Understanding your assessment

Iowa law requires all property to be revalued every two years to reflect changes in market value and to keep up with market trends. Research of sales ratio studies, analysis of local conditions, and current construction costs are used in determining assessments. The assessed value represents the value as the property sits on January 1, 2019. Each property owner is notified by assessment notice any time there is a change in value to their property. Assessment notices will be sent April 1.

            The question is asked, “Doesn’t the Assessor raise my value according to the amount of taxes needed?” The simple answer is NO. The Assessor raises or lowers property values according to the market value of real estate, or in the case of agricultural land, according to productivity and CSR2s (Corn Suitability Ratings). The Assessor does not calculate taxes, or know what the taxes will be based on the new valuation. Assessments are set for January 1 of each year, while the rollback and tax levy rates on these assessments are not set until July of the following year.

            All sales information for Keokuk County is sent to the Iowa Department of Revenue. Only good sales are used to determine what the market trend is when conducting the sales ratio analysis. Sales ratio is the comparison of the assessed value at the time of sale to the amount paid for a property. The Department of Revenue lets each assessing jurisdiction know what percentage of increase or decrease is needed to be at 100% market value. It is then up to the Assessor to follow through with that increase or decrease as indicated by the Department of Revenue. The Assessor reviews the sales by market areas, not only countywide. Different market areas may increase or decrease at different percentages.

            This year, many commercial and residential property owners will see an increase in their property value. The easiest way to explain this increase is because many of the good sales from 2018 were properties that sold for higher prices than the last assessed value. Simply put, the higher sale prices in the 2018 market are driving up the 2019 assessed values across Keokuk County. Those properties located in stronger market areas will see a larger increase than those in the weaker market areas, keeping values equitable within the different market areas.

            Agricultural land, on the other hand, will be seeing a decrease in value for 2019. Ag land values are determined by the State of Iowa and are calculated using averages over a five-year increment of grain prices and yields.

            If the Assessor does not increase or decrease property values as indicated by the market and directed by the Department of Revenue, then the Department of Revenue will make these changes by issuing an equalization order. Equalization orders are given in lump percentages by property class straight across the board, countywide. That would mean some towns or townships increase or decrease at an inequitable rate compared to others.

            As always, property owners have the right to protest their value with the Board of Review if they do not believe it to be market value. Petition forms will be available in the Assessor’s office and should be filed between April 2 and April 30 to be reviewed by the Board of Review. Details regarding the protest period are enclosed with every assessment notice. Property owners can also request a field inspection from the Assessor’s office anytime throughout the year. Field inspections are beneficial, especially if there is a discrepancy with the property information that is listed, or if there has been a change in condition since the last inspection was done. The Assessor’s office needs to be made aware of any changes to property to have the most up-to-date and correct data on which values are based upon.

Assessor’s Office hours are Monday to Friday, 8:00 to 4:30

Phone 641-622-2760

All property information can be found on our website www.keokukassessor.org