Assessor's Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why do I have to turn in a personal property listing if I have the same items as last year?
Because of the January 1, assessment date, our experience shows that many people trade vehicles in January. By the next January, they have had that vehicle a year, so they think they have the same vehicle as the previous year, when their property list really has had changes. Livestock numbers and grain inventories usually change each year, also. With over 165,300 articles of personal property in Audrain County, it is impossible to "lookup" all these items in addition to placing a value on each one, in the allotted time between January and May of each year.
2. Why does my real estate value change when I haven’t sold the property or made any changes?
Real estate is an investment and we all hope that our investments gain in value over the years, and for the most part, if taken care of, they will be worth more in the future. In Missouri the local property tax system is based on the true value in money of all property, so when property values increase, your assessment should increase also. By the same token, if values decrease, then assessments decrease also, for the given period.
3. Why does my tax bill always increase?
Several factors determine if and when your tax bill will increase, besides the assessed value. Levy increases are voted for, by the people, for schools, hospitals, libraries, road districts, etc. Many times even though a certain amount is voted, the district, may decide that the entire levy amount is not required and voluntarily lower their levy until more funds are needed. The next year they may use the entire levy amount approved by the voters, so it appears that their taxes increased without a vote, when in reality they paid less in the previous year than had been approved. When you purchase additional or newer vehicles, your tax bill will increase because the value of your property has increased.
4. Doesn’t the Driver's License Bureau tell you when I trade vehicles?
No, the License Bureau does not give us any information regarding vehicles traded or purchased. Their only function that relates to the Assessors Office is that they are required to see proof that you have paid your prior year’s taxes on the vehicles that are being renewed. We receive a printout from the Missouri Department of Revenue once a year showing the taxpayers for our county.
5. What does a "Notice of Change in Assessed Valuation" really mean to me?
Whenever the value of a property is increased, we are required by statute to notify you of this increase and allow you an opportunity to discuss the value with the assessor and appraiser. This increase may, or may not, result in an increased tax bill, depending on the size of the increase in assessment. You also have the opportunity to appeal the value to the Board of Equalization, and the State Tax Commission, and ultimately to the Supreme Court if you desire. Most differences are resolved at an informal meeting between the taxpayer and Assessor’s office.
The assessment process requires us to value real estate within 5% of the market value of that property. Properties that have not sold are the most difficult, because they haven’t had a price tag put on them. In those cases, we have to search for sales of similar properties and apply adjustments to arrive at a reasonable value on the subject property. When you discuss the value with the Assessor’s office or any of these others, you need to have documentation, as to why the value should be different, and present this so it can be considered.