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Missouri auditor: Jackson County assessment process violated state law

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Jackson County Assessments
Posted at 1:00 PM, Dec 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-18 23:16:28-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The 2023 Jackson County property assessment process did not comply with Missouri law, according to an initial report Missouri State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick released Monday.

The Missouri State Auditor's Office found that up to 200,000 Jackson County homeowners were victims of the assessment process.

RELATED | Complete coverage, Jackson County property assessment

The ongoing audit revealed that the Jackson County Assessment Department failed to properly notify property owners that a physical inspection is required by law. Letters sent to homeowners also included an "inaccurate" statement regarding property owner's rights for an interior inspection.

Preliminary results of the audit also found that not all 200,000 applicable taxpayers received a notification letter, and that only 50,000 letters were prepared "because department officials felt it would have placed an excessive demand on department personnel and resources."

"The notification that was given was inaccurate and often untimely," Fitzpatrick's initial report on the audit stated. "As a result, Jackson County property owners may not have known they were entitled to an exterior inspection and to request an interior inspection, and were denied the benefit of these physical inspections before their timeline for appeal expired."

A more generalized distributed to all taxpayers also did not outline the recipients' right to request an inspection and did not include the percentage increase of assessed value.

The Missouri State Auditor's Office also states that if the undated letters were sent on or near June 15 as the assessment department claims, then recipients requesting an interior inspection "would not have been able to use that information to consider an appeal with the Board of Equalization" before the deadline on July 10.

Fitzpatrick believes the department's failure to follow state law "should invalidate" valuation increases of over 15%.

"I would also tell Jackson County residents who saw their home values increase by more than 15 percent that if I were in their shoes, and felt my assessment was unfair, I would pay my taxes under protest and plan to pursue remedies available to me by law based on my individual circumstances in the event the County does not remedy the flawed assessments," Fitzpatrick stated.

Jackson County legislator Sean Smith stated Monday that he is requesting for legislative chairman DaRon McGee to schedule an emergency meeting on remedying the flaws with the assessment process.

"The lawful and appropriate action is to immediately set a 14.9% CAP on increases for 2023 reassessments," Smith said in a statement.

KSHB 41 News reached out to the Jackson County Assessment Department for a statement on the Missouri State Auditor's Office's findings. This story will be updated if a response is received.