UNIQUE FACTORS ARE DRIVING VEHICLE VALUES
Observant taxpayers know that each year typically brings a reduction in assessed value of their vehicles listed on their personal property tax statements received from Platte County, and as a result a reduction in their personal property tax bill.
This isn’t a normal tax year, at least not for vehicle assessed values. Many taxpayers are noticing their vehicles are being assessed by the county at the same value as last year, and thus their personal property tax bills on those vehicles likely did not decrease.
That question is being asked by not only Platte Countians but many Missourians as the Dec. 31 deadline to pay taxes approaches.
Officials with the State Tax Commission of Missouri say the answer is not as simple as the question.
Contacted by The Landmark, Platte County Assessor David Cox said that “for any vehicle that was assessed in 2021, there was no valuation increase in Platte County for that same vehicle in 2022.”
Cox used the phrase “there was no valuation increase.” From a taxpayer’s point of view, the more relatable phrase might be “there was no valuation decrease,” because it’s a very rare economic circumstance when used vehicle values go up–or stay the same–from year to year.
For instance, in the tax year 2021 local taxpayers noticed a drop in the assessed value of their vehicles from tax year 2020. But in tax year 2022, vehicle owners are noticing the assessed value of their vehicles is listed the same as tax year 2021.
For taxpayers who want more details than what the local assessor provided in his statement to the newspaper, the State Tax Commission (STC) starts its explanation this way:
“Due to supply chain problems, chip shortages, and record-high inflation, fewer motor vehicles have been available in the market while overall demand for vehicles has remained high. Consequently, the values of motor vehicles have been driven upward. Analysts predict inventory of motor vehicles may not return to pre-pandemic levels until late 2023. Analysts also predict the chip shortage, which has had a dramatic effect on vehicle prices, might not be alleviated until 2024,” says a news release available on the State Tax Commission’s website.
In Missouri, county assessors determine the value of property that is taxed locally. County assessors are required to value property at fair market value.
According to the State Tax Commission:
“To determine fair market value for motor vehicles, state law provides a methodology requiring county assessors to use the trade-in value published in the October issue of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA) Official Used Car Guide, or its successor publication, as the recommended guide of information for determining the value of motor vehicles described in the guide.”
The State Tax Commission says the assessor is not allowed to use a value greater than the average trade-in value without performing a physical inspection of the motor vehicle. For vehicles two years old or newer from a vehicle’s model year, the assessor may use a value other than average without performing a physical inspection of the motor vehicle, according to the State Tax Commission.
Because supply-chain problems, the chip shortage and record-high inflation have driven the values of motor vehicles upward, the NADA guide used to assess vehicles this year reflects those increased values, according to the State Tax Commission.
Once fair market value is determined, the county assessor multiplies the value by 33-1/3 percent to determine the property’s “assessed value” and transmits the information to the county collector.
The county collector calculates the taxes by multiplying the assessed value by the tax levy set by local taxing entities, such as school districts, fire and ambulance districts, library districts, etc.
Taxes collected by the county collector are distributed to the local taxing districts within the county.
The STC says it oversees the assessment process in Missouri to ensure it is fair and equitable across the state and hears and decides appeals from decisions of local boards of equalization.
The STC does not value motor vehicles nor calculate taxes or collect taxes.
For information about taxing districts or the calculation, collection, and disbursement of taxes, contact your local county collector or the Missouri State Auditor’s Office.
State laws related to the assessment and taxation of property are in Chapters 137, 138, 139, 140, and 141 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri. You can access the Revised Statutes of Missouri at https://revisor.mo.gov/main/Home.aspx.