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Missouri AG, State Tax Commission sue Jackson County over assessment process

Andrew Bailey
Posted at 1:28 PM, Dec 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-19 14:28:23-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey and the State Tax Commission announced Tuesday they plan to file a lawsuit against Jackson County for its 2023 property assessment process.

News of the lawsuit comes a day after Missouri State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick released the preliminary findings of his audit — requested by the Jackson County Legislature — that found parts of this year’s assessment process violated state law.

RELATED | Complete coverage, Jackson County property assessment

Tuesday’s lawsuit names the Legislature, County Executive Frank White, County Assessor Gail McCann Beatty, the Jackson County Board of Equalization and Tyler Technologies as defendants.

“I will always fight for Missourians who are being over-taxed, especially in Joe Biden’s economy where everyone’s wallet is stretched thin,” Bailey said in a press release announcing the lawsuit.

Bailey’s office seeks an order that would void any increase in assessed value of implicated properties, prevent defendants from collecting or levying any real property tax based on an increased in assessed value and allow various penalties against Tyler Technologies.

The lawsuit alleges “several ways” in which the assessment process failed to comply with the law, including issues surrounding the notification to property owners of increases, concerns over the physical inspection of properties and concerns over the parcel-by-parcel review.

Specifically, the lawsuit alleges unlawful levy of taxes due to failure to provide proper notice, unlawful levy of taxes due to failure to provide proper notice of physical inspection, unlawful levy of taxes by failing to perform physical inspections or “allowing meaningful administrative review,” unlawful levy of taxes due to a “dysfunctional administrative review process,” and several counts of negligence, among other allegations.

“We’re glad Jackson County residents came forward to let us know how they were adversely affected by this illegal behavior,” Bailey said. “We encourage all Missourians to reach out when they need help. We will always have Missourians backs.”

In the release, Bailey echoed comments made Monday by Fitzpatrick in that Jackson County residents should “pay their taxes due by Dec. 31 under protest.”

Late Monday evening, Jackson County Assessor Gail McCann Beatty addressed the audit, saying the county is still reviewing the findings but believes there are mistakes.

"As the Jackson County Assessor, I acknowledge the preliminary findings presented by the Missouri State Auditor’s Office regarding our assessment process," Beatty said. "These preliminary findings are being carefully reviewed and thoroughly analyzed by our internal team. While we believe there are mistakes in these preliminary findings, we remain actively engaged with the auditors to ensure a comprehensive understanding of their observations and correct any inaccuracies."

Beatty said county associates completed an extensive review of residential parcels and owners were allowed an opportunity to provide additional information using a postage-paid or online questionnaire.

“Nonetheless, we will provide further updates and detailed actions following the release of the final audit report," Beatty said. "Until then, we remain dedicated to upholding fair and equitable property assessments, ensuring that our assessment process aligns with industry best practices.”