Your Jackson County property tax bill may be wrong. Here’s what to know & how to fix it

Jackson County homeowners are receiving their 2023 property tax bills in the mail — but some of them contain outdated property values and incorrect tax balances.

Blue Springs resident Dennis Sather was among the residents who received a surprise this week when his tax bill arrived in the mail. The paper bill listed the county’s original assessment of his home’s value as well as a tax balance of nearly $4,900.

The county’s assessment department first told him that he would have to pay the tax amount in full, and get partially refunded later.

He was later told that a new bill with his updated tax amount would arrive in the next seven days. He doesn’t know yet what the updated amount will be.

“This has been a nightmare,” said Sather, who described the incorrect bill as just the latest step in a valuation appeal process that has been confusing and frustrating. “If a company did business like this, it would not last long.”

Jackson County spokesperson Marshanna Smith confirmed that in some cases, like Sather’s, homeowners may receive a paper bill with an incorrect property value on it. This is because bills are generated in October, but aren’t sent out until late November.

“Updates to (property) accounts do take some time,” she said. “They have to be adjusted to reflect the new value, and a new tax amount has to be recalculated.”

How do I find out how much I owe in property taxes?

Property tax bills are on their way to homeowners through the mail, both for personal property, which usually means your vehicle, as well as “real” property, meaning your home or land.

You can also look up the value of your property and the tax you owe on the county’s property account portal online. You can look up your property using a street address, the property owner’s name, a business name or your parcel number, if you know it.

Nine-digit parcel numbers represent personal property, usually meaning vehicles. Real estate parcel numbers are 17 digits long with lots of dashes. The county’s online property account portal will list both your property’s value and the taxes you owe.

“If a new value is showing on the account but is not reflected in the tax bill amount, a recalculation is in process by the collection department,” Smith said. “Adjusted paper bills will be mailed.”

You can pay your tax bill online at payments.jacksongov.org, through the mail using the address included on your paper bill or in person at the Jackson County Courthouse in Kansas City or the Historic Truman Courthouse in Independence.

What should I do if I think my property tax bill is wrong?

If you suspect your property tax bill may be charging you the wrong amount, Smith recommends contacting the county’s Collection Department via email at collections@jacksongov.org or calling 816-881-3232.

According to the department’s 2023 FAQ page, homeowners can make a partial payment toward their property tax balance if they cannot afford the full amount or believe the amount listed is incorrect. Partial payments cannot be made online.

If a homeowner makes a partial payment that is greater than their corrected tax amount, the county will refund the difference after the Dec. 31 payment deadline. Homeowners will get this refund automatically and do not have to apply for it or pay “under protest” in order to qualify for it.

However, if a homeowner makes a partial payment that is less than their corrected tax amount, late fees and penalties may apply to the remaining balance if it is not paid by Dec. 31. The only way to ensure you avoid late fees is to pay your most up-to-date tax balance in full by that date.

Do you have more questions about property taxes or the cost of living in Kansas City? Ask the Service Journalism team at kcq@kcstar.com.