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Jackson County completes all 22,000 informal reviews of property tax assessments

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jackson County is now finished with the first phase of reviewing disputes over the big spikes in property tax assessments.

All 22,000 informal reviews, representing just more than 7% of all parcels, are now completed, and homeowners are seeing the results.

It seems to be a mixed bag of results with some getting denials, others seeing small changes, and a few lucky enough to get the major reductions they were hoping for.

But no matter the result, you might still have a way to get the numbers changed in your favor.

"Knowledge is power, so just become knowledgeable," said Don Gossman, owner of Gossman Consulting.

Gossman does residential property appraisals for a living. Since the summer, he's fielded a lot of calls from homeowners worried about the big spike in many Jackson County tax valuations.

"Just in general, they haven't raised valuations in 10 years, so people are shocked how much their houses have gone up," Gossman said.

The county's now done with the first phase of reviewing the thousands of appeals it's received.

Still frustrated and hoping to move the needles on their valuation, some homeowners are now hiring professional appraisers like Gossman to help.

"On a resident`s real estate appraisal, it's going to be the individual home you're dealing with -- the condition of it, the modernization to it. On the mass appraisal process, they're looking at all the houses in general," he said.

A professional appraisal will cost about $500. But the information can be powerful.

Gossman checked out a house in a neighborhood off Ward Parkway. The county found one house there was worth $330,000, but it's never been updated and needs major repairs. Gossman pegged the value closer to $260,000.

"The county usually looks at that information pretty strongly," he said.

Of course not everyone can afford an appraisal, forcing some to list their homes for sale to avoid paying higher taxes in the future.

But if you're not happy with the "stipulation" response the county's been sending by email, you have 21 days to fight back with an appeal to the Board of Equalization.

"Double check. There's nothing wrong with calling an appraiser if you have a question. He can't guarantee you a value or anything like that, but there's no reason to waste time," Gossman said.

The Board of Equalization is still mulling a handful of proposals that could roll-back or cap the rate hikes. It meets again Nov. 6.

The Jackson County Legislature is also considering an ordinance requiring more notice to file appeals, and confirmations to be sent once they're received -- steps that won't help those appealing now, but could be beneficial in future years.

Jackson County tax bills will start hitting the mail in November.

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