descriptions of buildings & property characteristics,
trends in sale prices & construction costs.
What are the Assessor's Duties?
The Assessor is charged with several administrative and statutory
duties; however, the primary duty and responsibility is to cause to be assessed
all real property within their 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 1st of the current year. The
assessor determines a full or partial value of new construction, or improvements
depending upon the state of completion as of January 1st.
General Misconceptions About the Assessor's Work
The Assessor does not:
for the Board of Review.
The Assessor is concerned with value, not taxes. Taxing jurisdictions such as
schools, cities, and townships, adopt budgets after public hearings. This
determines the tax levy, which is the rate of taxation required to raise the
money budgeted. The taxes you pay are proportionate to the value of your
property compared to the total value of the taxing district in which your
property is located.
General Information About the Assessor
Assessors are appointed to their positions by a Conference Board consisting of
the members of the Board of Supervisors, the Mayors of all incorporated cities
and a member from each school district within the jurisdiction. A city with a
population of ten thousand or more may elect to have their own assessor.
Assessors are required, by statute, to pass a state examination and complete a
Continuing Education Program consisting of 150 hours of formal classroom
instruction with 90 hours tested and a passing grade of 70% attained. The latter
requirement must be met in order for the assessor to be reappointed to the
position every six years. The Deputy Assessor also must pass a state examination
as well as successfully complete 90 hours of classroom instruction of which at
least 60 hours are tested. The Conference Board approves the assessor's budget
and after a public hearing acts on adoption of same. The assessor is limited, by
statute, depending upon the value of the jurisdiction, to a levy limitation for
What is Market Value?
Market value of a property is an estimate of the price that it would sell for on
the open market on January 1st of the year of assessment. This is sometimes
referred to as the "arms length transaction" or "willing buyer/willing seller"
How does the Assessor Estimate Market Value?
To estimate the market value of your property, the Assessor generally uses three
approaches. The first approach is to find properties that are comparable to
yours which have sold recently. Local conditions peculiar to your property are
taken into consideration. The assessor also uses sales ratio studies to
determine the general level of assessment in a community, in order to adjust for
local conditions. This method is generally referred to as the MARKET APPROACH
and usually considered the most important in determining the value of
residential property. The second approach is the COST APPROACH and is an
estimate of how many dollars at current labor and material prices it would take
to replace your property with one similar to it. In the event improvement is not
new appropriate amounts for depreciation and obsolescence would be deducted from
replacement value. Value of the land then would be added to arrive to the total
estimate of value. The INCOME APPROACH is the third method used if your property
produces income such as an apartment of office building. In that case, your
property 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 properly being appraised since
errors or inaccurate information can seriously affect the final estimate of
Why Values Change?
State 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 your assessment.
If you disagree with the assessor's estimate of value, please consider these
two questions before proceeding, as outlined below:
What is the
actual market value of my property?
the value compare to the similar properties in the neighborhood?
you have any questions about the assessment of your property, feel free to come
in and discuss it with the assessor.
may file a written protest with the Board of Review, which is composed of three
or five members from various areas of the assessing jurisdiction. The Board
operates independently of the assessor's office, and has the power to confirm or
to adjust either upward or downward any assessment.
you are not satisfied with the decision of the Board of Review you may appeal to
the property assessment appeal board or to the
district court within twenty days after adjournment of said Board, or twenty
days after May 31st whichever is latest.
Tax Levies and Assessed Values
There are a number of different taxing districts in a jurisdiction, each with a
different levy. Each year the County Auditor determines for that district a levy
that will yield enough money to pay for schools, police and fire protection,
road maintenance and other services budgeted for in that area. The tax levy is
applied to each $1,000 of a properties taxable value. The value determined by
the assessor is the assessed value and is the value indicated on the assessment
roll. The taxable value is the value determined by the auditor after application
of state ordered "rollback" percentages for the various classes of property.
Exemptions and Credits
Iowa law provides for a number of exemptions and credits, including Homestead
Credit and Military Exemption. It is the property owner's responsibility to
apply for these as provided by law. If the property you were occupying as a
homestead is sold, or if you cease to use the property as a homestead you are
required to report this to the assessor in whose jurisdiction the property is
Dates to Remember
January 1 -
Effective date of current assessment.
through April 30 inclusive - Protest of assessment period for filing with the local
Board of Review.
through adjournment - Board of Review meets each year.
through November 15 inclusive - Protest period for filing with Board of Review on
those properties affected by changes in value as a result of the Director of
Revenue and Finance Equalization Orders (odd numbered years).
through December 31 - Period for filing for Homestead Credit and Military
Exemption. One time filing is provided, by statute, unless the property owner is
(1) filing for a Military or Homestead Credit the first time; (2) has purchased
a new or used home and is occupying the property as a homestead as of July 1st:
or (3) owner was using as a homestead but did not previously file.
