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St. Charles County Connection e-Newsletter Articles

Posted on: May 4, 2021

Understand Your Real Estate Assessment; Be Wary of Valuation Services

Homes

2021 Notices of Real Estate Assessment were mailed recently to St. Charles County property owners. State law requires the Assessor to revalue all real estate property in the county by Jan. 1 of odd-numbered years, so the valuation notices reflect the property’s change in value since Jan. 1, 2019. 

This year, the notices include a QR code that property owners can scan with their smartphone to view more detail about their property through the Assessor’s online property database.

“The addition of the QR code to the notices gives property owners the opportunity to better understand their reassessment,” says Scott Shipman, Assessor. “Information on the appeal process and answers to frequently asked questions also is available online at sccmo.org/Assessor. As always, taxpayers are welcome to call us or come in with any questions they have.”

Residential values have increased 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, such as 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.

Scheduled informal hearings will be conducted with property owners through early June. 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. If an agreement is not reached after the informal hearing, the property owner can 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 at no charge through the Assessor’s office.

“The services they provide are not as in-depth as the services our office provides, or that homeowners can research on their own or discuss with our office at no cost,” Shipman says. “We have found that going through these companies can result in inaccurate information, bog down the appeal process and waste taxpayer time and money.”

Shipman adds that in many cases, the information presented by these companies is usually not relevant to the market value and is generated without considering important aspects such as the location and size of the property,
 architectural type and condition. Representatives or tax agents performing appraisal or valuation analysis information must be certified or licensed in the state of Missouri. 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. The values for both 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 the Assessor’s website or call 636-949-7428.

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