It’s taxing situation that could increase taxes “with a vengeance”

There has been an ongoing battle between the Missouri Tax Commission and Taney County that could increase taxes “with a vengeance” and has cost the tax payers of Taney County hundreds of thousands of dollars. It revolves around the way real property taxes have been assessed and will be assessed in Taney County.

Anyone watching the fiasco going on between the Taney County Assessor’s Office and the State Tax Commission has to cringe as they watch what has happened and look forward to what will happen. As the Ole Seagull sat in some early meetings it was like a comedic farce filled with smoke and mirrors and “he said she said.”

But, at the end of the day it was more “dark comedy” than funny because, from the outset, it was obvious that, regardless of the outcome, it was going to cost the taxpayers of Taney County money and in the end, for most, higher real estate taxes. In fact, for some it has already started.
If, a taxpayer lives in a condominium, as the Ole Seagull does, the chances are very good that the assessed value of the condo went up at least 20 percent on the most recent assessment notice received. In general that translates to the payment of a substantial increase in property tax on the property.

Does it take an “Assessing Solomon” to figure out that, in the vast majority of cases, if a piece of property, condo or otherwise, was properly assessed previously to the last assessment notice that the property could not possibly have increased in value 20 percent during the last two years. Why there is even a rumor that condos were singled out for this special treatment even though that couldn’t possibly be the case if the assessments were done in a professional, fair and equal manner, but were they?

For what it’s worth, an Ole Seagull would estimate that the issue has already cost the taxpayers of Taney County between $600,000 and $700,000. These are reimbursable funds that the State Tax Commission did not pay because of their allegation that the Taney County Assessor’s office is not properly doing its job properly. Anyone want to guess who is making up the difference? Can we say, “The tax payers of Taney County?”

In the opinion of an Ole Seagull, the sad thing is that when the issue is finally resolved, the majority of those residents living in older homes and businesses with older buildings could be paying much higher real estate taxes than they were when the situation started. What a travesty.

How different things might have been if Taney County had admitted the obvious, said to the Missouri Tax Commission our assessments are too low and asked how it could work with them to get the assessments up to where they should be with a minimum of impact on Taney County’s property owners, particularly those on low and fixed incomes. Instead, our assessor and County Commissioners chose to fight a battle very few, including an Ole Seagull really understood.

The potential results however are very clear. The headline in the June 3 edition of the “Taney County Times” proclaimed just how clear saying, “Taxpayers could see 30 percent increase in property taxes.” An Ole Seagull is just curious, “How could that possibly be happening if the assessments done in the past were done properly?” One can only wonder if the same type of professionalism, seeming arbitrary conduct, and process was used in the past as was used on the blanket assessment of Taney County’s condominiums.

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