Jefferson County residents and merchants can expect to find personal property assessment declaration forms in their mailboxes any day now.
Assessor Bob Boyer said more than 100,000 personal property assessment declaration forms were mailed out on Monday,
The forms ask people to declare what personal property they owned or were in control of as of Jan. 1.
The items residents list will be used to prepare personal property tax bills that will be due by next New Year’s Eve.
The declaration form is due by March 1.
“In most cases, we’re talking about cars, trucks, SUVs and boats,” Boyer said, “but it also includes trailers, livestock, farm machinery and business-related equipment.”
It’s important for all county residents to return their list properly and promptly, Boyer said.
“It’s our (the Assessor’s Office) job to make sure the property roll is accurate and fair for all concerned,” he said.
Boyer noted the lion’s share of property taxes go to schools, fire protection districts and ambulance districts.
“If they don’t have accurate numbers when they set their rates later this year, they might not be able to roll back their rates if they’re in that position, which hurts taxpayers in the end,” he said.
Boyer said more and more people are using the electronic filing option.
“In 2017, we had 8,400 people use e-file,” he said. “That went up to 23,000 in 2019 and last year it was 30,000. We’re hoping to add 10,000 more this year, mainly because a lot of people may not want to come into the office to file because they’re concerned about COVID, or they don’t want to trust the U.S. Postal Service to deliver their forms on time. And those concerns are understandable. But, we’ve found that when you give people an easier option, they’ll use it.
“And e-filing is easier. If you have no changes, it takes about 30 seconds, and you get a confirmation e-mail, so you’re always sure that our office has received it. And for those who need to make changes, we’ve ironed out the kinks and the bugs over the years, so it’s much easier for those people as well.”
Boyer said this week’s mailings will include a website address and PIN for those who wish to file electronically.
Those who need to add vehicles, he said, are advised to have the VIN number for the addition at the ready.
“You can file your declaration on your smartphone,” he said.
The traditional alternatives to electronic filing – mailing back the form or dropping it by the Assessor’s Office at the Jefferson County Administration Center, 729 Maple St., in Hillsboro, are still available.
Boyer said about 75 percent of residents file their declaration forms by March 1, which is the deadline to file them.
Under state law, penalties are assessed to those who file their declaration forms after the deadline.
“We really don’t want to have to do that to people,” Boyer said.
Boyer said his office will not make the rounds at senior centers around the county to lend a hand to those who need help dealing with the form.
“The senior centers are closed, but in any event, seniors are the most vulnerable to the virus,” he said. “We’ve helped several dozen people over the past three years, and we want to start it up again in 2022.”
He said his office staff also will help people with Missouri circuit breaker forms.
The circuit breaker is a state tax credit allowed some seniors and those who are 100 percent disabled. Those approved for the program are allowed to claim as a tax credit part of the real estate taxes or rent they pay.
“We can’t file it for people, but we do work with them to determine whether they’re eligible and make sure they have the information they need to file,” Boyer said.
Those who do not receive a property tax declaration form or who have questions about how to fill out the form or the circuit breaker program should call the Assessor’s Office at 636-797-5343 or send an email to email@example.com.