Rex Sinquefield Registers His Bentley and His Vote in Osage County

click to enlarge Sinquefield's 2008 Bentley Continential Flying Spur could provide the city with $3,000 in taxes this year -- if he registered it in St. Louis.
Sinquefield's 2008 Bentley Continential Flying Spur could provide the city with $3,000 in taxes this year -- if he registered it in St. Louis.
The man who's poured millions of dollars of his own money into an effort to change the tax structure in St. Louis is not registered to vote in St. Louis, even though he owns a $1.7 million mansion inside city limits.

Instead, Sinquefield casts his vote in Osage County in central Missouri, where he owns an 8,100-square-foot mansion and some 580 acres of land. Maintaining his permanent address in Osage County also allows Sinquefield to save thousands of dollars each year on personal property taxes for his fleet of automobiles, boats and ATVs.

That's right. The 2008 Bentley Continental Flying Spur in which Sinquefield is often seen cruising the streets of St. Louis is registered in Osage County. The car -- which sells new for around $170,000 -- would likely cost about $3,000 in annual personal property taxes in St. Louis based on the assessed value (generally one-third of market value) of the vehicle. By registering the car in Osage County, Sinquefield pays less than half that. 

That's because the personal property tax (a fee that goes to pay for local schools and other local governmental services) is just 3.32 percent in Osage County this year. In the city of St. Louis the personal property tax rate is 6.92 for 2010.

Rex Sinquefield: Shrewd? Cheap? Both?
Rex Sinquefield: Shrewd? Cheap? Both?
In 2009, Sinquefield registered 13 automobiles, three boats and several boat trailers to his home in Osage County. The total assessed value of those vehicles -- which included a BMW x5, Jaguar XK8 and several Jeeps and pickup trucks -- added up to $105,721 and cost Sinquefield $3,550 in personal property taxes, according to the Osage County Department of Revenue. Had that same property been registered in St. Louis, Sinquefield would've paid $6,834 in personal property taxes based on the '09 tax rate of 6.65 percent.

A spokeswoman for Sinquefield did not return calls for comment. In a 2007 profile in the Post-Dispatch, Sinquefield stated that he planned to spend half his time living in St. Louis and the other half spent in Osage County.

Sinquefield isn't breaking any laws by registering all his personal property in Osage County.

The state statute is fairly vague as to what defines a person's permanent residence when it comes to personal property, allowing Sinquefield to register all his vehicles in Osage County. Moreover, since his country manse abuts the Osage River, he's well within his right to register his boats there.
Sinquefield hopes that tomorrow a majority of Missouri voters will back his Proposition A, which would force St. Louis' earning tax to withstand a city-wide vote. But whether Prop A succeeds, Sinquefield can take comfort in knowing that he's successfully avoided one burdensome city tax: personal property.

Here's a list of Sinquefield's declared personal property for 2010. The Osage Department of Revenue assesses the value of the list at $84,830.

2000 inboard outboard boat
2000 boat trailer
2001 mitsubishi montero
1998 jeep grand cherokee
2001 flat bed trailer
2004 jeep wrangler
2004 boat trailer
1995 bass boat
1995 boat trailer 
2000 dodge dakota quad four wheel drive pickup
2002 dodge durango 4-wheel drive
2004 jeep grand cherokee
2006 dodge dakota quad cab pickup
2006 boat trailer
2005 cargo enclosed trailer
2004 cargo enclosed trailer 
2004 lowby trailer
1997 jaguar xk8
2008 dodge sprinter van
2008 chrysler town and country
2008 bentley continental flying spur
...and six ATVs (2 john deere gators, 2 kawasaki mules and 2 polaris rangers)

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