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5 steps to a commercial property tax appeal

Property taxes can be a significant financial burden for businesses. In Missouri, commercial properties are subject to higher tax rates than residential properties. Overtaxation can cost commercial property owners thousands or even millions of dollars. In such cases, appealing the assessment may be a sound business decision.

Here are the key steps to pursuing a commercial property tax appeal:

Commercial property tax appeals in non-reassessment years

In Missouri, real estate reassessments take place in odd-numbered years. Those values roll over to even-numbered years. For 2020, commercial property owners can thus expect to have the same tax burden as 2019 although the tax rate will change.

What if you recently purchased a property and believe your 2019 assessment is inaccurate as of 1-1-2019? What if prior to 1-1-20 there was a structural change?

The 3 techniques assessors use to value property

It's not uncommon for a St. Louis metro property owner to receive their assessment and wonder: "How did they come up with that number?" There is a process, however, and it is based on the use of three different approaches.

As explained by the Missouri State Assessors Association, an assessor may rely on one of these techniques, or use a blend. It depends on what is deemed appropriate for the property in question. Here's a brief overview of the three techniques.

Inflated property assessments can affect anyone -- even Walmart

If you're unhappy with your property tax assessment, you're in the same boat as Walmart.

The mega retailer is appealing the tax assessment for two stores in Franklin County (the ones located in Sullivan and Washington), arguing the assessor dramatically overestimated the worth of both properties. According to, the county valued the properties at $24.8 million total. Walmart, however, argues the actual value is about $14 million.

What are the characteristics of an ideal medical proxy?

Part of a complete estate plan is having powers of attorney in place. A financial power of attorney can manage your investments, pay bills and deal with any financial issues that may arise if you should become unable to do so. A medical power of attorney may have an even more delicate duty.

If you should become ill or injured and incapable of speaking for yourself, you may be unable to express your wishes for the kinds of medical treatment you would want and those you would prefer doctors to withhold. Choosing a medical proxy to make these decisions on your behalf means finding a person whom you can literally trust with your life. This is not necessarily going to be your spouse or your oldest child.

Hoping to appeal a decision to the Missouri State Tax Commission?

The St. Louis County Board of Equalization is sending Decision Notices to the taxpayers that filed appeals this summer. If you received a decision notice or if you purchased a commercial property since June 9, 2019, here is some helpful information.

Pay attention to deadlines

Top Reasons To Appeal Commercial Property Values

In Missouri, business owners and property managers receive tax assessment notices on the properties they own or manage every two years. But are the assessed values accurate? There is a possibility your property may have been assessed incorrectly as some counties use a computer mass appraisal system to arrive at the fair market value.

How does the commercial property tax appeals process work?

If you own a commercial property in St. Louis County, your building’s valuation may have risen with the recent assessments. While this indicates an increasing value in real estate investments, it may also signify higher property taxes.

Due to a large amount of real estate in a given county, the government uses a Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) to assess property and decide real estate taxes. Without CAMA, St. Louis County states the 400,000 properties in the county would take ten years to assess. While the system allows for more properties to be looked at in a timelier manner, it also creates additional problems. For example, many property owners disagree with the valuations provided by CAMA.

Important estate planning elements you may be overlooking

If you are like many people, when you think of estate planning, you probably think about writing a will that designates who will get your belongings after you die.

While writing a will is an important step to take, there are other items that can provide a more complete estate plan that not only distributes your assets but can provide security and protection for you and your loved ones. In fact, you may be surprised at how versatile and comprehensive the elements of an estate plan can be.

Tax assessors target Airbnb properties

When you travel, you may like the convenience and predictability of a hotel chain. On the other hand, if you have ever used Airbnb to find a place to stay on your trip, you know the benefits include a wider variety of locations and a room that feels more like a home. Perhaps your positive experience with Airbnb is what prompted you to list your own property for travelers to Missouri.

If you are one of the many St. Louis property owners who list your property as an Airbnb rental, you may have been shocked to receive a notice from the city assessor's office informing you that their agents had reclassified your property from residential to commercial. Now you are dealing with a property assessment that may more than double your tax bill.

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