Valuation and Taxes

Auditor's Role

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.

County Tax Process

Tax Rates

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.

How Taxes Are Calculated

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.

County Valuation Process

Valuation Reports

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

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.

Links

Iowa Department of Revenue

Iowa Department of Management

Iowa State Association of Assessors

Iowa Code 

Iowa Administrative Code

Iowa State Association of Counties

FAQs

Why are the drainage assessments not proportional to property valuation?

Assessments are computed as a percentage of the original assessment which is based on the benefit that a property is seen to receive by being inside the district (see next question).

Do railroads and utility companies pay real estate taxes?

Yes, except that utilities defined as gas and 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.

What is a drainage district?

Drainage districts have been established for the drainage of surface waters from agricultural and other lands for the protection of said lands from overflow when said protection is a public benefit or is conducive to public health, convenience, and welfare (Section 468.2, State Code of Iowa).

Meet Our Auditors

Sioux County

Ryan Dokter
Orange City, Iowa

Auditor Information

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