Levy Rates and Taxable Valuations
The tax bills are the result of an annual process that involves determining the value of each individual property parcel in the county and applying the property tax needs of various local entities to the sum of those values. A number of modifications take place through the process based on laws intended to make the system as fair as possible.
The county assessor determines each property’s assessed value as of January 1. The taxable value of the property will be fixed by the following January, after a number of required steps. Among these steps is the application of a state-applied rollback percentage, which determines, by property class, how much of a property’s assessed value is taxed.
For instance, each residential property in the state (including dwellings located on ag realty) will pay taxes on 55.0743% of its assessed value during fiscal year 2021. For agricultural property (excluding dwellings located on ag realty), it’s 81.4832%. For commercial or industrial property, it’s 90%, and for multi-residential property, it is 71.25%.
In addition, every odd-numbered year, the Iowa Department of Revenue is required by law to "equalize" property tax assessments for all property classes in all assessing jurisdictions (99 counties and 8 cities) statewide. See box at right.
Cities, school districts and counties are the primary property-tax levying bodies. Others include hospitals, townships, agricultural extension and area colleges. Their governing boards and councils determine property tax needs by deadlines in March and April. The county auditor’s office applies these taxing needs to the taxable valuation and calculates the amount of tax owed by each property owner. Oftentimes, tax credits and exemptions are applied at an individual property parcel level.
These tax amounts are provided to the county treasurer, who sends out the bills and collects the taxes. The tax rates determined in the spring of 2020 will be applied to the January 1, 2019 property values and are for July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020. These taxes are then payable in two installments: the first in September of 2020 and the second in March of 2021.
Property taxes are not determined by a single individual who assesses your property and sends you a bill. The final tax rate is the result of budgets established to provide services, an assessor's assessment, a county auditor's calculations and laws administered by the Iowa Department of Revenue.
Because property assessment involves a series of events that takes 18 months from start to finish (please refer to the list of Important Dates, below, for an example), this information will not be able to answer all of your questions. It should, however, explain the basic principles and events involved in calculating the property tax rate.
|January 1, 2019
|April 2-25, 2019
||Assessors complete assessments and notify taxpayers
|April 2-30, 2019
||Taxpayers may request informal review of assessment by assessor
|July 1, 2019
||Assessors submit abstracts of assessments to Iowa Dept of Revenue
|August 15, 2019
||Iowa Dept of Revenue issues tentative equalization notices to assessors (odd years)
|October 1, 2019
||Iowa Dept of Revenue issues final equalization orders to county auditors (odd years)
|October 8, 2019
||Deadline for county auditors to publish notice of final equalization and notices by mail to taxpayers if order results in an increase in valuation (odd years)
|October 9-31, 2019
||Taxpayers may protest the final equalization order to local boards of review
|November 1, 2019
||Iowa Dept of Revenue certifies assessment limitation percentages to county auditors (ROLLBACKS)
|December 31, 2019
||County auditors file FY2021 county taxable valuations with Iowa Dept of Management
|December 1, 2019 - February 29, 2020
||Taxing authorities prepare budgets and set levies for FY2021 based on the taxable valuations
|March 15, 2020
||Taxing authorities (except schools) adopt budgets, certifying taxes for FY2021
|April 15, 2020
||Schools adopt budgets, certifying tax levies for FY2021
|September 30, 2020
||First half property taxes are due
|March 31, 2021
||Second half property taxes are due
For questions, contact us.