

In addition, there are about 50 economic development zones in the state, located in places where there is blight, unemployment, etc. In those areas, to attract employers, or encourage employers to expand, some property improvements are given tax abatements for a period of years.
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 subclass of property.

Over time, the value of 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 fairly, and is 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 State Tax Commission (see later in this FAQ). The State Tax Commission is the state agency charged with general supervision of assessors and with enforcing property tax laws.
What are Assessor's qualifications?
Assessors are trained in all aspects of the assessment process including determining value using income approach, cost approach, and comparable sales approach. (These approaches are described below). Assessors must participate in approved continuing education courses to remain certified with the State Tax Commission.
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 who is not forced to do so.
How is my assessment level established?
Once the estimate of market value has been determined, the assessor calculates a percentage of that value to arrive at assessed value. The percentage is based on the classification, determined by the type of property or how it is used. The percentages are:
Real Estate
Type of Property Assessment Level
Residential 19%
Agriculture 12%
Commercial & all other 32%
Personal
Type of Property Assessment Level
Historic Autos 5%
Farm Equipment & Livestock 12%
Grain ½ of 1%
Cars, Boats, Other 33 and 1/3%
As an example, a residence with a market value of $50,000 would be assessed at 19% which would place its assessed value at $9,500. An automobile with a market value of $10,000 would be assessed at 33 1/3%, or $3,333.
How are Real Estate classifications determined?
Missouri statues define the three subclasses of real estate:
  1. Subclass 1 - Residential property:  All real property improved by a structure which is used or intended to be used for residential living by human occupants, vacant land in connection with an airport, land used as a golf course, and manufactured home parks, but residential property shall not include facilities used primarily for transient housing.
  2. Subclass 2 - Agricultural and Horticultural property is that which is actively used for those purposes. The value of this land is established by its productivity, based on soil productivity guidelines set by the State Tax Commission. It is not based on market value. However, when the highest and best use of land is considered to be agricultural, and it is not actively farmed, it may be assessed according to market value and not by productivity guidelines.
  3. Subclass 3 - Utility, industrial and railroad property, and any other real estate that does not fit either of the other two classes. Includes mines, stores, factories and property of most corporate owned property.
How does the Assessor know what personal property I have?
The assessor sends out blank assessment forms early each year. It is the taxpayer's responsibility to send a completed list back to the assessor by March 1, listing all the taxable personal property owned on January 1. If the assessment list is late, Missouri statutes require a penalty to be applied, ranging from $10 to $100, depending on the amount of assessed value involved.
How does the Assessor value my real property?
A number of methods are used. The assessor's staff looks at new construction that has taken place, sales prices of comparable property located nearby, the condition of your property, and any other factors that can help place an accurate value on the property.

Three techniques are available:
  1. Cost Approach - First, the value of the land is estimated, as if vacant. The assessor then adds the amount it would take to replace your structure with one of similar utility, including current costs of materials and labor, profit, overhead, permit fees, and the like. If your structure is not new, the assessor then approximates depreciation from all causes, and subtracts that from the calculation of replacement cost.
  2. Market (sales comparison) Approach - Your property is evaluated based on comparable properties that have recently sold, and adjusted for differences, such as a garage, finished basement, or better location. Where there are adequate sales and similarities in properties, this can be the most reliable approach for residential property.
  3. Income Approach - This approach works well for apartments, shopping centers and office buildings. The assessor estimates potential gross income from rentals, and then subtracts an amount for vacancies and operating expenses. The amount of net income is then converted to a value for the property, using a process called capitalization.
Will all property values change due to reassessment?
All values are likely to change, but not all will change to the same extent. Market values can change more in some neighborhoods, locations and price ranges, than in others.
If no improvements have been made to my property, why should the assessed value increase?
Over time market value often changes even if no improvements are made to the property. Many people sell their homes for much more than they paid for them years earlier with no more than basic maintenance on the property. 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 increase in my assessment?
The assessor is required by statute to notify the owner of record of any increase in the valuation of real 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 is to establish the correct market value of the property. Stating that property taxes are too high is not typically relevant to market value. 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, documentation of recent sale of your property, or 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 assessment was determined, what factors were considered, and what type of records the Assessor utilizes pertaining to your property. Most disagreements and misunderstandings 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. The Board will hear evidence from both you and the Assessor regarding the value of the property which is the subject of the appeal.
  3. State Tax Commission -You have a right to appeal to the State Tax Commission by August 15 in first class counties or St. Louis City, and September 30 in other counties or 30 days after the final action of the Board of Equalization, whichever date is later.
Will political subdivisions lower their levies?
When the total assessed valuation within a political subdivision increases substantially, as often happens as a result of reassessment, the political subdivision is allowed an increase in revenues to account for inflation, plus the revenues it receives from the taxes on new construction and improvements. After these inflationary factors, the governing body of each political subdivision is required to then “roll back” their tax rates to take in no more than substantially the same income they had received in the prior year. The inflation factor used by the political subdivisions (does not include new construction) is either 5% or the Consumer Price Index as certified by the Missouri State Tax Commission, whichever is less.
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. It follows that, if levies decrease, an increase in assessed value 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 question. Another is a voluntary tax levy reduction voted by the governing body.

Tax levies are normally set by September 1. That means when you receive a notice that your assessment has been increased, usually between March and May, it is too early to be able to calculate how the change in assessed value will affect your taxes. You will not know or be able to calculate the taxes on your property until the rates have been set by all of the political subdivisions what tax will be on your property.