Tax forms - Let's forget about the chickens

Each January brings another mailing of personal-property assessment forms from county assessors in Missouri. We're asked to list items in our possession on Jan. 1 that are subject to personal-property taxes. What we list on those forms depends on the honor system.

In fact, most of us who are non-business taxpayers list only those things that are licensed and require a paid personal-property tax receipt before they can be licensed again. A good many other items, such as livestock, farm machinery and crops, aren't listed. The total assessed value for crops in Cape Girardeau County last year was a little over $8,000, resulting in taxes of only a few hundred dollars.

Here's a thought: Why not send out an assessment form that only asks county residents to list those items that need to be licensed -- it's obvious those are the things that will be faithfully listed each year -- and eliminate the paperwork and record keeping for all the county's chickens, which were valued at a grand total of $5 last year?