Our mission is to respectfully and courteously deliver excellence in public service while providing timely, accurate and equitable assessments in accordance with Iowa law. Guided by principals of honesty and fairness, we partner with Van Buren County property owners to achieve a greater understanding of the appraisal process.
FAQ’s Regarding 2023 Assessed Valuation Changes:
Why did my assessed value change?
Since 1975, by Iowa Code, assessed values of residential, commercial and industrial properties are to be at market value. Every odd-numbered year, assessments must change to reflect each jurisdiction’s market transactions between buyer/sellers. The assessor must value according to the sales from the prior year, so 2023 assessments are based on 2022 sales. Buyers and sellers agreed upon fair prices for properties in Van Buren County throughout the year, and those sales were then recorded. Those sales make up the market and dictate 2023 assessed values. As the market inflates, assessed values increase. If the market becomes deflated, assessed values would decrease accordingly the following odd-numbered year. We are not predicting the future, only responding to the prices that buyers paid to sellers.
My house went up 30%, will my taxes go up 30%?
The entire state and most of the United States have seen dramatic increases in the real estate market over the last two years. As indicated by the market, in Iowa, 30% assessment increases since the last re-valuation year (2021) are not uncommon. Fortunately, the total taxable value for each classification, such as residential, ag or commercial, can only increase 3% statewide. In the fall of this year, the Iowa Department of Revenue will determine what percentage of the assessed value is taxable. Also, your local taxing bodies (i.e. your schools, cities, county, hospital, etc.) will not set their tax levies using these assessments until next year. Additionally, legislative changes can also affect the taxes payable in the fall of 2024/spring of 2025. Due to all of these unknows, neither the Assessor, the Treasurer, nor the Auditor can accurately predict an individual’s future tax bill on the 2023 assessments.
Can you just give me a rough idea of what we can expect when we pay taxes on these assessments in 2024/2025?
There are a couple of things we can predict:
Residential: Because the entire state has seen increases in the residential market, the amount of your value which can be taxed should decrease to offset much of the increase. For the 2022 values, we know that approximately 55% of the assessed value will be taxable. For 2023, due to the significant increases across the state, the taxable percentage will decrease.
Ag: Agricultural land and buildings are valued based on productivity. Because the entire state has seen increases in the assessed value of agricultural properties, the amount of your value which is taxed should decrease to offset much of the increase. For 2022 values, approximately 92% of the assessed value will be taxable. For 2023, due to the increases across the state, that number will decrease. We saw the reverse of this after the revaluation in 2019. Because overall agricultural valuations decreased in Iowa, the state increased the rollback, so a higher percentage of the assessed value was taxable. The opposite will occur for 2023.
Why did my property go up when it didn’t sell recently?
In accordance with Iowa law, all “arms-length” 2022 sales from the county are used to determine the total value increase or decrease required for Residential and Commercial classifications. In order to be within the required aggregate value for each class of property, for 2023, nearly all properties had valuation increases relative to properties which sold.
Why did my house value go up when I didn’t fix it up?
Making physical changes to a property can increase the value of that individual property, but in re-valuation years, the market is often the most common reason for an increase. The sales information from a jurisdiction indicates what trends occurred in the market as a whole. The assessor is required to assess properties at market value, so if the market indicates that housing prices have increased, it is likely most properties will increase regardless of whether improvements have been made.
Why did my house go up more than my neighbor/relative’s house?
An assessor uses the information from the sales in their jurisdiction to determine changes. This often means the entire class of property will need to increase a certain amount, but the assessor also looks at other information from those sales and applies that information using a mass appraisal system. One town may have sales indicating those properties require a greater increase than properties in another town. The assessor uses information gathered from the sales data when setting valuations. Other factors such as new or gone construction, renovations, property damage or depreciation, and costs associated with certain types of construction materials may also cause variances.
Would you buy my house for the assessed value?
Your assessor isn’t in the business to buy each property in the county for their assessment. Instead, in accordance with Iowa law, assessors are charged with the task of assessing each property for what it should sell for in the open market through an arms-length transaction between a willing buyer and willing seller. If you are not familiar with the market, current sales data is available at the Assessor’s Office.
What if I disagree with my Assessment?
While the real estate market has increased dramatically over the past two years, when utilizing a mass appraisal system, it is possible that an individual property may be assessed too low or too high. If you feel your residential or commercial assessment does not represent what it would sell for, your individual property data may need to be reviewed. There may be factors affecting the value that your assessor is unaware of. If you believe your assessment is not at market value, you may request an informal review until April 25th or you may petition the Board of Review through April 30.
To learn more about the assessment and valuation process, credits and exemptions, visit the Iowa State Association of Assessors website by clicking here: ISAA Website.