Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No Tax Relief Due to Flood, Assessor Says

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No Tax Relief Due to Flood, Assessor Says

Article excerpt

Unless the rules are changed, Missourians are not eligible for tax relief this year on their flood-damaged real estate or personal property.

St. Charles County Assessor Eugene Zimmerman says that state law makes no provision for changing the assessed value of properties until next Jan. 1.

The only relief, Zimmerman said, might be emergency action in Jefferson City.

Chris Sifford, a spokesman for Gov. Mel Carnahan, said Tuesday that any changes in the state's assessment policy would have to be by statute. Sifford says the governor has not made a final decision on calling for a special session of the Legislature to deal with flood issues.

But a special session "is a good possibility," Sifford said. And if the assessment issue is related to the flood, he said, "I would think it would be included" in the Legislature's agenda. He added, however, that the governor's office had not been contacted by anyone asking for changes in the law to allow tax adjustments as a flood-relief measure.

Zimmerman said he had been getting a lot of telephone calls seeking such relief. He said that flood victims had been advised by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to call their county assessors.

That advice is appropriate for Illinois residents, Zimmerman said, but not in Missouri. Illinois law allows tax assessments to be reduced for houses and businesses damaged by the flood, and local assessors there are setting up policies to make such adjustments.

Dan Donley, chairman of the Missouri State Tax Commission, confirms that Missouri law bars the mid-year changing of assessed values. But he acknowledges that in some counties, the County Commission or County Council in the past agreed to an abatement of taxes in cases, for example, of property damaged by fire. …

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