Newly redesigned 2011 personal property tax assessment forms were mailed Tuesday to Callaway County residents.
Dan Roe, Callaway County assessor, said the new form has more information and includes space to list items on the front and back of the form.
A yellow paper form has been created for businesses and a white paper form for individuals.
The items listed on the previous year's assessment form are printed in two big boxes at the top of the front page of the form. Taxpayers are instructed to draw a line through any items printed on the form that were not owned on Jan. 1, 2011. They also must list any new items in the appropriate areas on the front and back of the form.
All categorized personal property listed on the form that was owned on Jan. 1, 2011 is required to be reported to the assessor.
The change will permit up to 40 items to be printed on one page. In previous years, the items were printed in different sections on the form. If a taxpayer owned several motorcycles, he would receive a form for each motorcycle.
"The changes in the form will benefit taxpayers by making it easier for them to complete their lists," Roe said.
The changes also will be time savers for employees of the assessor's office. Employees will scan the form and if no changes are made, the form is photographed and filed automatically. The new information is linked to an individual's assessment file in the assessor's office.
Roe reminded Callaway County residents that assessment forms are due at the assessor's office by March 1. Assessment forms not returned or signed by that date are subject to penalties.
"Every year a few property owners forget to return their lists," Roe said. "So we are making an effort to remind people to review the list carefully, marking out any items not owned on Jan. 1, 2011, and to add any new items acquired during 2010 and be sure to return them on time."
Roe said the best way to make sure the list is returned on time and avoid a penalty is to fill it out, sign it and put it in the mail right away.
"Property owners who have not received a list are not excused from filing and should contact the assessor's officer for a blank form at (573) 642-0766," Roe said.
Roe said in the past a form was mailed to taxpayers that could be folded in a certain way and mailed to the assessor's office. But people often taped the edges and even stapled it in several places.
"That was a mess to deal with," Roe said.
A new software program in the assessor's offices utilizes a scanner to speed processing time. The returned form is scanned, photographed and filed automatically.
Roe said records of vehicle purchases maintained by the Missouri Department of Revenue are used as a resource in determining the number of vehicles owned by an individual.
"We rely on people to fill in the number of vehicles that they owned on Jan. 1, 2011," Roe said.
The personal property tax assessment includes mainly vehicles, trailers, boats, campers, mobile homes, airplanes, grain, hay, farm machinery, livestock, buildings and leased equipment owned by individuals.
Residences and land are regarded as real estate and those assessments are handled separately by the assessor.