Has the assessed value of your real estate gone up?

During the past week or so, property owners in St. Louis and surrounding Counties, including Jefferson County, should have received notices from their Assessor if the values of their real estate, business, and residential, have changed. Recent news articles are suggesting that residential property values on average have increased in the past two (2) years twelve (12%) percent in St. Louis City and fifteen (15%) percent in St. Louis County (with the Jefferson County “values on average” not yet been determined). Although many of you may see the Assessor’s notice of an increased valuation as good as the investment in your business or residence is now worth more, this could also mean higher tax bills for many. If you don’t think you could sell your property at its new appraised value, you have a very limited time in which to seek a review of the “reassessment” value. Therefore, having prior knowledge on how to correctly value a commercial property or a residential one can be helpful in this regard. What has come to be known as “Appeal Season” runs from May through September. Property owners can start with informal appeals and then proceed to the Board of Equalization Hearings or even the State Tax Commission if unsatisfied with the Assessor’s decision.

However, this process may not be as “informal” or “simple” as it may first appear.

In Jefferson County the taxpayer must schedule an informal conference with the Assessor’s Office within fifteen (15) days of receiving their assessment notice. At this “informal conference”, you will meet with a representative of the Assessor’s Office who will have their office’s file on your property which will contain not only detailed physical characteristics, but also its sale/market history and, in all probability, a “print-out” from the software used to make the reassessment. Going to the conference and simply stating that your property “isn’t worth that much” will in all probability be of little or no benefit. That is, you must have competent and credible proof/evidence of what you submit the value to be.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the “informal conference” with the Assessor’s Office, you may appeal to the County’s Board of Equalization. This process becomes much more formal with very specific forms, documents and evidence needed for what will be a hearing before the three (3) person Board. The deadline for filing the appeal in 2019 is July 8th. This deadline cannot be extended and must be submitted on the forms published by the County Clerk. Any forms that are not properly completed or any form that is omitted may cause the appeal to be dismissed. Furthermore, a person wishing to present formal testimony or evidence on their appeal must prepare five (5) copies of all documents. A hearing date will then be assigned, at which you will be allowed approximately fifteen (15) minutes to make your case.

If dissatisfied with the decision of the BOE, you can appeal to the State Tax Commission by September 30th or within thirty (30) days of receiving their decision.

Sound complicated? It can be! Let us work with you.

The Thurman Law Firm is quite experienced in all aspects of real estate property tax appeals. Attorney David Senkel represented the Jefferson County Assessor’s Office for over thirty (30) years and would be happy to speak to you about a possible appeal, particularly as to business owners and the commercial property they own. Mr. Senkel can be contacted at 636/797-2601 x114.