The St. Charles County Assessor will mail 2021 Notices of Real Estate Assessment to property owners starting the week of April 19. State law requires the Assessor to revalue all real estate property in the county as of Jan. 1 of odd-numbered years. The valuation notices reflect the change in value since Jan. 1, 2019. This year, the notices will include a QR code that property owners can scan with their smartphone to view more detail about their property through the Assessor’s property database.
“We hope this addition to the notices helps property owners better understand their reassessment,” says Scott Shipman, Assessor. “Information on the appeal process and answers to frequently asked questions also are available online at sccmo.org/Assessor. Of course, taxpayers are welcome to contact us with any questions they have.”
Residential values are up due to a strong, high-demand housing market and historically low interest rates. Commercial real estate values have varied, Shipman says, due to the pandemic and economic uncertainty.
“Some properties like warehouses, data centers and medical offices have increased in value while others like hotels, entertainment-related and retail-oriented properties have constricted in value,” Shipman explains.
Notices will be sent in three mailings: Washington, Wentzville, and St. Charles school districts first; Fort Zumwalt and Orchard Farm school districts second; and the Francis Howell School District third. Taxpayers have 10 days from the mailed date on the notice to schedule an informal hearing with a staff member from the Assessor’s office to discuss the property value or classification by calling 636-949-7431, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday–Friday. Scheduled informal hearings will be conducted beginning the last week of April through early June. If an agreement is not reached after the informal hearing, the property owner would then file an appeal with the Board of Equalization.
Shipman warns property owners about paying valuation service companies to help them determine if their property is overvalued and/or to assist in the appeal process. Many valuation service companies buy public data and use information homeowners can access for free through the Assessor’s office.
“The services they provide are inferior to the services our office provides, or what a homeowner can research on their own or discuss with our office at no cost,” Shipman says. “These companies do not perform due diligence, which bogs down the appeals process with inaccurate information and wastes time and taxpayer dollars.”
Shipman says that in many cases, the information presented by these companies is usually of little relevance to the market value and is generated without considering important aspects such as the location and size of the property, architectural type and condition. Additionally, Shipman notes that representatives or tax agents performing appraisal or valuation analysis information must be certified or licensed in the state of Missouri, and offers to provide market value to contest assessments based on contingent fees are in violation of Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.
The Assessor is responsible for establishing the fair market value of both real estate and personal property within St. Charles County to assure taxes are distributed fairly among those responsible for payment. Real estate and personal property values are adjusted as necessary to reflect current market and economic conditions such as interest rates, inflation rates, supply and demand, and changes in tax laws. Political subdivisions, which include school, city and fire districts, establish property tax rates/levies based on budgetary requirements needed to appropriately fund services provided within their jurisdiction. The Collector of Revenue receives these rates annually by Oct. 31 and is charged with issuing property tax bills and the collection and disbursement of taxes to the political subdivisions.
For more information, visit sccmo.org/Assessor or call 636-949-7428.