Reassessments impacted by real estate boom

Dan Field
The real estate market at the lake is booming.

The sudden explosion in real estate sales in Camden County and the lake area, and the subsequent increase in value determined by supply and demand, has caused Camden County Assessor Marty McGuire to take a wait-and-see approach to reassessments.

By state law, assessor’s are required to reassess property values every two years.

“My approach is that I’m going to let the market settle out and take a closer look in 2023, the next reassessment year,” he explained.

He’s concerned that if he reassesses at possibly inflated valuations, then taxing entities could face serious budget challenges if the valuations suddenly drop if the real estate market drops.

Properties within five miles of the Lake of the Ozarks fall under Planning & Zoning regulation. The Camden County Planning & Zoning Department issues building permits for new construction and remodels. Building permits help the field appraisers to track changes in property which affect values.

He noted that field appraisers often photograph the exteriors of properties as a historical record in case of damage from fire or severe storms. Insurance companies can gauge the value of a property if they have a visual reference such as a photo. It’s also a reference if improvements or changes have been made to a structure.

“If we see an improvement in a non-assessment year we don’t usually raise the valuation then,” he explained.  

Property assessments are based on Jan. 1 of each year. Improvements in place as of that date are assessed that year.  Improvements made after then are not assessed until the following year.

In 2020, Camden County’s assessed valuation was slightly more than $1.7 billion.

Reassessment occurs every odd-year tax cycle. This is when McGuire and other assessors can update the assessments in their counties to reflect current market conditions and follow state mandated reappraisal.  

All real estate and personal property in Missouri counties is assessed each year. By statute, each odd numbered year, including this year 2021, is a reassessment year. The onerous task of assessment in Camden County falls on the shoulders of  McGuire, who is nearing completion of his first term in office.

The process of assessing the 70,000 parcels of real estate and the 35,000 personal property accounts is truly a full-time job. Field appraisers systematically review each parcel while the personal property department updates the assessment lists. While statutorily each odd year is a reassessment year, the assessment can also change in off-years if there is new construction or a change in improvements. His four-person team of field appraisers is on review year-round.

Under Missouri statute, all assessments for property tax purposes must be based on market value and be uniform within the same class or subclass of property.

For property tax purposes, there are two classes — real and personal.

Real property is sub-classed and assessed as follows:

• Residential: 19 percent of value

• Agricultural: 12 percent of value

• Commercial: 32 percent of value

Personal property is assessed as follows:

• 33 and one-third percent of the value. Vehicle values are based on the average trade-in value as published by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).

A property owner’s tax bill is based on the total assessed value of the property and the tax levy assigned to that district. Levies differ by taxing district according to the total amount of levy from each of the taxing entities located within it, with the school districts getting the lion’s share of the tax dollar. As the assessed valuations change, the taxing entities have the task of establishing their levies and creating their budgets.

What to know

• Change in value notices are sent out starting in April. In most cases, notices are sent out if the assessed value is $100 or more higher than the previous year or if a new parcel has been created that did not exist the previous year.

• If a property owner feels an assessment is unfair, a request can be made for an informal hearing with the assessor’s office to discuss the assessment and answer questions.

• If that meeting fails to resolve the dispute, the issue can be advanced to a three-member Board of Equalization (BOE) appointed by the County Commissioners.  The deadline to file a formal assessment appeal to the Board of Equalization is the third Monday in June.

• BOE decisions can be appealed to the Missouri State Tax Commission and must be filed by Sept. 30.

For more information, contact McGuire at the Camden County Assessor’s office, 573-317-3816; or go to https://bit.ly/2SYi4zF for the complete Property Reassessment and Taxation guide.