CCS/HCS/SS/SCS/SB 711 - This act modifies laws regarding property taxation by requiring tax rate rollbacks by all political subdivisions in reassessment years, changing the way voter-approved tax increases are applied to assessed values, changing the time line for the assessment and appeal of property taxes.
The imposition of penalties and interest on the erroneous payments of property taxes is prohibited when there is clear and convincing evidence that the county made an error in determining the tax amount due. Any penalty or interest paid by the taxpayer will be refunded upon the discovery of the error or omission.
Voter-approved property tax rate increases must to be applied to a political subdivision's most recent total assessed valuation, as certified by the city or county on or before the date of the election. Every political subdivision in a reassessment year must roll back its prior year's tax rate regardless of whether the political subdivision was levying the tax at its tax rate ceiling. A political subdivision may modify its tax rate, not to exceed its maximum authorized voter-approved levy, through the adoption of an ordinance, resolution, or policy statement in a non-reassessment year. All counties and the City of St. Louis must allow public testimony at the public hearing prior to setting the tax rates.
The income exemption for married claimants, under the property tax credit program, is increased from two thousand dollars to four thousand dollars for claimants that own and occupy their homestead for the entire year. The maximum award under the property tax credit program is increased from seven hundred fifty dollars to eleven hundred dollars for homeowners. The maximum upper limit and minimum base amounts, for the property tax credit for calendar year 2008, are extended to all subsequent calendar years. For homeowners claiming the property tax credit, the maximum upper limit is increased to thirty thousand dollars.
The act modifies the definition of "Agricultural and Horticultural Property" for purposes of real property tax to include real property used for showing of horses.
Charter counties and the City of St. Louis will set their tax rates by October 1st instead of September 20th. Assessors for the City of St. Louis and all charter counties must notify taxpayers by June 15th of real property assessment increases and the county provide an estimated tax liability for the property beginning January 1, 2009. Assessors for non-charter counties must notify taxpayers by June 15th of real property assessment increases and the county has to provide an estimated tax liability for the property beginning January 1, 2011. Assessors are required to provide the city or county clerks with assessment books by March 1st of each year to assist with determining the estimated tax liability on properties with increased assessed valuations. The clerks must make abstracts of the assessment books showing the aggregate amount of different types of property and the valuation of each type for each political subdivision levying taxes on property.
Governing bodies of political subdivisions have to informally project non-binding tax rate levies from the information provided in the abstracts and provide the projected levies to the clerk by April 8th of each year. County collectors must calculate the projected tax liability for each property for which the assessor intends to provide a notice of increased assessed valuation by April 30th by utilizing the projected tax levies. A political subdivision's tax levy will be reduced by twenty percent for the tax year if it fails to provide projected tax levies by April 8th, unless the failure is a direct result of a delinquency in providing, or a failure to provide, the required information by either the clerk or the assessor.
The date that the St. Louis County Board of Equalization convenes is moved back from the first Monday in June to the second Monday in July. The State Tax Commission must develop or enter into contracts for the development of computer software programs which will produce the notice of projected tax liability. Any collector that files a request with the commission before December 31, 2009, will be provided with the computer software programs. The circuit court clerk must send the county collector a notice when a taxpayer timely files an appeal seeking exemption of a final decision of the local board of equalization. The notice must contain the taxpayer's name, the case number assigned by the court, and the parcel or locator number of the property being appealed. The notice to the collector must state that the taxes in dispute are to be impounded. The commission to send the county collector a notice of appeal when a taxpayer timely files an appeal. The notice must contain the taxpayer's name, the appeal number assigned by the commission, the assessed value provided to the local board of equalization, and the assessed value proposed by the taxpayer if the values are available to the commission when the appeal is filed. The notice must also specifically state that the taxes in dispute are to be impounded, and if the notice is filed in an odd-numbered year, it will serve as notice to the collector to impound taxes for the following even-numbered year if no decision has been rendered in the appeal. Taxpayers are relieved from the requirement of filing a statement of protest if the taxpayer filed an appeal from a local board of equalization to the commission or circuit court.
