|Frequently Asked Questions
What are the duties of the Assessor?
The Assessor is charged with placing a fair market value on property as of the tax date for the purpose of calculating taxes. The property tax in Missouri is "ad valorem" - meaning the taxes are based on the property value. The Assessor has no jurisdiction or responsibility for taxing jurisdiction budgets or establishing the tax rate.
Who is responsible for the amount of tax on my bill?
Your tax bill is comprised of three key components:
1. Assessment authority
2. Taxing authorities
3. Collection authority
The assessment authority (Assessor's Office) is responsible for establishing the fair market value of all property within Scott County as of the tax date. This assures the tax burden is distributed fairly among those responsible for payment. The taxing authorities (school, city, fire district, etc.) establish the tax rate based on the budgetary requirements needed to appropriately fund the services provided within their jurisdiction. The collection authority (Collector's Office) is responsible for collecting the amount of tax assigned to each property owner.
What is the tax rate?
The tax rate is a levy determined by each taxing jurisdiction (school district, fire district, etc.) that will yield enough money to fund their services budgeted for that fiscal year. That levy is applied to each $100 of assessed value. These rates are to be established within statutory guidelines. The County Assessor is not responsible for establishing the tax rate for any taxing jurisdiction, on the fair market value of your property.
How are taxes calculated?
The market value of your property is multiplied by the statutory level of assessment. Residential property is assessed at 19% of market value, agricultural at 12% and commercial and all others at 32%. This assessed value is then multiplied by the tax rate (per $100) for your particular area.
How do I know if my assessment is correct?
You should first attempt to do your own calculation of what your property is worth. This can be accomplished using recent comparable sales in your area, comparing assessments of similar properties, and reviewing the replacement cost of property in your homeowners insurance (the land is usually not included in the replacement cost). Sales and assessment information is available in the Assessor's Office.
What is market value?
Simply stated, market value is the most probable price in terms of money that a property will bring in an open and competitive market. Not all sales are consumated at market value, but the intent of the Assessor is to estimate the fair market value of each property in Scott County as of tax day as required by law.
Isn't the value used by the Assessor's Office less than market value?
No. The value assigned by the Assessor's Office should represent fair market value as of January 1 of the tax year. The only properties not valued at market are agricultural properties which are valued in soil productivity grades.
How can my assessment change when I haven't done anything to my property?
General economic conditions such as interest rates, inflation rates, supply and demand, and changes in tax laws will influence the value of real estate. As property values change in the marketplace, those changes must be reflected on the assessments. The Assessor does not create the value, but rather interprets the real estate market.
How often is my value subject to change?
Missouri law requires a reevaluation or property values every two years (each odd year). The purpose of this reassessment is the equalization among taxpayers, as well as adjusting any values, to better reflect current market conditions as of the tax date. New constructionis added on an annual basis.
Will my taxes change as a result of the new assessment?
Though the value of your property affects your share of taxes, the actual amount you will pay is not established until the end of September. It will be determined by the budget needs of the taxing jurisdictions (school, city, fire districts, etc.). The taxing jurisdictions decide what services they will provide in the coming year and how much money they will need to provide those services. Once this decision is made, a tax rate is adopted that will generate the needed dollars. This rate is then applied to the individual assessed values and tax bills are generated.
If reassessment occurs every two years, why does my bill change every year?
The value of your property is subject to change every two years (excluding new construction) however, your tax rate (established by the taxing jurisdictions) is subject to change annually.
What remedies do I have, as a taxpayer, if I do not agree with the market value placed on my property by the Assessor?
There are three levels to the appeal process:
1. Informal appeals are conducted in June of each year to discuss the value or classification with a member of the Assessor's Office staff.
2. The Board of Equalization meets during June/July to hear disputes between the taxpayer and the Assessor and to render a decision. The deadline for appealing at this level is the second Monday in July.
3. The Missouri State Tax Commission is the next level in the appeal process. You must have appealed to the Board of Equalization in order to appeal at this level. This deadline is September 30th to file the appeal or 30 days following the date of the decision of the Board of Equalization.
I am a senior citizen and cannot afford to pay higher taxes. What can I do?
Unfortunately, there are only two tax credits for residents of Missouri. One is known as the senior citizen "Circuit Breaker". There are age and income requirements (or 100% disabled). Information can be obtained online at www.dor.mo.gov/tax/personal, at Mid East Area on Aging (1-800-243-6060), at Scott County Assessor's Office (573-545-3536), or through your local senior citizen center. By law, the Assessor is still responsible for valuing your property at fair market value. The other is the "Homestead Preservation Act". It also has age and income requirements (or 100% disabled). Contact the resources listed above or go online to www.dor.mo.gov/tax/personal/homestead.htm.
What do I need to change the name or remove a name from my property?
A legal document such as a quit claim or warranty deed needs to be recorded in the Recorder's Office.
How do I change the ownership names after filing a Beneficiary Deed?
You should file an Affidavit of Death containing the description of the property with the Recorder's Office.
Who should be notified of my change in mailing address?
The Assessor's Office will accept mailing address changes in person or through the mail. Send address changes to the Assessor's Office, Post Office Box 245, Benton, Missouri 63736. If you do not receive a tax bill be sure to contact the Assessor and verify the address on the tax roll.
Where do I inquire about zoning regulations?
Zoning regulations may be obtained from the city in whichthe property lies. For zoning regulations outside any city limits, contact Rita Milam, County Clerk, at 573-545-3549.
Where can I receive information about sewers, septic systems or water availability?
This information may be obtained from the city in which the property in question lies. For information about septic system regulations outside of any city limits, contact the Scott County Health Department at 573-545-3583. For information about water availability outside of any city limits, contact the appropriate water district in which the property in question lies. If the property lies outside the boundaries of any water district, contact Rita Milam, County Clerk, at 573-545-3549 for information.
How can Flood Plain or Flood Map information be obtained?
Contact Rita Milam, County Clerk, at 573-545-3549.
How do I obtain a building permit?
Building permits may be obtained from the city in which the property in question lies. For building permits outside any city limits, contact Rita Milam, County Clerk, at 573-545-3549.
How can I find out about easements?
You can check a copy of the proper subdivision plat, contact the appropriate utility office to see available information, research them in the Recorder's Office, or contact a title company to do the search.
Whom do I contact if I want to put up a fence?
Check with the city in which the property in question lies. If the property lies outside city limits, you will need to contact a surveyor to locate your property lines.