Missouri auditor finds that Jackson County assessment process broke state law

Missouri State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick released an initial report on Monday stating that the 2023 Jackson County property assessment process did not comply with Missouri law.

The assessment process victimized up to 200,000 homeowners in Jackson County, according to the Missouri State Auditor’s Office.

The ongoing audit has uncovered a failure on the part of the Jackson County Assessment Department. It appears that property owners were not adequately informed about the mandatory requirement for a physical inspection. Furthermore, the letters sent to homeowners contained misleading information regarding their rights pertaining to an interior inspection.

According to the initial findings of the audit, it was discovered that not all of the 200,000 taxpayers who were eligible received a notification letter. Surprisingly, only 50,000 letters were actually prepared. The reason behind this decision was that department officials believed that producing more letters would have put an overwhelming strain on their personnel and resources.

“The initial report on the audit by Fitzpatrick highlighted the inaccuracies and untimeliness of the notifications provided. This meant that Jackson County property owners were not properly informed about their entitlement to an exterior inspection and the option to request an interior inspection. As a result, they were denied the opportunity to benefit from these physical inspections before the expiration of their appeal timeline.”

The distributed notice to all taxpayers did not provide details on the recipients’ right to request an inspection or include the percentage increase of assessed value.

According to the Missouri State Auditor’s Office, recipients who requested an interior inspection would not have been able to use the information provided in the undated letters to consider an appeal with the Board of Equalization before the July 10 deadline, if the assessment department’s claim of sending the letters on or near June 15 is accurate.

According to Fitzpatrick, the valuation increases of over 15% should be invalidated by the department’s failure to comply with state law.

Missouri State Auditor, Nicole Galloway, recently released a statement regarding the significant increase in home values for Jackson County residents. In response, State Representative Scott Fitzpatrick advised those affected by the unfair assessments to pay their taxes under protest and explore legal remedies if necessary. Fitzpatrick emphasized the importance of individual circumstances and the potential need for action if the county fails to address the flawed assessments.

Jackson County legislator Sean Smith has called for an emergency meeting to address the issues with the assessment process. Smith made this request on Monday, urging legislative chairman DaRon McGee to schedule the meeting promptly.

In a statement, Smith emphasized the importance of taking swift and appropriate measures by implementing a 14.9% CAP on increases for 2023 reassessments.

KSHB 41 News contacted the Jackson County Assessment Department to gather their response to the findings of the Missouri State Auditor’s Office. We will update this story if we receive a statement from them.

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