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 his/her jurisdiction except that which is otherwise provided by law.
This would include residential, multi-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, and/or improvements depending upon the state of completion as of January 1st.
General Information About the Assessor
Assessors are appointed to their position 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.
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.
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.
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 his/her budget.
General Misconception About the Assessor's Work
The Assessor does not:
determine tax rate
set policy 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.
Property Owner Legal Responsibilities
It is your legal responsibility to report to the Assessor changes or improvements to your real estate. 441.24 (1) Code of Iowa provides: If a person refuses to furnish the verified statements required in connection with the assessment of property by the assessor, or to list the corporation’s or person’s property, the director of revenue and finance or assessor, as the case may be, shall proceed
to list and assess the property according to the best information obtainable and shall add to the taxable valuation one hundred percent thereof, which valuation and penalty shall be separately shown, and shall constitute the assessment; and if the valuation of the property is changed by a board of review or on appeal from a board of review, a like penalty shall be added to the valuation thus fixed.
What You Should Report
There are many things you should report to your local assessor like:
Buildings removed, torn down or damaged by fire or flood
Remodeling (interior and exterior)
Additions to house or buildings
New furnace / central air
Basement or attic finish
Decks, patios, and garages
Please call your local assessor’s office to report any changes to your property. Your cooperation will be greatly appreciated.
What is Market Value & Why Do Assessed Values Change?
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 often referred to as the “arm’s length transaction” or “willing buyer/willing seller” concept.
To be considered market value, the following conditions would apply:
- Buyer and seller are both motivated
- Both parties are well informed and are acting in their own best interest
- A reasonable exposure time in the market is allowed
- The price should represent the normal consideration for the property sold and be unaffected by special or creative financing or sales concessions granted by anyone associated with the sale.
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 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 or 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 property being appraised since errors or inaccurate information can seriously affect the final estimate of value.
Why Values Change
After properties have been appraised, the values are analyzed to ensure accurate and equitable assessment. Iowa 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.
Protesting Your Assessed Value
Protesting Your Assessed Value Property owners who disagree with the assessor's estimate of the market value of their property should ask themselves, "Could I sell this property for that amount today?" If the answer is yes, then the value is probably correct. However, every property owner has the right to appeal an assessment. Remember that your protest and the information you use to support your appeal should be based on your property's actual value on the assessment date (January 1 of the current year).
Property owners may appeal their initial assessments to the Harrison County Board of Review by filing a written protest between April 2nd and April 30th of each year. If April 30th falls on a weekend, the deadline is extended to the following business day. The board meets annually in May to consider the protests. Petition forms to the board of review are available at the Harrison County Assessor's office or by downloading the Petition to Local Board of Review Form from the Iowa Department of Revenue Website: https://tax.iowa.gov/iowa-property-tax-board-review
Iowa law provides for a number of exemptions and credits, including Homestead Credit, Military Exemption and Business Property Tax Credit. 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 located. For properties currently receiving the Business Property Tax Credit, changes in ownership or other changes that would affect the requirements for the credit, may require reapplication for the credit.
Pre-Populated Forms are now available for common credit and exemption applications that can be printed/submitted directly from our county website Harrison County Real Estate Maps within your parcel listing. Follow the steps below to find and submit your application.
Find your parcel listing under "Property Search" by entering your property address.
When you find your parcel, scroll down to the list of available applications “Homestead Tax Credit Application, Military Service Tax Exemption Application, or Business Property Tax Credit Application.”
Click the "apply online" link. This brings up the prepopulated form that needs to be filled out, signed, and returned to our office.
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 fund the budgets that pay for schools, police and fire protection, road maintenance and other services. The tax levy is applied to each $1,000 of a property’s taxable value. The value determined by the assessor is the assessed value and is the value indicated on the assessment roll. The taxable value is the value determined by the Auditor after application of state-ordered “rollback” percentages for the various classes of property, as well as deductions for any applicable exemptions or credits, resulting in the value indicated on the tax statement. When comparing the value of your property with other properties always compare with the value on the assessment roll or the Assessor's property record cards and not the value indicated on the tax statement.
Assessed Value x Rollback percentage = Rollback value (Taxable)
Rollback value (Taxable) - Less Exemptions = Net Taxable Value
Net Taxable Value x Levy ($ per $1000 of value) = Gross Tax
Assessed value and taxable value are not synonymous terms.
Property is assessed as of January 1st.
Property is reassessed every two years.
Taxes are 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.
On values 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 each year on the several classes of property where the total value increase STATEWIDE, exceeds three percent for each class of property. The percentage so determined by the Director of Revenue is certified to and applied by the local county auditor to all property in each class affected throughout the State. Percentages determined by the Director of Revenue are the same for all the assessing jurisdictions within the entire state and can change each year.
Increases in assessed value of individual parcels of property as determined by the assessor, may exceed three 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.
Tentative and final equalization orders are issued by the Director of Revenue 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. 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. Questions relating to taxes should be addressed to the County Treasurer. If you need further information, please contact the Assessor’s Office.