Jackson County homeowners seek to pay taxes under protest

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Real estate taxes are due this month, and more property owners in Jackson County are learning how to pay their taxes under protest because of inflated property values.

One Midtown lawyer has created a protest letter any homeowner can use to fight their tax bill.

Mortgage companies typically make tax payments in the first week of December, so homeowners who pay into an escrow account for their property should deliver a protest letter to the county this week, attorney Sherry DeJanes advises.

Even if owners have appealed their assessed property values, DeJanes says it's clear the county is not going to hear all appeals by the time taxes must be paid.

Owners must pay real estate taxes by the deadline to avoid penalties and interest, and paying under protest forces the county to separate any windfall into a segregated account where it can't be spent until the protest or appeal is resolved.

"You have got to state what you are protesting: the amount," DeJanes said. "You have to say why you are protesting it. Why the assessment is inaccurate. You have got to tell them what you want them to do. Then you have to be aware, if they don’t act on your request within 90 days, you have to file suit in circuit court."

DeJanes has created a letter that any homeowner can use to pay their taxes under protest when submitting a payment.

It's being distributed on the Nextdoor website and app. Protesters can also get a copy by clicking or tapping here or emailing a request to ladylawyerkc@gmail.com

DeJanes currently represents about 20 Jackson County property owners in challenging their values and taxes.

She's also teaching homeowners to make Sunshine Law requests for their property records.

DeJanes says if the county's records show there has been no physical appraisal of their property, she says owners are likely to win their appeal or protest, and get a refund for the excessive increase paid under protest.

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