This year’s property tax assessments in Jackson County have been controversial, with many seeing their property assessed at significantly higher rates than in the past, averaging around a 40% increase,  but some relief is on the way. 

County lawmakers just gave the thumbs up for a tax credit to help eligible seniors stay in their homes. If you get Social Security and your home’s market value—determined by the assessment process—is less than $550,000, you’re eligible for a tax credit. 

As first reported by KCUR, eligible seniors will still have to pay property taxes for this year (2023). But starting next year, tax bills won’t budge from the 2023 amount for as long as seniors are eligible for the tax credit, which is welcome news for those living on a fixed income and worried about being priced out of their homes. 

“I am proud to be the lead sponsor of this legislation that will protect seniors in Jackson County. The passage of this ordinance reflects the commitment we have for our constituents throughout the county and our dedication to support and push forward legislation that protects and positively impacts the livelihoods and the day-to-day life of those in Jackson County,” said County Legislature Chairman DaRon McGee.

Jackson County is able to essentially freeze the property tax bill at the 2023 level due to a new Missouri law that allows counties to give a senior property tax credit. Under the law, counties that collect property taxes can choose to give a senior property tax credit; St. Louis County recently voted not to give out the credit in July. 

The property tax credit works like this: Take the difference between what an eligible senior owes in property taxes on a given year and compare that to what they owe in 2023. However higher the tax bill is past 2023’s bill, the senior will get a tax credit to make up the difference.

“I promised fair and predictable taxation, and through this process, I have fought for just that. Today, we have provided relief to seniors who need it most,” said County Budget Committee Chair Manny Abarca. 

To receive this tax credit, seniors will need to fill out an application by April 2024. That deadline is in place so that area school districts can make their budgets, which are largely made up of property tax dollars. 

The county legislature will iron out details of the program and the application process in the coming weeks. 

Jackson County residents opened assessment letters with some shocked at assessment hikes averaging 40%.

Prior to joining The Community Voice, he worked as a reporter & calendar editor with The Pitch, writing instructor with The Kansas City Public Library, and as a contributing food writer for Kansas...