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Gas Tax Facts

Ameren Missouri Position on the Property Tax on Gas Operations

At Ameren Missouri, we care about keeping costs affordable for our customers. We strive to protect our customers from unnecessary cost increases – this includes costs brought about by overpayment of property taxes on gas operations. Following is a brief explanation of how these two issues are linked:


Higher property taxes on gas operations paid by Ameren Missouri equate to higher rates for customers, because taxes are pass-through costs paid by our customers.
If the taxes assessed to Ameren Missouri increase, this cost is ultimately paid by the customer in the form of higher gas rates.
Ameren strives to keep rates down by minimizing these increases, while properly adhering to all state and county tax guidelines.
A prime example of how lower taxes help our customers can be seen in the recent six-percent rate decrease to Ameren Missouri customers in that resulted from a federal tax reduction passed by the U.S. Congress in December.

Ameren Missouri, like other providers of gas in the state, pays annual property tax for its gas utility assets in the state.
Ameren Missouri owns and operates gas utility assets in 25 Missouri Counties.
The amount of property tax Ameren Missouri owes is based on the valuation of those assets.

An average of 16 Missouri counties have assessed a higher value in recent years than Ameren Missouri believes it owes.
Ameren Missouri follows accepted tax guidelines for applying deductions for depreciation related to the assessed value of its natural gas distribution facilities, lines and equipment. Tax assessors in the counties in question allowed no or insufficient depreciation when calculating Ameren Missouri’s value for property tax on gas operations. 

Depreciation schedules were either set at an unreasonable level for gas lines and equipment OR In some cases, no deductions were allowed at all by county assessors for depreciation.

Depending on the year, either 15 or 16 Missouri counties have assessed a higher value in recent years than Ameren Missouri believes it owes.
Ameren Missouri follows accepted tax guidelines for applying deductions for depreciation related to the assessed value of its natural gas distribution facilities, lines and equipment.
Tax assessors in the counties in question allowed no or insufficient depreciation when calculating Ameren Missouri’s value for property tax on gas operations.
Depreciation schedules were either set at an unreasonable level for gas lines and  equipment OR
In some cases, no deductions were allowed at all by county assessors for depreciation. 

For the sake of tax fairness and protecting our customers from related cost increases, Ameren has appealed the assessments in these counties.
As required by Missouri law, Ameren has paid the full amounts assessed in these counties even though appeals are being pursued.
Ameren Missouri requested that each county hold the disputed payments in escrow until the issue is resolved through the court system.

In July of 2020, the State Tax Commission Commissioners affirmed a prior STC decision regarding the tax assessment in Cole County for the year 2013. The Commissioners unanimously affirmed the prior decision which agreed with Ameren's valuation of its gas assets. The counties that joined in this case have until August 2, 2020 to appeal the decision.

Learn more about the 2018 Gas Facts.

Gas property tax is an annual tax paid by gas utilities, like Ameren Missouri, covering the gas-related assets (property/facilities/land) that they own.
Simply put, gas property taxes are determined according to the amount and value of assets that a utility owns.
These taxes are levied by the various tax assessors in each county in Missouri.
The gas utilities, Ameren Missouri among them, pay these taxes on an annual basis to the various tax assessors in the counties they serve.
Ameren Missouri is one of the largest taxpayers in the state. In 2019 alone, Ameren Missouri paid $157 million in total property taxes to its Missouri counties. During the years 2013 through 2019, Ameren Missouri has paid more than $53 million in gas property taxes, of which $13 million is still in dispute through appeals.

Ameren Missouri follows tax guidelines for depreciation by gas utilities, per the Missouri Tax Commission’s required form of return. Most counties across the State of Missouri agree with our reported depreciation, but on average, 16 per year have calculated and levied higher taxes than we believe is owed.

We believe there should be fairness and equity in taxation across all counties where Ameren distributes gas.

Based on the methodology per the affirmed STC decision, potential refunds up to $13M may be available to Ameren Missouri for the periods 2013-2019.
Ameren Missouri has paid the full amount of the taxes that county assessors have requested during this time. In counties where we dispute the amount owed, the county assessors were instructed by Ameren Missouri to place the disputed amount in escrow. In the meantime, Ameren Missouri is working through the Missouri legal system to resolve these disputes in a fair and equitable manner.

At Ameren Missouri, we believe strongly that overpaying taxes hurts our customers. It is important to point out that taxes are a pass-through cost paid by our customers, so higher taxes mean higher rates.

We believe this issue is about tax fairness and protecting our customers. By fairly – and legally – following tax guidelines for depreciation, we are seeking to manage tax payments to counties to prevent unnecessary cost increases, thus avoiding rate increases to our customers.

Ameren Missouri has paid the disputed amounts to the counties involved and instructed the assessors to place the disputed funds into escrow accounts. We hope that assessors in these counties will join the other Missouri counties that currently agree with our method of calculating the amount of local gas property tax owed and recalculate the taxes owed by Ameren Missouri. We believe an appropriate tax recalculation will result in tax refunds to Ameren Missouri.

This alignment in determining taxes will ensure that Ameren Missouri will be able to continue to keep our rates affordable for all our customers based on fairly following the rules for how assets should be appraised.

On July 2, 2020 the State Tax Commission Commissioners affirmed the STC 2019 decision regarding the depreciation methodology for 2013. The decision from the Commissioners was unanimous in affirming the prior STC decision.
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