Tax bills have been out for a few weeks now, but some significant jumps in what some Camden County residents may have them scratching their heads.

The holidays are now in full swing, and with the count down beginning for the end of 2018, it also means property tax season in Missouri. 

Tax bills have been out for a few weeks now, but some significant jumps in what some Camden County residents may have them scratching their heads, maybe even doing a deeper dive into government conspiracy theories.

If only! In fact, the answers are pretty simple. We have no one to blame but ourselves. Voters approved multiple levy increases this year for certain taxing entities around the county.

The main part of the Camden County lake area saw tax rate increases this year with three fire protection districts receiving voter-approved operating levy jumps and two school districts saw tax issues passed, including School of the Osage getting a bond issue passed, with associated debt service, to pay for multiple facility improvements around the district.

Other entities remained relatively flat with slight adjustments to hold revenue stable outside of new construction and inflation based on the Consumer Price Index, per state law.

In addition to these tax rate increases, the overall assessed value of Camden County has increased about $23 million from 2017. That means a little bit of increase in property value for a lot of properties. Camden County does have nearly 70,000 parcels in play, according to Camden County Assessor Marty McGuire. Some of the increased value is new construction and additions, but each situation is unique, and he says there is no one or two things to point out for why the overall valuation increases from year to year.

While a $23 million increase in property value county-wide may sound like a lot, looking back over the database of the last 13 years McGuire says, that’s a pretty normal increase for Camden County. It places the county’s overall assessed valuation at $1,682,461,013 in 2018.

Rate increases

Osage Beach Fire Protection District

$0.5934 per $100 of assessed value in 2017 to $0.7773 in 2018 (all operations levy)

Mid County Fire Protection District

$0.3899 per $100 of assessed value in 2017 to $0.6032 in 2018 (all operations levy)

Lake Ozark Fire Protection District

$0.9354 per $100 of assessed value in 2017 to $1.2838 in 2018 (In 2018, $0.6017 of the $1.2838 is designated for ambulance services and $0.0903 is for debt service. The rest goes to general revenue or fire district operations.)

School of the Osage

$3.149 per $100 of assessed value in 2017 to $3.299 in 2018 (In 2018, $0.699 of the $3.299 is for debt service and the rest general revenue.)

Stoutland School District

On the edge of the Lake area, Stoutland School District is also seeing a tax rate increase for general revenue, increasing from $2.75 per $100 of assessed value in 2017 to $3.4523 in 2018 with the additional funds all going to general revenue.

How taxes are figured

The property tax system is based on relatively simple math equations, just with multiple steps along the way.

Assessment

It starts with assessments — how much your property is worth including real estate and personal property, mainly vehicles and large equipment.

County assessors are currently in the midst of a major reassessment year, reviewing properties for 2019 assessments, but in reality, the Camden County Assessor’s Office is constantly reviewing real estate to try to ensure accurate valuations, according to McGuire. It takes a lot of time to go over nearly 70,000 parcels after all.

The upcoming assessments have to be done by late April 2019.

(On a side note: In addition to local property tax assessments, the Missouri State Tax Commission assesses state-assessed properties, such as utility and railroad properties, McGuire explains.)

Based on facilities on the property, previous values from past assessments and comparable pricing of similar properties, a market value is developed.

The county assessor staff don’t have a satellite to go by to pick out properties to assess but rather do systematic sweeps through the county, says McGuire, in addition to some help from related government agencies, such as planning and zoning, to become aware of improvements to properties.

From market value, an assessed value is created with different categories of properties assessed at different percentages, based on state law. The rate for agricultural properties is 12 percent, residential properties 19 percent and commercial approximately 33 1/3 percent. 

Real estate owners are taxed on the assessed value, not the market value. 

Tax rates

Things get even simpler with applying property tax rates to your home.

Multiply that assessed value (market value x 19%) by the tax rate, divided by $100.

A $300,000 home would have an assessed value of $57,000. If the individual taxing entity has a rate of, for example, $0.88 per $100 of assessed value. Multiply $57,000 by 0.88 and divide by 100.