The Assessor’s duties
and what they mean to you

Assessor’s Vehicles   |   Assessor’s Duties   |   Misconceptions   |   Responsibilities   |   What is Market Value?   |   How is Market Value Estimated?
Why Value Changes   |   Exemptions and Credits   |   How does the Assessor know what Personal Property I have?

Assessor’s Vehicles
Your Assessor’s Office has three vehicles used to navigate around the county collecting and checking property data and values.  They all have license plates stating Howell County Assessor’s Office and lettering stating the same.  If anyone not in one of the vehicles described is at your property stating they are with the Assessor’s Office, please get their license number and report them immediately to law enforcement.  We have purchased these not only to reduce expense for the office but to also give you security in knowing we are who we say we are, but if in doubt ask the driver for identification and call the number on the vehicle which is the office phone number.

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What are the Assessor’s duties?
The Assessor is charged with many administrative and statutory duties; however, the primary duty and responsibility is to appraise and assess all real and personal property within their jurisdiction except that which is otherwise provided by law.  This would include residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural classes of property.  Real Property is revalued every odd numbered year, Personal Property is revalued every year.  The effective date of the assessment is January First of the current year.  The assessor determines a full or partial value of new construction, or improvements depending upon the state of completion as of January First.

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General Misconceptions About the Assessor’s Work
The Assessor does not:

¨     Mail tax statements

¨     Collect taxes

¨     Calculate taxes

¨     Determine tax rates

¨     Set policy for the Board of Equalization

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The Assessor is responsible for value, not taxes Taxing jurisdictions such as schools, cities, fire boards, health department board and ambulance boards, adopt tax rates after public hearings.  This determines the total tax levy, which is the tax rate required to raise the money to support local budgets.  The taxes you pay are proportionate to the value of your property compared to the total value of the taxing district in which your property is located.

What is Market Value?
Market value of a property is an estimate of the price that it would sell for on the open market on January First of the year of assessment.  This is sometimes referred to as the “arms length transaction” or “willing buyer/willing seller” concept.  In a discussion with the Assessor’s Office concerning the value of your property you may be asked if you would sell your property for the Assessor’s estimate of market value.

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How Does the Assessor Estimate Market Value?
To estimate the market value of your property, the Assessor’s Office mails a sales information letter to the purchaser of real property, as this is the only way for the Assessor’s Office to gather sales information under current law. The Assessor uses this information to determine the need to revalue property based on current real estate conditions in Howell County and may use one or all three of the accepted approaches to value.  The first approach, the MARKET APPROACH, finds properties that are comparable to yours which have sold recently.  Local conditions peculiar to your property are taken into consideration.  The assessor also uses sales ratio studies to determine the general level of assessment in a community, in order to adjust for local conditions.  This method is usually considered the most important in determining the value of residential property.  The second approach is the COST APPROACH and is an estimate of how many dollars at current labor and material prices it would take to replace your property with one similar to it.  In the event improvement is not new appropriate amounts for depreciation and obsolescence would be deducted from replacement value.  Value of the land is then added to arrive at the total estimate of value.  The INCOME APPROACH is the third method used if your property produces income such as an apartment or office building.  In that case, your property could be valued according to its ability to produce income under prudent management; in other words, what another investor would give for a property in order to gain its income.  The income approach is the most complex of the three approaches because of the research, information and analysis necessary for an accurate estimate of value.  This method requires thorough knowledge of local and national financial conditions, as well as any developmental trends in the area of the subject property being appraised since errors or inaccurate information can seriously affect the final estimate of value.

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Why Values Changes
State law requires that all real property be reassessed each odd numbered year.     Changes in market conditions as indicated by research, sales ratio studies and analysis of local conditions as well as economic trends both in and outside the construction industry are used in determining your assessment.
If you disagree with the assessor’s estimate of value, please consider these two questions before proceeding, as outlined below:

  1. What is the actual market value of my property?
  2. How does the value compare to similar properties in the neighborhood?
    • If you have any questions about the assessment of your property, please contact us and discuss it with the assessor before the Board of Equalization convenes and before paying your tax bill.  Early contact with the Assessor’s Office may resolve the issue completely.
    • You may file a protest with the Board of Equalization which is composed of the three County Commissioners, the County Surveyor and two members of the community.  The appeal shall be in writing and the forms to be used for this purpose shall be furnished by the County Clerk.  Such appeal shall be filed with the County Clerk as Secretary of the Board of Equalization before the second Monday in July.
    • Any appeal before the Board of Equalization is a formal appeal and will require you to provide current evidence of you claim of incorrect valuation.  Evidence that will be considered includes recent sales, contracts on the subject property, current appraisals by a licensed appraiser and certain insurance documents.
    • If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Board of Equalization.  You may appeal to the State Tax Commission by September 30th or 30 days after the Board of Equalization’s decision.

For more information on appeals to the Sate Tax Commission, see their web site

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Exemptions and Credits

    Tax relief for households where one member is at least 65 years of age.  Also individuals that are 100% disabled could qualify for relief. The senior citizens centers in the county and any tax preparer will have the current qualification information and can best advise you on eligibility.

For more details see: Missouri Department of Revenue

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How Does the Assessor Know What Personal Property I Have?
The Assessor mails blank assessment forms in January of each year. It is your responsibility to send a completed form to the Assessor by March 1, listing all the taxable personal property you own as of January 1. If your form is late, the Assessor is required to send a second notice before April 1 allowing you until May 1 to return the assessment without a late assessment penalty.  Assessment lists not postmarked or received by May 1 will be penalized as required by Section 137.280 Revised Statutes of Missouri and those penalties range from $10 to $100, depending on the amount of personal property valuation involved. The assessor may contact you to follow up if the form is not complete.

Please save yourself money two ways by returning your assessment by March 1, the Assessor’s Office will not need to send a second notice and you will be assured of no late assessment penalty.

If you are a new resident of Howell County or will be as of January 1, be sure and notify the personal property division for a personal property list at 417-256-8284

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