The Assessor's office utilizes a mass appraisal system to do an appraisal of each and every property in the County, utilizing the Cost and Market Approaches to value for most residences. The Income Approach to value is also used where applicable, mostly with multi-family properties. Residential properties are physically reviewed on an ongoing basis to verify that the information contained in our assessment files is accurate and up to date. By law, the Assessor's office is obligated to physically inspect any residential property that increases in value by 15% or more as a result of reassessment.
The Assessor is charged with assessing all properties at their "market value". A simple definition of market value is the price a property would bring when offered for sale by a person who is willing but not obligated to sell, and is bought by a person who is willing to purchase though is not forced to do so.
The State Tax Commission
The State Tax Commission does a quarterly evaluation of our sales to determine how our values relate to sales occurring in the marketplace. The State Tax Commission also does their own appraisals on properties that have not sold and then checks their determined values versus the values we have on the books to see if our assessments are in line with statutory guidelines.
Residential New Construction
As of January 1, 2004, Cole County has operated under the Occupancy Law (RSMo 137.082) concerning new homes. The Occupancy law does not affect agriculture or commercial properties, nor does it apply to additions or alterations – it only deals with new residences.
In layman's terms, the Occupancy Law requires that valuations be placed on new homes based on the date that they are occupied. The corresponding taxes are prorated based on how many months out of the year the new residence has been occupied.
What is Occupancy?
Occupancy is defined as the first day of the month following the month the property is occupied. If you move in your new home on the 2nd, 8th, 12th, 17th, 21st, or 31st day of any month, occupancy would start on the first day of the following month. For example, if you moved in during the month of August, occupancy would start the month of September and you would be taxed on 4 out of 12 months.
Special notices are sent to each property owner, put on the assessment and tax rolls under the occupancy law, clearly showing the total property value, the portion that is being taxed, and the occupancy date.
Please visit our FAQ's page for answers to the most common real estate questions.