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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?

Fortunately, Missouri allows appeals of property tax assessments in even as well as odd years. Most appeals are based on overvaluation. You can also appeal on grounds of misclassification, exemption or misgraded agricultural lands. There are some important considerations to keep in mind, however:

1. You can only appeal the valuation, classification or exemption for this year. If you receive a favorable outcome, the change will cover this year alone. It won't apply retroactively to 2019.

2. You must meet strict deadlines. The first formal step is filing an appeal with your county Board of Equalization (BOE). Depending on the county, the deadline is typically in June or July. For St. Louis County, it's the second Monday in July. If you get an unfavorable decision from the BOE, you have 30 days from the date of the decision (or until September 30th - whichever is later) to appeal to the State Tax Commission. Missing any of these deadlines will sink your appeal.

3. You must support your appeal with solid evidence. Without adequate evidence, your appeal stands little chance of success. For appeals based on overassessment, for example, your documentation might include: 

  • An independent appraisal of value dated 1-1-19
  • Photos of the property's condition as of 1-1-19
  • Closing statements on a recent purchase
  • Comparable sales
  • Income and expense reports prior to 1-1-19
  • Bills or quotes for repairs, maintenance and construction work that existed on 1-1-19

4. Business entities must have legal representation. In appeals before the State Tax Commission, an attorney must appear on behalf of legal entities such as corporations, LLCs, partnerships, trusts and estates. Given the complexity of property tax appeals, legal representation is a wise decision in any case.

For many commercial property owners, a successful appeal can result in significant tax savings. Seek legal help sooner rather than later if you're considering an appeal this year.

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