(Jefferson City, MO) – Missouri is suing Jackson County, alleging that the county failed to follow state law when assessing and levying taxes.

A lawsuit filed by Attorney General Andrew Bailey, along with the State Tax Commission, alleges Jackson County’s actions have resulted in an average assessed value increase of at least 30%. He said some property owners have reported increases of more than 100%.

“Jackson County residents have suffered significant economic harm due to the dramatically increased and illegal assessments on their property for taxes,” said Bailey. “Jackson County’s property assessments violated state law when assessors failed to give timely and proper notice of assessments, failed to perform the required physical inspections of certain property, and handled appeals of their property assessments in an illegal and dysfunctional manner.”

State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick has released preliminary results of a state audit, saying up to 200,000 homeowners were the victims of a “flawed and inadequate assessment process that failed to comply with state law.” In a news release, Fitzpatrick said the “failure” of the Jackson County Assessment Department to abide by state law should invalidate the increases in assessed valuation over 15%.

“We’re still in the initial stages of our audit but it has already become abundantly clear that the Jackson County Assessor’s Office violated the law by providing untimely and legally deficient notification during the assessment process,” said Fitzpatrick. “I urge the Jackson County Legislature to take our concerns into consideration and explore all possible remedies for the thousands of innocent homeowners wronged by an invalid process.

The audit is ongoing.

Jackson County Assessor Gail McCann Beatty said Fitzpatrick’s findings are “being carefully reviewed and thoroughly analyzed.”

The lawsuit can be read here.

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