The transparency of Iowa taxpayer statements – Voice Of Muscatine

[Courtesy City of Muscatine]

A recent law change requires county auditors to mail a budget statement to county taxpayers by March 20 with state-specified information related to proposed local government budgets and proposed property tax rates. (Iowa Code 24.2A)

Muscatine County Auditor Tibe Vander Linden said that the Budget Statements were mailed to Muscatine County residents Wednesday and should be received by property owners Thursday or Friday.

The budget statement is not a property tax bill but does include property tax information for proposed city, school district, and county budgets. The statements include the current property tax, current tax rate, the effective tax rate, the proposed property tax, and proposed tax rate for each local taxing district. The effective tax rate is the rate produced by holding current taxation consistent while using next fiscal year’s taxable values.

If the proposed property tax levy dollars exceed next year’s effective property tax dollars, an explanation is required. That explanation can be found in the bottom section of the statement for each taxing district.

The budget statement informs property owners of:

  • Upcoming school, county, and city public hearings where proposed property taxation for next fiscal year will be presented;
  • The phone number and website (if applicable) for each associated taxing authority;
  • Current, effective, and proposed tax rate information;
  • Comparison of current, effective, and proposed tax rates;
  • How current taxes levied by the school, county, and city are distributed; and
  • Comparison of how taxes would be distributed in the current and proposed budget years.

Providing taxpayers with this information about the proposed budgets is the main purpose of the statements. Taxpayers can then use the provided information to be better prepared to address the proposals at public hearings that will be held before the property tax rate and budgets are approved. Oral or written testimony from any resident or taxpayer will be received by each respective governing body during their respective public hearings. Budgets may be lowered after the hearings but not raised.

Included in the statement is the impact of the proposed city, school, and county property tax rates on both a $100,000 residential property and $100,000 commercial property. The table indicates the taxing authority, the tax using the current tax rate, the tax using the proposed tax rates, and the percent change.

Taxpayers are reminded that there are a few factors influencing their total property tax bill including:

  • Assessed valuation;
  • Residential or commercial rollback applied; and
  • Tax rate.

While the residential rollback has decreased, meaning taxpayers will pay taxes on a smaller portion of their assessed valuation, many properties likely realized significant increases in their assessed valuations for tax year 2024-25.

A tool to calculate the property tax impact for a specific property valuation can be downloaded here.

Additional information regarding the budget statement is made available online at https://dom.iowa.gov/property-taxes.

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