Where do my taxes go?
- After the budget process, the completed budgets are given to the Auditor to figure your taxes. Your taxes are then apportioned by the County Treasurer to Levy Authorities such as the school district, city or townships, and county in which your real estate parcel is located. If your property is in a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Area, most of your taxes are probably apportioned to a TIF authority, such as a city. You can see the distribution of your taxes on your tax bill.
What is a Levy Authority?
- A Levy Authority is a governmental entity with statutory authority to levy property taxes. These entities include counties, cities, school districts, townships, community colleges, local assessors, and others. Levies are set by each governmental entity during the budget process.
Does the local assessor set the value for all real estate property?
- No. Property owned by railroads and utility companies in valued by the Iowa Department of Revenue and certified to the county auditor.
Do railroads and utility companies pay real estate taxes?
- Yes, except that utilities defined as gas electric pay excise taxes. Railroad and utility values are included in the tax base for the respective Levy Authorities, and both real estate and excise taxes are paid to those Levy Authorities.
What is a Taxable Value?
- Taxable Value is the value used to calculate taxes and on which the tax askings of the various Levy Authorities are based.
What does it mean that 100% of Actual Value is "equalized"?
- The Iowa Department of Revenue imposes equalization orders in odd-numbered years against each property class for each local assessor. Sometimes called "the assessor's report card", the equalization order is used to increase or decrease 100% Actual Values when those values are not sufficiently accurate.
How does the Iowa Department of Revenue know when a local assessor's 100% Actual Values are not sufficiently accurate?
- The Department receives a copy of the Declaration of Value required to be filed with the county recorder when real estate is sold. Actual sales values are then compared to the local assessor's 100% Actual Values.
Is the "local assessor" the same as the county assessor?
- Usually, unless your property is in one of the following cities in Iowas that have chosen to have a separate city assessor: Mason City, Ames, Clinton, Dubuque, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, and Sioux City.
What is an "ag dwelling", and why do I get a separate tax bill for it?
- An ag dwelling is a residence that sits on land classified as agricultural, such as a house on a 40-acre tract of farmland. Iowa law requires the value of the house to be taxed as residential property, while the value of the farmland is taxed as agricultural property.
What offices at the county are involved in the assessment and taxation of real estate?
- The assessor, county auditor, and county treasurer are part of the tax cycle in that, in general, each has various administrative responsibilities for a given assessment year. In addition, the county recorder records records various real estate documents, including subdivision plats, mortgages, surveys, and conveyances such as deeds, etc.
How can I change the address where my tax bill is mailed?
- The procedure for changing the mailing addresses for tax bills will vary from county to county. Contact your county treasurer for determine what you need to do.