The Auditor tabulates the taxable valuations for each property owner in the county. After applying the proper exemptions, homestead and military credits, rollbacks and other adjustments to the assessed valuations certified by the Assessor’s Office, the Auditor certifies the “taxable” valuation of the county to the State. This computation creates the tax rate from which each taxpayer’s statement is prepared.
After the State returns the certified tax rates for the above-mentioned taxing entities in the County, the Auditor becomes the County Tax Accountant and applies these tax rates to the taxable valuation of each property and then prepares a tax list showing each taxpayer’s share of the total governmental tax asking. These figures are then certified to the County Treasurer’s Office for collection.
Per Iowa Code (Ch. 331.512), the auditor prepares the tax list and certifies levies to the treasurer. Each levying authority (e.g. county, cities, school districts, townships), determines its own tax rate based on the valuation report and budgetary needs as provided by the Code of Iowa.
Based on the budgets submitted by the various levying authorities, the auditor prepares and certifies the levy rates in the county. Budgets for each levying authority are based on its taxable valuation as well as levy limits established by the Code of Iowa. Levy rates are expressed in dollars and cents per $1,000 of taxable valuation.
Property taxes due during a fiscal year are based on the assessed property value as of January 1 of the preceding year, i.e. the assessments for January 1, 2007, will be the basis for the taxes paid in September of 2008 and March 2009.
Per Iowa Code (Ch. 331.510), the auditor is responsible for the annual valuation report due to both the Department of Management and the governing body of each taxing district by January 1 of each year. The report contains the valuations used for determining the levy rates necessary to fund the budgets of the taxing districts for the following fiscal year.
Rollback is the common name for statewide limitations on the annual growth of property assessments. First enacted by the State of Iowa in 1977 to counter the effects of inflation, the current provisions have been in place since the 1980 assessment year. Under the formula, growth is limited to 4% annually (8% for utilities) as applied to statewide aggregate property values. In addition, residential and agricultural property values are linked; if annual growth in one class outstrips that of the other, it may only increase at the lower rate. In other words, if agricultural value grows by 2%, residential property increases are limited to 2%. If agricultural land value decreases, allowable growth for residential property is zero.
Each November, the Iowa Department of Revenue certifies the limitation percentages to the county auditors. The rollback percentage is multiplied by the actual (assessed) value to obtain the value of the property that is subject to taxation.
A tax increment financing area (TIF Area) is usually created by a city or county for use as an economic development tool. A community college can also create a TIF Area for a new jobs training program.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.Are my taxes higher because my property is in a TIF Area?
To answer this question, it is useful to assume a situation in which two real estate parcels are exactly the same in the following respects: each has the same valuation, Property Class, tax credits and exemptions, and Consolidated Tax Levy Rate. The only difference between the two is that one is in a TIF Area and the other is not.
The result is that both properties will pay exactly the same amount of taxes. The difference in a TIF Area is not how much you pay in taxes, but who receives the taxes.