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Jackson County homeowners have until July 31 to appeal property tax assessments. Here's how

In some cases, workshop attendees reported their property tax assessments have ballooned more than three times the 30% increase Jackson County projected. For retired residents, this is a financial hurdle they may not be able to overcome. (Caption for this or next photo)
Noah Taborda
KCUR 89.3
Some people who attended a town hall meeting on Jackson County property tax assessments said theirs had ballooned more than three times the 30% increase county officials projected.

Some Jackson County residents report their property tax assessments are up 90% from two years ago. On Friday, the Jackson County Board of Equalization extended the deadline to file formal appeals.

Updated July 7, 2023:

Jackson County property owners have until July 31st to file formal appeals to their property assessments, after the Board of Equalization extended the deadline Friday from July 10.

The board acted under pressure from some Jackson County officials, who urged the board to extend the deadline. Homeowners can still make an appointment with the county assessment office and resolve disputes without going to a formal Board of Equalization hearing. The county assessment office, however, is no longer accepting walk-ins.

Jackson County assessment director Gail McCann Beatty says informal appeals will be available at least until August 15th by appointment.

Original story continues below:

A few hundred people gathered at the Mohart Center in Midtown Kansas City on last month to learn how to fight what they feel are unjust taxes.

The Jackson County Assessment Department anticipated property tax assessments would increase by an average of 30% this year. But in the crowded auditorium it was easy to spot people who are facing far steeper hikes.

“We thought 2019 was the lesson to the county that they would learn the problems and what they did wrong and they would fix it and we wouldn't have to be back here again. That obviously didn't happen,” said Stacey Johnson-Cosby, the lead organizer.

This year’s assessment shock mirrors the situation in 2019, when Johnson-Cosby helped plan about a dozen town halls like the one on Saturday.

In some cases, Kansas City homeowners are facing increases over 90% from two years ago. Joseph Jackson, a former member of the Board of Equalization — an independent board of citizens that assists taxpayers with property tax appeals — said his assessment went up about 91%.

Anticipating an outpouring of appeals from property owners, this year county assessors are offering informal reviews in addition to traditional appeals. Seeing this, Jackson helped organize a workshop for residents who are confused, frustrated or simply lost in the process of how they might rectify the increase.

“This is a situation where every two years we're going to continue to see these (increases),” Jackson said. “For those of you all who are not thinking about doing an appeal, I would caution you to go ahead and do it because the numbers that they have now will be the numbers that they will start with in 2025. You're looking to reset the floor.”

The second of three workshops drew a crowd of a couple hundred to hear from realtors, appraisers and lawyers. The first workshop saw more than 1,000 people show up.
Noah Taborda
KCUR 89.3
The second of three workshops drew a crowd of a couple hundred to hear from realtors, appraisers and lawyers. More than 1,000 people showed up to the first workshop.

The town hall format allowed residents to describe their situations and seek advice on best ways to proceed.

Many elderly residents said the increases are not affordable post-retirement. Others said values in their neighborhood fluctuated wildly from house to house. The consensus was confusion and a fair bit of desperation.

Down the hall from the auditorium, people waited to sit down with volunteer realtors who pulled the value of comparable properties in the area, known as “comps.” This is the first step before either a formal appeal or an informal review.

Raytown Alderman Ryan Myers, a commercial property appraiser, said comps give a sense of whether the market value listed is too high. If it is too high, it might be worth it for a homeowner to get a new property appraisal. But those average around $500 to $600.

“If these realtors say you might have a case and you're going to save $200 on your tax bill, but at the end of the day, you're gonna end up paying an appraiser $500 to contest that you're, you're actually losing $300,” Myers said.

People in attendance were encouraged to consider filing for an informal review or an official appeal.

Emily Joyce, a lawyer with Legal Aid of Western Missouri, said if a resident is not confident their home has been overvalued, a formal appeal to the Board of Equalization might not be the best route.

“We haven’t seen it happen, but they do still have the power to raise your assessed value,” Joyce said.

 Outside the auditorium, a crowd of residents waited for a chance to sit down with volunteer realtors to pull comps and discuss any other specific questions one-on-one.
Noah Taborda
KCUR 89.3
Outside the auditorium, a crowd of residents waited for a chance to sit down with volunteer realtors to pull comps and discuss specific questions one-on-one.

The deadline to file a formal appeal is July 31. Speakers recommended filing now even if they don’t have their entire case put together, because it will likely take a while before the Board of Equalization is prepared to hear the case.

Joyce said Legal Aid of Western Missouri can assist people whose income meets a certain threshold or are over the age of 60.

Saturday’s workshop was one of three planned across Jackson County. On Thursday, more than 1,000 people showed up to Colonial Presbyterian Church for the first town hall.

The final workshop will be 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at 1300 W. 28th St. Jackson County Legislator Manny Abarca has said he plans to raise these concerns during the county’s budget committee meeting Monday, June 26. In a statement Friday, he encouraged residents to attend and share their concerns.

If you feel your assessment was unfairly raised:

  • For an informal review or an official appeal, you'll need to prepare the following: Real estate comps, quality photos of anything in disrepair that could lower value, an appraisal if the comps indicate one would be cost-effective and any other recent documentation that may reflect a fair property value.
  • An informal review can be done in person at 1300 Washington. Appointments are required. Homeowners can make an appointment through the Jackson County Assessment Office’s website or schedule online.
  • The Jackson County website has more information about your options. 
  • If neither the informal nor the formal county review processes lead to a valuation you agree with, there is one more avenue to try: filing an appeal with the Missouri State Tax Commission.
Updated: July 7, 2023 at 5:34 PM CDT
This story was updated to reflect a new deadline of July 31 to file a formal appeal of Jackson County property assessments to the Board of Equalization, and to reflect that the assessment office is now requiring appointments for informal appeals.
As KCUR's health reporter, I cover the Kansas City metro in a way that reflects our expanding understanding of what health means and the ways it touches different communities and different areas in distinct ways. I will provide a platform to amplify ideas and issues often underrepresented in the media and marginalized people and communities in an authentic and honest way that goes beyond the surface of the issues. I will endeavor to find and include in my work local experts and organizations that have their ears to the ground and a beat on the health needs of the community. Reach me at noahtaborda@kcur.org.
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