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Focus on Not-For-Profits: St. Louis County Personal Property Tax

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Many charitable and educational organizations (section 501(c)(3) organizations) that did not receive a personal property tax declaration in prior years have received such a form from the St. Louis County assessor's office in the past few weeks.
February 1, 2005

Did You Receive a St. Louis County Personal Property Tax Declaration This Year?

Many charitable and educational organizations (section 501(c)(3) organizations) that did not receive a personal property tax declaration in prior years have received such a form from the St. Louis County assessor's office in the past few weeks. Federal section 501(c)(3) status does not automatically entitle an organization to property tax exemption, because the definitions of charitable or education are not interpreted in exactly the same way for state purposes. However, many organizations have previously applied for and obtained an exemption from property taxes. We have contacted the St. Louis County Assessor's office and were told that there was some sort of problem in the list used to mail out the declaration notices. 

The purported solution to this situation is for the organization to obtain the account number on the declaration form that was received and call the phone number on the notice. When calling, you should ask whether the assessor's office has your organization classified as exempt. If the organization is on the list of exempt taxpayers, you will probably be told to ignore the declaration.

As of the date that this memo was written, we are unaware of any official announcement regarding this situation. Therefore, we strongly recommend that if organizations are verbally told to disregard the notice because they are exempt, they should do the following:

  1. Write the word "EXEMPT" prominently on the declaration form.
  2. Prepare a cover letter stating:
    On February ____, 2005 I spoke to Mr./Ms. _________ in your office, and they stated that our organization is exempt from personal property tax and that a declaration is not required from our organization. Therefore, we are returning the declaration form with the notation that our organization is exempt in order to confirm the advice that you have given to us.
  3. The form and the cover letter should be sent certified mail return receipt requested.

If the organization is told that they are not classified as exempt, the organization will need to complete the form, and file it timely by the end of February. If you wish to apply for exemption, RBG can assist you with the application process.

 

Under U.S. Treasury Department guidelines, we hereby inform you that any tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used by you for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on you by the Internal Revenue Service, or for the purpose of promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed within this tax advice. Further, RubinBrown LLP imposes no limitation on any recipient of this tax advice on the disclosure of the tax treatment or tax strategies or tax structuring described herein.

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