Below is a list of frequently asked questions or requested information about the Assessor’s Office.
Determining Market Value
Residential, commercial and industrial real property are assessed at 100% market value. Market value of a property is an estimate of the price that it would sell for on the open market on the first day of January of the year of assessment. This is often referred to as the “arms length transaction” or “willing buyer/willing seller” concept. The Assessor must determine the fair market value of real property. To do this, the Assessor generally uses three approaches to value.
The first approach is to find properties that are comparable to the subject property and that have recently sold. Local conditions peculiar to the subject property are then considered. In order to adjust for local conditions, the Assessor also uses sales ratio studies to determine the general level of assessment in a community. This method is generally referred to as the MARKET APPROACH and is usually considered the most important in determining the value of residential property.
The second approach to value is the COST APPROACH, which is an estimate of how many dollars at current labor and material prices it would take to replace a property with one similar to it. In the event the improvement is not new, appropriate amounts of depreciation and obsolescence are deducted from replacement value. Value of the land is added to arrive at an estimate of total property value.
The INCOME APPROACH is the third method used if the property produces income. If the property is an income producing property, it could be valued according to its ability to produce income under prudent management; in other words, what another investor would give for a property in order to gain its income. The income approach is the most complex of the three approaches because of the research, information and analysis necessary for an accurate estimate of value. This method requires thorough knowledge of local and national financial conditions, as well as any developmental trends in the area of the subject property being appraised since errors or inaccurate information can seriously affect the final estimate of value.
Agricultural real property is assessed at 100% of productivity and net earning capacity value. The Assessor considers the productivity and net earning capacity of the property. Agricultural income as reflected by production, prices, expenses, and various local conditions are taken into account.
What are the duties of the Assessor?
The Assessor is charged with several administrative and statutory duties. The primary duty and responsibility is to assess all real property within the Assessor’s jurisdiction except that which is otherwise provided by law. This would include residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural classes of property.
Real property is revalued every two years. The effective date of the assessment is January first of each year. The Assessor determines a full or partial value for all new construction and improvements depending upon their state of completion as of that January first date.
GENERAL MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE ASSESSOR’S DUTIES
The Assessor DOES NOT:
- Collect taxes
- Calculate taxes
- Determine tax rate
- Set policy for the Board of Review
The Assessor is concerned with value, not taxes. Taxing jurisdictions such as schools, cities and county, adopt budgets after public hearings. This determines the tax levy, which is the rate of taxation required to raise the money budgeted.
Why Values Change, Notification and Appeals
After properties have been appraised, the values are analyzed to ensure accurate and equitable assessments. Iowa law requires that all real property be reassessed every two years. The current law requires the reassessment to occur in odd numbered years. Changes in market value as indicated by research, sales ratio studies and analysis of local conditions as well as economic trends both in and outside the construction industry are used in determining property assessments.
If you disagree with the Assessor’s estimate of value, please consider these two questions:
- What is the actual market value of my property?
- How does the value compare to similar properties in the neighborhood?
If you have any questions about the assessment of your property, please contact the Assessor’s office.
A written protest may be filed with the Poweshiek County Board of Review, which is composed of five individuals from various areas of the county who are familiar with local market conditions and trends. The Board operates independently of the Assessor’s office and has the power to confirm or to adjust upward or downward any assessment. An individual may petition to the Property Assessment Appeal Board or district court if they are not satisfied with the Board of Review’s decision.
Assessor: Important Dates
January 1 – Effective date of current assessment
April 2 thru April 30 – Protest of assessment period for filing with Board of Review
May 1 thru Adjournment – Board of Review meets each year
July 1 – Sign up deadline Homestead Tax Credit & Military Exemption
November 1 – Sign up deadline for Family Farm Tax Credit
October 9 thru October 31 – Protest period for filing with Board of Review on properties affected by changes in value of Director of Revenue and Finance Equalization Orders (odd numbered years only)
Credit and Exemptions
Credits and Exemptions
Iowa law provides for a number of credits and exemptions. It is the property owner’s responsibility to apply for these as provided by law. It is also the property owner’s responsibility to report to the Assessor when they are no longer eligible for any credit or exemption they have applied for. Following is a list of several credits and exemptions available in Iowa.
HOMESTEAD TAX CREDIT
To qualify for the credit, the property owner must be a resident of Iowa and occupy the property on July 1 and for at least six months of every year. New applications for homestead tax credit are to be filed with the Assessor on or before July 1 of the year the credit is first claimed. Once a person qualifies, the credit continues until the property is sold or until the owner no longer qualifies. This credit reduces the value on which taxes are calculated by a maximum of $4,850. (Refer to Code of Iowa, Chapter 425)
MILITARY SERVICE TAX EXEMPTION
Iowa residents who meet one of the following service requirements are eligible for the exemption:
- Honorable discharged veteran who served for a minimum aggregate of eighteen months.
- Honorable discharged veteran who served for fewer than eighteen months because of a service related injury.
