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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.
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The market value of a property is an estimate of the price that it would sell for on the open market on January First of the year of assessment. This is sometimes referred to as the "arms-length transaction" or "willing buyer/willing seller" concept.
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 is usually considered the most important in determining the value of the 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 building(s) with a similar one(s). In the event the building(s) is not new appropriate amounts for depreciation and obsolescence would be deducted from replacement value. The value of the land would then be added to arrive at 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 market trends in the area of the property being appraised since errors or inaccurate information can seriously affect the final estimate of value.
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 the following two questions before proceeding:
If you have any questions about the assessment of your property feel free to come in and discuss them with the assessor.
You 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 any assessment or to adjust it either upward or downward.
If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Board of Review you may appeal to the district court within twenty days after adjournment of said Board, or twenty days after May 31st, whichever is the latest.
The assessed value of all properties is based on current market value with the exception of agricultural classed parcels. The values are based on current sales data as well as site visits when applicable. This value is determined in the Assessor’s office.
The taxable value of a property is the percentage of the assessed value that will carry a tax burden. The Iowa Director of Revenue and Finance determines the "rollback" percentage for each class of property annually. The rollback percentage is the same for every jurisdiction within the state. This value is calculated in the Auditor’s office.
Agricultural properties, 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.
Taxpayers that do not agree with the assessed valuation of their property have the right to protest that value of the current year’s assessment to the Local Board of Review.
A protest petition must be completed and filed with the Assessor’s office between April 2nd and April 30th of the assessment year being challenged.
The Local Board of Review Organizational Meeting is on the first weekday of May. At this time, they will schedule the hearings for all protests that have been received timely.
An informal hearing with the Mills County Assessor is also an option available. These hearings can be scheduled with the Assessor within the month of April. If an agreement is not reached by the Assessor and the taxpayer, the taxpayer still has the ability to petition the Board.