Previously, we talked about how to dispute your property taxes in the Greater St. Louis area. In this episode, we go over personal property taxes. What kind of personal property is taxable? How does the local government determine its value? Can the taxable value be disputed and what is the process?
What is Taxable Personal Property?
According to stlouisco.com, “taxable personal property consists of motor vehicles, trailers, mobile homes (situated on leased/rented land), watercraft, boat motors, aircraft, livestock, farm machinery and equipment, agricultural crops and any other personal property not exempted by law.”
When it comes to personal property taxes, the city and counties of the Greater St. Louis area are different, so check your respective area for its rules and processes. We will use St. Louis County in this article as a guideline.
When to Pay Personal Property Taxes
Personal property taxes must be paid by December 31st every year. If you do not pay, you will not be able to renew your licenses, so it’s important not to overlook your tax bill.
You will receive a property declaration form on January 1st which will state what percentage of the value of your vehicle or other personal property will be taxed. This form must be returned by March 1st.
This form doesn’t include any information on how to dispute or appeal the amount you will be taxed, but it is possible to do so. For instance, a car with high mileage will be worth less. So will a car that has been in an accident or has some other type of damage, such as from hail.
How to Dispute Personal Property Taxes
The county assumes everyone drives approximately 12,000 miles a year. This may be accurate for retired residents, but most working people will drive much more than that. If your car has high mileage you can dispute the taxable value by doing the following:
- Get third-party proof of the mileage or estimate of damage repair – The county is not just going to take your word for it. When you get your car serviced, save the invoices with the mileage on them. Find the invoice closest to the tax declaration date to send to the county. If your car has damage that you do not intend to repair, visit two or three repairmen to get a quote on how much it would take to fix.
- Write a letter – State why you believe the county has overvalued your property and explain the mileage and/or damage to that car that should be considered.
- Send these documents in with your tax form.
Unlike disputing real estate property taxes, there is no need to meet in person with a county employee or appear before a formal hearing. You will either get a phone call to negotiate a new value, or you will receive an offer in the mail. If you have spoken to a county employee over the phone, you will receive an agreement by mail following the call that must be signed and returned.
Most people don’t know it’s possible to dispute this bill and may have been paying too much tax for years. Households with two or three cars can benefit greatly from making sure they are not getting over taxed.
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