Used cars become more valuable, raising property tax bills for area residents

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by Chris Nagus / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on December 6, 2012 at 11:39 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 7 at 5:45 PM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Just in time for the holidays, Missouri personal property tax bills are in the mail.

Some Missouri residents are getting an unwanted surprise. Some used cars are worth more which means their tax bills are going up instead of down.

Charles Huber owns two used Mazda’s; a 2008 Tribute and a 2008 Mazda 6. The value of his 2008 Tribute went down, but the Mazda 6 went up.

In 2012 the Mazda 6 was assessed at $3,630, up $340 dollars from 2011. Huber says the bill seems to defy conventional logic. Huber believes both of his used vehicles are worth less because they have more wear and tear and more miles.

KMOV investigative reporter Chris Nagus noticed the same thing on his tax bill. He owns a 2006 model vehicle. Its value also increased over last year, despite hail damage and a noticeable dent on the front fender.

According to the Missouri Tax Commission in Jefferson City, assessments are calculated from the National Auto Dealers Association October manuel. According to the manuel, in 2012, some used cars were in higher demand, and that resulted in higher assessments.

It is impossible for the manuel to account for high miles, dents, hail damage, and other issues that might bring the value of a used car down. Missouri residents can appeal, but even if they appeal taxes must be paid in full before December 31st. If you plan to appeal you must include a note indicating you are paying in protest.

The first step in the appeals process is to contact your local county assessor to find out if the Board of Equalization is meeting before December 31st. If the board is not meeting before the end of the year, you can appeal directly to the Missouri Tax Commission at no cost. Here is a link to the appeal form.

The burden of proof is on the taxpayer. The Missouri Tax Commission will consider other source guides, appraisels, and photos of the vehicle when considering an appeal.

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