If the home qualifies and the property owner files on or before July 1, the
exemption will go into effect for the current assessment year. If the property
owner files after July 1, the exemption will go into effect the year following
the sign up.
Filing is required on the following, if provisions have been
made for exemptions as required:
River and Stream
Veterans Homestead Credit
Credit -Recreational Lake
Reservations - 8 years -Forest Cover
Things to Remember
value and taxable value are not synonymous terms.
assessed as of January 1st.
reassessed every two years.
levied on a value determined by the auditor by applying a "roll back" percentage
to the assessed value and deducting any applicable exemptions or credits. The
"roll back" percentages vary each year.
determined as of January 1st, one does not start to pay taxes until eighteen
months later. The "roll back" is the percentage of actual value that is
determined by the Director of Revenue and Finance each year on the several
classes of property where the total value increase STATEWIDE, exceeds three
percent for each class of property.
percentages so determined by the Director of Revenue and Finance are certified to
and applied by the local county auditor to all property in each class effected
throughout the State. Percentages determined by the Director of Revenues and
Finance are the same for all the assessing jurisdictions in the State.
Increases in assessed value of individual parcels of property as determined by
the assessor, may exceed four percent within a jurisdiction. Agricultural
property, except agricultural dwellings, are assessed on the basis of
productivity and net earning capacity using a five year crop average and
capitalized at the rate set by the Legislature. The rate is currently seven
percent. Tentative and final equalization orders are issued by the Director of
Revenue and Finance in odd numbered years on or about August 15th, and October
1st respectively. The orders are sent to the various county auditors who apply
them to the classes of property affected, if any.
Assessors and members of the Board of Review are appointed to their terms of
office. Assessors, in addition to completing the required 150 hours of
Continuing Education, must be approved by a majority vote of the Conference
Board in order to be reappointed.
If you desire further information, questions concerning PROPERTY VALUES or other
information relating thereto should be addressed to the assessor's office in the
respective jurisdiction and not the Board of Supervisors or Treasurer. The
assessors of Iowa hope that the information contained herein will be of value to
the property owner and has clarified some of these problems and issues relating
to assessment and the applicable laws.
This information was prepared by the Public Relations Committee of the Iowa
State Association of Assessors.
Tax 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 Tax Exemption
To file for the exemption, the property owner must be a resident of Iowa and
meet one of the following qualifications;
• Honorably discharged veteran who served in eligible service period.
• Honorably discharged veteran who served for a minimum of 18 months, or for
fewer than 18 months because of a service related injury.
• Former member, or member who is currently serving, of Reserve Forces or Iowa
National Guard who has served at least 20 years.
• Member of Reserve Forces or Iowa National Guard who was activated for Federal
duty, not including training for a minimum or 90 days.
• Former member of the Armed Forces whose enlistment would have occurred during
the Korean Conflict but chose to serve 5 years in the Reserve Forces.
New applications must be made with the Assessor on or before July 1 of the year
the exemption is first claimed. As with the Homestead Tax Credit, the exemption
remains in effect until the property owner is no longer eligible. This exemption
is worth the taxes calculated on $2,778 for WWI veterans and $1,852 for all
others after that time. (Refer to Code of Iowa Chapter 427)
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 incased brothers/sisters,
sons/daughters, grandchildren , uncles/aunts, nephews/ nieces.) To obtain the
credit, the owner must file an application for credit with the assessor by
November 1. If the claim for credit is approved, no further filing shall be
required provided the ownership and the designated person actively engaged in
farming the property remain the same during successive years. A new application
for credit shall be required only if the property is sold or the designated
person changes. The owner shall provide written notice to the assessor if the
designated person changes. Failure to do so shall result in the owner's being
liable for the amount of the credit plus a penalty equal to 5 percent of the
amount of the credit granted.
Jackson County Courthouse
201 West Platt Street
Maquoketa, IA 52060
Hours Office is open:
8:30 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.
Larry "Buck" Koos
used in the Assessors office
Parcel Data Website
Iowa Department of Revenue
Property Assessment Appeal Board
Statewide link to Assessor’s websites