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Property tax reassessment notices began going out this week to Iowa property owners, and Iowa business owners and homeowners are seeing record increases. By way of example, Polk County reported an average 22 percent increase in residential property values.

Our clients are asking if, when and how they can appeal their new property tax assessments in Iowa and elsewhere. Below are the basics of how one can appeal his or her property tax reassessment in Iowa. Property owners can attempt to appeal on their own or involve legal counsel. However, also consider that deadlines and procedures vary by state. We are here to help if you would like any legal assistance in these property tax appeals.

Informal Review

A property owner can request the assessor undertake an informal review of the assessment using the same grounds that would be used for a formal protest. A request for informal review can be made on or after April 2nd, but must be made prior to April 25th of the year of the assessment.

One does not have to go through this step, but it is available should you want to test the water prior to filing a formal protest. However, property owners must remember that the deadline for a formal protest remains unchanged when an informal review is requested.

Formal Protest

Time Period for Protest: You may formally protest the assessment on or after April 2nd, to and including April 30th of the year of the assessment. There are some caveats for areas that are declared disaster areas.

Form of Protest. Your formal protest must be in writing and signed by the protestor. If you would like an oral hearing, you have to request it, and requests will not be automatically granted. The protest must state the grounds for the protest, which are limited to five enumerated grounds under the Iowa Code and are as follows:

  1. The assessment is not equitable as compared with assessments of other like properties in the taxing district.
  2. The property is assessed for more than the value authorized by law.
  3. The property is not assessable, is exempt from taxes or is misclassified.
  4. There is an error in the assessment.
  5. There is fraud or misconduct in the assessment which shall be specifically stated.

Review: The Board of Review will then review the protest and render a decision. If you are dissatisfied with that decision, it can be appealed to the Board of Appeal.

Evidence to be used in Protest (or Appeal): There are various types of potential evidence to be used in protests (and appeals to the Board of Appeal). Such evidence includes third-party appraisals, comparable sales reports, income and expense statements, photographs/plans showing the condition of the property and a myriad of other types of evidence.

If you have questions regarding anything addressed in this article, please contact Jodie McDougal at, Ryan Haaland at or your Fredrikson relationship attorney.

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