- Honorable discharged former member of Reserve Forces or Iowa National Guard who served at least 20 years.
- Member of Reserve Forces or Iowa National Guard who have served at least 20 years and continue to serve.
- Honorable discharged former member of the Armed Forces if any portion of their term of enlistment would have occurred within the Korean Conflict but who opted to serve 5 years in the reserve forces as allowed by Federal law.
- Honorably discharged veteran who served in an eligible service period (Iowa Code Chapter 35)
Application must be made with the Assessor on or before July 1 of the year the exemption is first claimed. The military certificate of satisfactory service, order transferring to inactive status, reserve, retirement, order of separation from service or honorable discharge must be recorded in the office of the county recorder. Members of the Reserve Forces or Iowa National Guard who have served at least 20 years and continue to serve shall record the veteran’s retirement points accounting statement issued by the armed forces of the United States, the state adjutant general, or the adjutant general of any other state. The exemption from taxation is $1,852. If the qualified veteran does not claim the exemption the spouse, unmarried widow(er), minor child or widowed parent may be eligible to claim the exemption. (Refer to Iowa Code Chapter 426A)
BUSINESS PROPERTY TAX CREDIT
Certain commercial, industrial, and railroad properties qualify. Does not apply to residential or agriculturally classified property. One credit is available for each qualified property unit. A property unit consists of contiguous parcels of the same classification that are owned by the same person and operated by that person for a common use and purpose.
The actual amount of credit each property unit will receive depends in part upon the total value of all property units and the average consolidated rates in each unit. Applications must be received by the county or city assessor by January 15, 2014 then March 15th, 2015 and thereafter. Find more at:http://www.iowa.gov/tax/locgov/13PTReform.html (Refer to Code of Iowa Chapter 426C)
FAMILY FARM TAX CREDIT
This is a tax credit on agricultural tracts of land 10 acres or more that are farmed by the owner or immediate family members (this includes brothers/sisters, sons/daughters, grandchildren, great grandchildren, uncles/aunts, nephews/nieces.) Beginning July 1, 2001, this tax credit went to a one-time signing. New applications for family farm tax credit are to be filed with the Assessor on or before November 1 of the year the credit is first claimed. Once a person qualifies, the credit continues until the property is sold or until the owner no longer qualifies. Applications are taken in the Assessor’s office. (Refer to Code of Iowa Chapter 425A)
Following is a list of several other credits/exemptions administered by the Assessor’s office. Filing is required on them as provided by Iowa law.
|Credit or Exemption||Time Period||Contact for Eligibility||Phone||Filing Deadline|
|Forest Reserve||Permanent||Assessor||641-623-5445||February 1|
|Fruit Tree Reservation||8 Years||Assessor||641-623-5445||February 1|
|Forest Cover||Annual||Soil Conservation Service||641-528-4115||February 1|
|Open Prairie||Annual||Soil Conservation Service||641-528-4115||February 1|
|Wetlands||Annual||DNR State Wildlife Biologist||641-752-5521||February 1|
|Native Prairie||Annual||DNR State Wildlife Biologist||641-752-5521||February 1|
|Wildlife Habitat||Permanent||DNR State Wildlife Biologist||641-752-5521||February 1|
|Impoundment Structures||Annual||Soil Conservation Services||641-528-4115||February 1|
|Pollution Control||Permanent||Assessor||641-623-5445||February 1|
|Cattle Facilities||5 Years||Assessor||641-623-5445||February 1|
|Historic Property||4/4 Years||State Historical Society||515-281-8637||February 1|
|Urban Revitalization||By Ordinance||City||February 1|
|Industrial Partial 427B||5 Years||Assessor||641-623-5445||February 1|
|Disabled Veteran||Permanent||local Administrator Veterans Affairs||641-236-5722||February 1|
|Geothermal Heating & Cooling System||10 Years||Assessor||641-623-5445||February 1|
Property Owner’s Legal Responsibility
It is your legal responsibility to report to the Assessor changes or improvements to your real estate. 441.24 (1) Code of Iowa provides:
If a person refuses to furnish the verified statements required in connection with the assessment of property by the assessor, or to list the corporation’s or person’s property, the director of revenue and finance or assessor, as the case may be, shall proceed to list and assess the property according to the best information obtainable and shall add to the taxable valuation one hundred percent thereof, which valuation and penalty shall be separately shown, and shall constitute the assessment; and if the valuation of the property is changed by a board of review or on appeal from a board of review, a like penalty shall be added to the valuation thus fixed.
There are many things you should report to your local assessor like:
- New buildings
- Buildings removed, torn down or damaged by fire or flood
- Remodeling (interior and exterior)
- Additions to house or buildings
- New furnace / central air
- Mobile homes
- Basement or attic finish
- Decks, patios, and garages
Please call your local assessor’s office to report any changes to your property. Your cooperation will be greatly appreciated.
Office Hours 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.