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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Personal property taxes in Missouri, that’s what you pay on your vehicles, are due on December 31 in Jackson County.

It’s a date that might not be easy to forget, given the higher tax bills many are facing.

Tax assessors say the vehicle computer chip shortage is to blame because it drove up prices in the used car market.

In fact, Jackson County lobbied for changes in state law that would have allowed for more flexibility. Those changes never came so the process remained status quo, leading to the bigger bills and wider frustration.

At the Jackson County Courthouse in downtown Kansas City there is a long line to speak with someone about personal property taxes.

Jim May, who lives in Blue Springs, tried to stay cool while looking at his $975 personal property tax bill.

“This is my second day here trying to talk to someone. That’s the problem,” May said. “I know cars, they say, used are going up. But this is ridiculous. It didn’t go up that much.”

But county officials say price hikes like that align with the trends they are seeing.

“So we’re all frustrated with it. We saw vehicles increasing close to 30% overall. That’s a pretty significant increase that people simply didn’t anticipate,” Gail McCann Beatty, director of assessment for Jackson County, said.

McCann Beatty has people working overtime answering calls and emails, answering questions on the situation that the state tax commission tried to avoid by persuading lawmakers.

“They had legislation that would have given assessors more flexibility. That would have been nice if we could have gone with the lower value over the last three years or something like that, I think would have given some relief to property owners,” McCann Beatty said.

Instead, as directed by state law, car values are still being pulled from the previous October.

Also, levy rates have impact, McCann Beatty notes.

“So they think that it is the county that is getting all of these dollars when in reality we simply collect for all of the taxing jurisdictions,” she said.

“About 7% goes to the county. The lion’s share goes to your school district,” McCann Beatty said pointing to an example tax bill.

But for people wanting to talk to someone directly about their tax bill it is still frustrating.

“Hey, if it’s worth this much let them buy it from me. Yeah, this is ridiculous,” May said.

People can do a lot of business online related to personal property taxes but Jackson County is also opening extended Saturday hours at the Truman Courthouse in Independence specifically for taxes from 8 a.m. to noon on Dec. 10 and Dec. 17.

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