About the Assessor

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 his 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 First 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 First.

General Misconceptions About the Assessor's Work

The Assessor DOES NOT:

  • collect taxes
  • calculate taxes
  • 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.

How is the Assessor appointed?

The local assessor is appointed by a conference board to a six year term. All assessors must have successfully passed the assessor exam given by the Department of Revenue. Each assessor must successfully complete 150 hours of formal continuing education in order to be eligible for reappointment.

What is the Board of Review and who are the members?

The local board of review is composed of either three or five members who are familiar with local market conditions and trends. According to Iowa law, one member must be a farmer, one a licensed real estate broker, and one a registered architect or contractor. The board of review reviews all petitions and has the power to confirm or to adjust upward or downward any assessment. The Board operates independently of the Assessor's office.

What is the Conference Board?

The conference board for the county assessor is comprised of the county supervisors, the mayors of incorporated towns in the county, and a school board member from each school district in the county. The conference board for the city assessor is comprised of the county supervisors, city council members, and the school board members.

What is the Property Assessment Appeal Board and who are the members?

The Property Assessment Appeal Board (PAAB) is a state agency created for the purpose of establishing a consistent, fair and equitable property assessment appeal process. Decisions of the local Board of Review may be appealed to PAAB. One member of the board shall be a certified real estate appraiser or hold a professional appraisal designation, one member shall be an attorney practicing in the area of state and local taxation or property tax appraisals, and one member shall be a professional with experience in the field of accounting or finance and with experience in state and local taxation matters.

Property Assessment Flow Chart

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