Overview of Iowa Taxes
Iowa has an average effective property tax rate of 1.50%. This ranks as the 14th highest rate in the country.
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To calculate the exact amount of property tax you will owe requires your property's assessed value and the property tax rates based on your property's address. Please note that we can only estimate your property tax based on median property taxes in your area. There are typically multiple rates in a given area, because your state, county, local schools and emergency responders each receive funding partly through these taxes. In our calculator, we take your home value and multiply that by your county's effective property tax rate. This is equal to the median property tax paid as a percentage of the median home value in your county.
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Jennifer Mansfield, CPA, JD/LLM-Tax, is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 30 years of experience providing tax advice. SmartAsset’s tax expert has a degree in Accounting and Business/Management from the University of Wyoming, as well as both a Masters in Tax Laws and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. Jennifer has mostly worked in public accounting firms, including Ernst & Young and Deloitte. She is passionate about helping provide people and businesses with valuable accounting and tax advice to allow them to prosper financially. Jennifer lives in Arizona and was recently named to the Greater Tucson Leadership Program.
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Iowa Property Taxes
Property taxes in the state of Iowa are a major source of revenue for local governments and services, including public schools. Taxes are collected annually, based on assessed property values that are recalculated every two years.
The state’s average effective property tax rate is 1.50%, which ranks as the 14th highest rate in the country. However, since rates are determined locally, property taxes vary greatly between cities and counties within Iowa. If you’re considering buying a home in Iowa, regardless of which county, check out our mortgage guide to learn about rates and the details of getting a mortgage in the Hawkeye State. Below, we will take a look at rates in every county and explain the most important property tax rules in Iowa.
How Iowa Property Taxes Work
Iowa property taxes are paid annually in two installments, due on Sept. 1 and March 1 every year (though they are not considered late until the following month). Taxes are based on two factors: the assessed value of the property and the total local tax rate. Property values in Iowa are assessed every two years by county and city assessors.
Every county has its own assessor, as do eight cities. The assessor looks at market and property factors to determine the market value of the property. Assessed value, to which tax rates apply, is based on market value. The total statewide assessed value of residential property cannot increase by more than 3% annually. Thus, each year the state "rolls back" home values by applying a ratio calculated annually by the state's Director of Revenue. For 2018, that ratio is 56.9391%. So if your home's market value is $100,000 (as determined by your local assessor), your assessed value would be $56,939.
There are a number of property tax credits and exemptions that can reduce the property taxes you owe. The most common is the Homestead Credit, which reduces your assessed value by $4,850. Other Iowa credits and exemptions include the Disabled Veteran’s Homestead Tax Credit, the Military Exemption and the Senior Citizens Property Tax Credit.
Iowa Property Tax Rates
Property tax rates in Iowa are determined annually depending on the budget requirements of local tax authorities and the total taxable value of property in a tax district. If taxable value increases one year and the budget requirements stay the same, tax rates will fall. If they decrease and requirements stay the same, tax rates will rise.
Tax rates are denominated in dollars per thousand. If your total tax rate is 20, that would mean you owe $20 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed value. On a home with an assessed value of $200,000, the total tax bill would be $4,000.
Looking to calculate your potential monthly mortgage payment? Check out our mortgage calculator.
The table below shows the average effective tax rate for every county in Iowa. Effective tax rates are calculated by determining the median annual tax payments as a percentage of median home value.
|County||Median Home Value||Median Annual Property Tax Payment||Average Effective Property Tax Rate|
If you are looking for low property tax rates in Iowa, Polk County may not be your best bet. The county’s average effective property tax rate of 1.87% is the highest in the state and well above the national average. At that rate, someone with a home value of $200,000 could expect to pay more than $3,700 annually in property taxes. The highest property tax rates in the county can be found within the city of Des Moines.
Linn County is in eastern Iowa and contains the city of Cedar Rapids. The typical homeowner in Linn County pays $2,559 annually in property taxes, about $575 more than the state average. The county’s average effective property tax rate of 1.72% is also higher than the state average, ranking fourth out of Iowa’s 99 counties.
With a population of around 171,000, Scott County is the third most populous county in Iowa. It also lower property tax rates than the rest of Iowa’s largest counties. The average effective property tax rate in Scott County is 1.63%. However, that rate is still almost 10% higher than the state average.
The median property tax payment among homeowners in Johnson County is $3,242 per year. That is the highest annual property tax in the state. The county also has the second highest property values in the state. With that being said, Johnson County’s average effective property tax rate is only 12th highest in the state at 1.60%.
Black Hawk County
The average property tax rate in Black Hawk County is over 30 dollars per thousand of assessed value. Tax districts within the city of Waterloo have the highest rates in the county, in some places exceeding 40 dollars per thousand. Homeowners in the county can pay a lower effective rate than that by claiming exemptions, such as the Homestead Exemption described above.
Located in western Iowa, Woodbury County has the sixth highest average effective property tax rate in the state at 1.68%. That means a homeowner in the county with a home worth $100,000 (near the median home value) can expect to pay $1,680 annually in property taxes.
Property taxes in Dubuque County are lower than those in the rest of Iowa’s largest counties. The county’s average effective property tax rate of 1.40% is lower than the state average of 1.50%, but still higher than the national average.
Pottawattamie County sits across the Missouri River from the city of Omaha, Nebraska. The county’s average effective property tax rate of 1.79% ranks second in the state of Iowa but is significantly lower than the average rate in neighboring Omaha. The average effective rate in Omaha’s Douglas County is 2.08%.
A typical homeowner in Story County pays $2,548 in property taxes annually, sixth most of any county in the state. In part, that is a result of high home values in Story County, which has a median home value of $167,800. That is fourth highest home value in the state. However, the effective property tax rate in the county is only slightly higher than the state average at 1.52%.
Dallas County is located west of Polk County and Des Moines. It is the 10th most populous county in the state. While home values in Dallas County are higher than those in Polk County, the property tax rate is significantly lower. The average effective property tax rate in Dallas County is 1.51%.
Property Tax: Which Counties are Getting the Best Bang for Their Buck
SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the places across the country where property tax dollars are being spent most effectively. Zoom between states and the national map to see the counties getting the biggest bang for their property tax buck.
Our study aims to find the places in the United States where people are getting the most for their property tax dollars. To do this we looked at school rankings, crime rates and property taxes for every county.
As a way to measure the quality of schools, we analyzed the math and reading/language arts proficiencies for every school district in the country. We created an average score for each district by looking at the scores for every school in that district, weighting it to account for the number of students in each school. Within each state, we assigned every county a score between 1 and 10 (with 10 being the best) based on the average scores of the districts in each county.
For each county, we calculated the violent and property crimes per 100,000 residents.
Using the school and crime numbers, we calculated a community score. This is the ratio of the school rank to the combined crime rate per 100,000 residents.
We used the number of households, median home value and average property tax rate to calculate a per capita property tax collected for each county.
Finally, we calculated a tax value by creating a ratio of the community score to the per capita property tax paid. This shows us the counties in the country where people are getting the most bang for their buck, or where their property tax dollars are going the furthest.
Sources: US Census Bureau 2017 American Community Survey, Department of Education, Federal Bureau of Investigation, State Police or Justice Department websites