St. Louis County Assessor says they are losing tax money to fake non-profits


by Staff

Posted on February 14, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 14 at 8:00 PM

( -- It appears some big organizations are not paying their fair share when it comes to property taxes in St. Louis County. The burden leaves millions in lost taxes and that money should pay for schools and fire departments.

Sterling Frey with Crestwood Appliance said he doesn’t understand why huge senior living complexes, that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to get in to, have a tax-exempt status in St. Louis County.

Frey has been in business for more than 50 years and said he has paid his property tax bill every year and that it just keeps going up.

“The little guy suffers and the big guy makes more money,” Frey said, “That’s all there is to it.  And that’s totally unfair.”

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman said he has looked at some of the businesses with tax exemptions and said he finds some of them troubling.

Zimmerman is on a mission to review all tax exempt properties in St. Louis County.

“If you look like, walk like, talk like and quack like a for-profit business,” said Zimmerman, “Then you can’t hide behind the robes of a non-profit to avoid paying your taxes.”

One example Zimmerman pointed out is Aberdeen Heights in Kirkwood. He calls it a nice place.

“It also costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to live there,” Zimmerman said, “And their charitable policy is if you run out of money, they might not throw you out.”

Aberdeen Heights is involved in a court fight currently with the Assessor’s Office. Zimmerman said he is confident the law is on his side and Aberdeen will be declared a for-profit business.