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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.

Business Property Owners: You may not have to accept what the tax assessor says you owe

When you receive your commercial property tax assessment, do you simply grumble for a bit and then pay it? It might surprise you to know that as many as 60% of properties nationwide receive too high an assessment, according to the National Taxpayers Union. And only a small percentage of people appeal tax assessments, sometimes as low as 2%.

If you were to appeal yours, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that you owe a lesser amount. By this point, you may be asking how you get on board with this deal.

Is your commercial property assessment too high?

If you have not yet received the tax assessment for property you own, you can expect it in the mail soon. The assessment shows you the jurisdiction's estimation of the value of your property, which then determines the amount of taxes you will pay. Like many business owners, commercial property owners and owners who rent property, you probably want to keep your taxes as low as possible. This may be difficult to do if you receive an inflated assessment of your property's value.

Fortunately, you can take steps to appeal the assessment of the property you own. It may go without saying that the appeals part of the assessment process is just as complicated, if not more so, than every other aspect of property taxes and assessment. Nevertheless, if it is possible to reduce your tax burden, you may want to exhaust every possible opportunity.

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