Iowa Property Tax Protests & Appeals

The Iowa property tax is a tax on “real property”, which includes (among other things) land, buildings, structures, or improvements constructed on or attached to land. Assessments of real property occur every two years, in odd-numbered years.  

The assessment is intended to be the actual or market value for most property taxes. Iowa Code Chapter 441.21 defines “market value” as the fair and reasonable exchange in the year in which the property is listed and valued between a willing buyer and a willing seller. Market value can also be demonstrated by the sale prices of the property or comparable property in a normal, arms-length transaction.  

If a taxpayer disagrees with the assessed value of their property, they can appeal based on the following reasons: 

  1. The assessment is not comparable to others with similar properties.  
  2. The property is assessed at more than its actual value.  
  3. The property is exempt from taxation. 
  4. There is an error in the assessment.  
  5. The assessment is fraudulent.  

Any taxpayer wishing to appeal must provide competent evidence that the market value of the property is different than the market value as determined by the assessor.  

To appeal, a taxpayer may (1) contact their assessor and request an informal review of the assessment; (2) file a protest directly with the local board of review, after which a taxpayer may appeal to the Property Assessment Appeal Board; or (3) appeal directly to the district court.  

Relevant deadlines for assessments and appeals are provided below: 

  • January 1: Assessment date 
  • April 1: Assessors complete assessments and notify taxpayers 
  • April 2 – 25: Taxpayers may request an informal review of assessment by the Assessor 
  • April 2 – 30: Taxpayers may appeal assessments to local boards of review 
  • May 1 – May 30: Local boards of review consider appeals