All local levying authorities certify their taxes to the county auditor to be levied and collected by the county. It is the duty of the county treasurer to collect and disperse property taxes to the appropriate authority.
Tax levy rates are expressed in dollars and cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The amount of tax due for the year is calculated using the property's assessed value as of eighteen months before the beginning of the current fiscal year. The county's fiscal year begins on July 1 so in 2011, property taxes were based on the assessed value of the property on January 1, 2010. The property value is adjusted by exemptions and any rollback that may apply. This value is multiplied by the total levy rate to come up with the total tax due for the current fiscal year.
County LeviesThere are two primary levies an Iowa county can impose, the rural services levy and the general services levy. The rural services levy is set on property that is not located in a city. The money collected from this levy is used to pay for services that are primarily proved to residents of these rural areas. The rural services levy cannot exceed $3.95 per $1,000 of assessed value. The general services levy is assessed to all property in the county and may not exceed $3.50 per $1,000 of assessed value. Money deposited from this levy is used to pay for services provided to all citizens of the county.
A county's board of supervisors can certify additions to each of these levies in certain circumstances which create the need for additional property taxes above what can be collected under them. The Code of Iowa specifies what these circumstances are. Special notice of any additions to either primary levy must be given at the same time as the notice of the public hearing on the county's budget.
Counties are also able to levy a supplemental levy strictly for the purposes outlined in Iowa Code section 331.424. There is no maximum value for this levy. In 1995, Senate File 69 removed the ability for counties to levy for the payment of mental health and developmental disability service expenses by using this supplemental levy. A separate fund for each of these expenditures was instead established with a limit that is determined by formula for each county.
CitiesCities can impose a general fund levy of no more than $8.10 per $1,000 of assessed value. They are also able to assess supplemental levies for specific purposes as specified by Iowa Code section 384.12. Taxes collected from these supplemental levies are also added to the city's general fund. If approved by a simple majority in a special election, a city may exceed a levy's maximum amount as stated in the Code of Iowa.
Cities are also allowed to levy taxes for other funds including:
- debt service
- trust and agency funds
- capital improvements
SchoolsK-12 school districts are funded by a combination of state aid and property taxes. The school district foundation levy is $5.40 per $1,000 of assessed value. This levy and state aid are not able to fully fund a school district's spending, so districts assess an additional levy. Schools can also levy income surtaxes and property taxes beyond both the $5.40 levy and the additional levy which can be used for specific needs. Some of these specific levies require approval by the districts voters.
Community CollegeA tax levy of 20¼ cents per $1,000 of assessed value is used by a community college to pay for its operation. The board of directors may also levy an addition 20¼ cents per $1,000 of assessed value for a maximum of ten years for a specific purpose if approved by voters within the school's district during the school election. This levy can be used for the following purposes:
- purchasing grounds
- building construction
- purchase of buildings
- purchase of equipment for buildings
- acquisition of libraries
- payment of utilities
A community college board of directors can also levy up to an additional 3 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for equipment replacement. This rate may exceed the 3 cent limit if it is used for program sharing between community colleges or for the purchase of instructional equipment. This additional amount cannot cause the entire levy to exceed 9 cents, however.
TownshipsTownship trustees can levy property taxes in order to fund the following:
- For the condemnation or purchase of lands to be used for cemeteries, a community center or playgrounds
- To improve and the maintain cemeteries located in the township and in adjoining townships.
- To improve and maintain public parks.
- To improve to and maintain cemeteries not owned by the township if it is available for general public use. This levy can't exceed 6¾ cents per $1,000 of assessed value.
- To build or acquire a public hall. The maximum for this levy is 20¼ cents per $1,000 of assessed value.
- To provide emergency services to township residents.
- Townships with a service agreement with a city: 74¼ cents per $1,000 of assessed value
- Townships with a population of 300,000 or more: 87¾ cents per $1,000 of assessed value
- All other townships: 60¾ cents per $1,000 of assessed value
Property Assessment LeviesIowa Code section 441.16.23 establishes an assessment expense fund which is used to pay expenses accrued in the assessment of property. Property taxes are levied for this fund separately from other property taxes. The county conference board certifies this levy to the county auditor. The value of this levy is determined as follows:
- If the total valuation of a jurisdiction does not exceed $92,600,000, the maximum levy is 40½ cents per $1,000 of assessed value.
- If the total valuation is between $92,600,000 and $111,120,000, the levy cannot exceed 33¼ cents per $1,000 of assessed value.
- If the valuation is greater than $111,120,000, the levy can be no greater than 27 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 15:24