IowaAuditors.org

Common Questions

  • Address Changes
    • 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 auditor or treasurer to determine what you need to do.
  • Exemptions and Credits
    • What is a Homestead Credit?
      • The Homestead Credit is a tax credit funded by the State of Iowa for qualifying homeowners, and is generally based on the first $4,850 of Net Taxable Value. In the case of a Disabled Veteran Tax Credit, the value of the Homestead Credit is increased to the entire amount of the Taxable Value of the property.
    • How is the Homestead Credit calculated?
      • The Homestead Credit is calculated by dividing the homestead credit value by 1,000 and multiplying by the Consolidated Tax Levy Rate. That amount may then be reduced by the county to the same amount at which the State of Iowa has approved funding.
    • What is a real estate Military Exemption?
      • Veterans who served in active duty during certain periods of time and who were honorably discharged are eligible to receive a Military Exemption on their property taxes. Pursuant to Iowa law, the Military Exemption value is determined by the dates the veteran served in active duty. Values for most veterans are $1,852, or $3,704 in the case of a husband and wife who both qualify. The value for World War I veterans is $2,778.
    • How is the Military Exemption calculated?
      • The Military Exemption value is subtracted from the Taxable Value of a property prior to the calculation of taxes. To know how much your tax bill was reduced by the Military Exemption, divide the value by 1,000 and multiply the remainder by the Consolidated Tax Levy Rate.
    • How do I apply or find out if I qualify for the Homestead Credit or Military Exemption?
      • Your local assessor has forms that you need to complete, sign, and file for the Homestead Credit and/or Military Exemption. That office can also tell you the qualifications for each.
  • Property Value
    • Does the local assessor set the value for all real estate property?
      • No. Property owned by railroads and utility companies is valued by the Iowa Department of Revenue and certified for taxation to the county auditor.
    • What is 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% 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.
  • Tax Payments
    • Where do my taxes go?
      • Your taxes are apportioned by the county treasurer to Levy Authorities such as the school district, city or township, 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.
    • Do railroads and utility companies pay real estate taxes?
      • Yes, except that utilities defined as gas & electric utilities 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.