The act repeals the requirement that operators of rental and leasing facilities provide a description of the personal property located within the rental or leasing facility to the county assessor where such rental or leasing facility is located for property tax purposes. The provision authorizing the imposition of a penalty for an owner of a rental or leasing facility's failure to provide the property lists is also repealed. Owners of marinas and other comparable facilities which provide dockage or storage space for boats, vessels, floating homes, and floating structures will no longer be required to provide documentation including the lessee's name, address, county of residence, and a description of the personal property located within the marina or comparable facility to the county assessor where such marina or comparable facility is located for property tax purposes.
The requirement that certain counties and the City of St. Louis must deduct a percentage of all ad valorem property tax collections and deposit the amount into the county's assessment fund is extended from December 31, 2009, to December 31, 2015. Effective July 1, 2009, the percentage deducted is increased from either one-eighth of one percent or one-quarter of one percent to either one-eighth of one percent or one-half of one percent and the income limits are increased from one hundred thousand dollars to one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars in any year for first classification and charter counties and from fifty thousand dollars to seventy-five thousand dollars for second, third, and fourth classification counties. If the commission withholds state assessment reimbursement funds from a county for three consecutive quarters, the extra one-eighth of one percent or one-half of one percent collection revenues in the county assessment fund will be forfeited and returned by the county to the political subdivisions within the county. The act changes which counties of the first classification are required to withhold one percent of all ad valorem taxes to be deposited into the county's assessment fund.
For homestead preservation tax credits filed between Dec 31, 2008, and Dec 31, 2011, the homestead exemption limit will be based on the increase in tax liability from the base year to the year prior to the application year. For applications filed on or after January 1, 2012, the homestead exemption limit will be based on the increase to tax liability from two years prior to application to the year immediately prior to application. The term "base year" means the year prior to the first year in which the eligible owner's application was approved, or 2006, whichever is later. Under current law, in the event the general assembly fails to appropriate sufficient moneys to fully fund the homestead preservation tax credit, the exemption limit is increased thereby limiting the number of otherwise eligible applicants which will receive a credit. This act would allow for a pro rata allocation of tax credits among all eligible applicants in years in which state appropriation is insufficient to fully fund the homestead preservation tax credit program.
The true value in money for assessment purposes of any possessory interest in real property on or adjacent to a certain commercial airport and owned by a political subdivision will be the true value in money of the possessory interest in the real property less the total costs paid toward any new construction or improvements on the property if included in the possessory interest, unless paid by the political subdivision, regardless of the year the costs were incurred.
Beginning January 1, 2009, subject to appropriation a taxpayer may receive a property tax credit for expenses incurred to manufacture, maintain, or improve a freight line company's qualified rolling stock up to the amount of such taxpayer's tax liability. The state will, subject to appropriation, annually reimburse a political subdivision for any loss in revenue resulting from utilization of the tax credit.
The act modifies several provisions of law regarding the notification of appeal of assessment and the impounding, investing, and refunding of protested tax payments. School districts which levy a tax rate below the performance levy due to mandatory roll-backs will continue to be eligible to receive grants currently provided to small school districts. Political subdivisions with voter-approved rate increases subsequent to setting their most recent tax rate are exempt from the provisions regarding the mandatory rollback in reassessment years. The requirement that the commission notify each school district of the equivalent sales ratio for the previous year which was adopted to determine the equalized assessed valuation of the property and the equalized operating levy of the school district for distributions under the previous school foundation formula is repealed. The position of taxpayer advocate is created, within the state tax commission, to represent and protect the interests of taxpayers regarding property taxation.
The act requires the director of the Department of Revenue to collect a maximum fee of one half of one cent per motor vehicle or driver license record for batch/bulk customer requests that meet the criteria enumerated in the Drivers Licence Privacy and Protection Act.
This act contains provisions similar to those contained in SB 718, SB 805, SB 891, SB 976, SB 1285, HB 1321, HB 1343, HB 1349, HB 1474, HB 1694, HB 1695, HB 1723, HB 1836, HB 1958, HB 2058, HB 2079, HB 2165, HB 2393, HB 2439, and HB 2532.