Skip to the content

FAQs-Property Tax

Common Property Tax Questions:

  1. When are my taxes due?
  2. What happens if my taxes are not paid by the due date?
  3. Who should I contact if my mailing address changes or I have a name change?
  4. I just bought this property, so why am I being billed for last year’s taxes?
  5. I Have not received my property tax statement; do I need a tax statement to make my payment?
  6. Why do I have to pay penalty and interest when I never received a bill?
  7. Why did I get a tax statement when my mortgage company is responsible for paying my taxes?
  8. I forgot I wasn't responsible for paying my property taxes and paid them. What happens when my mortgage company attempts to pay them?
  9. Why did I receive a statement for delinquent taxes when I sent in my tax payment on the due date?
  10. Why did I receive a special assessment statement?
  11. Can I make a partial payment of my tax due?
  12. I have had some hardships lately. Can an extension be granted for more time to pay taxes?
  13. What should I do if I have a tax sale on my property?
  14. Is there any type of credit or help available for elderly, disabled, or low-income property owners?
  15. How are property taxes calculated?
  16. How are my property tax dollars spent?
  17. How can I obtain information on the amount of Property Taxes paid for Income Tax purposes?
  18. I am going to be moving my manufactured home to another location. Do I need a tax clearance form?
  19. Is there any type of credit or help available for low-income mobile home or manufactured home property owners? 

Answers to Common Property Tax Questions:

  1. When are my taxes due? (Back to Top)

Property tax payments are due in two installments.  The 1st installment is due September 1st with late interest charged beginning October 1st.  The 2nd installment is due March 1st with late interest charged beginning April 1st.

When the last day of the month is a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the deadline for remitting tax payments without late interest or additional late interest for delinquent installments is extended to include the first business day of the following month.

  1. What happens if my taxes are not paid by the due date?  (Back to Top)

Late interest accrues on the first day of each month if a tax payment is not paid before the due date. The interest accrues at the rate of 1.5% per month (rounded to the nearest dollar) with a minimum of one dollar. Late interest is added to the unpaid balance of your property taxes.

When the last day of the month is a Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday, the deadline for remitting tax payments without late interest or additional late interest for delinquent installments is extended to include the first business day of the following month.

Taxes that remain unpaid could be subject to tax sale. Once the taxes are sold at tax sale, they are paid by another party. A tax lien is then placed on the property and if it is not redeemed within the time specified by Iowa law, the tax sale certificate holder may initiate proceedings to obtain a tax deed on the property.

  1. Who should I contact if my mailing address changes or I have a name change? (Back to Top)

Mailing Address changes can be made by contacting your County Treasurer.

Name Changes and other changes to property title require that proper legal documentation be prepared and submitted to the County Recorder’s Office.

  1. I just bought this property, so why am I being billed for last year’s taxes? (Back to Top)

In a typical real estate transaction, taxes are prorated and the buyer is either given credit for the seller's portion or the seller pays the taxes directly to the County Treasurer as part of the property sale. Details of how your taxes were handled should be on the settlement statement provided to you at the closing of your real estate transaction. You can also review this with your realtor or the attorney who handled the transaction for you.

Real estate taxes are always a year behind. For instance: the taxes due in September and March cover the time period from July 1 - June 30 of the previous year.

  1. I Have not received my property tax statement; do I need a tax statement to make my payment? (Back to Top)

Pursuant to Iowa law, County Treasurers send property tax statements to the titleholder of record each year after taxes are certified by the County Auditor's Office, typically during August.

It is not necessary to have a statement to make payment as long as you indicate the parcel number with your payment and know the correct amount. You may pay online, by mail or personally deliver your payment to the treasurer's office in the county where your property is located.

  1. Why do I have to pay penalty and interest when I never received a bill? (Back to Top)

As a property owner and under Iowa law, it is your responsibility to make sure that you receive a bill and that it is paid on time. The statements are mailed and the taxes are due at the same time each year. 

  1. Why did I get a tax statement when my mortgage company is responsible for paying my taxes? (Back to Top)

Pursuant to Iowa law, the County Treasurer is required to mail a tax statement to the titleholder of record on all parcels in the County. Third party payers such as mortgage companies request tax statements from the County Treasurer if they are responsible for paying your taxes. If your mortgage company is required to pay your taxes, you should retain the tax statement sent to you for income tax purposes.

  1. I forgot I wasn't responsible for paying my property taxes and paid them. What happens when my mortgage company attempts to pay them? (Back to Top)

If you paid your property taxes before your mortgage company payment is processed, the payment from your mortgage company will be returned to them. You will need to request a refund directly from your mortgage company.

  1. Why did I receive a statement for delinquent taxes when I sent in my tax payment on the due date? (Back to Top)

Your payment must be postmarked by the due date in order to be processed as a timely payment. If you received a balance due statement, your payment may not have been postmarked on time and therefore late interest has accrued, in which case we have processed your payment as a partial payment under Iowa law and sent you a statement for the remaining balance.  You can find more information about US Postal Service postmarks on our Understanding Postmarks page.

Delinquent notices are sent out in November, February and May of each year and are mailed by a third party vendor who requires the list of delinquent parcels several weeks before the notices are mailed.  The timing difference between when the list of delinquent parcels is created and when the notices are mailed, can cause delinquent notices to be sent to property owners who no longer owe delinquent taxes. To find the current balance of taxes owed on your parcel, search for your parcel on IowaTaxAndTags.org or inquire with your County Treasurer.

  1. Why did I receive a special assessment statement? (Back to Top)

Special assessments are taxes due for public improvements such as the paving of streets, installation of new sewer systems, drainage systems, or sidewalks. Special assessments may also be assessed for delinquent water or solid waste/recycling bills. Counties may send a separate tax statement for special assessments due against a property. The special assessment notice mailed indicates the type of special assessment and how much is owed. In most instances special assessments are due with the first installment of property tax in September.

The rates or charges for the services of sewer systems, sewage treatment, solid waste collection, water, disposal, storm water drainage systems, city utility or enterprise charges are a lien on the property receiving services once they are certified to the County Treasurer if they are not paid to the city as provided by ordinance of city council or resolution of the trustees. A lien on the property has equal precedence with ordinary taxes and may be certified to the County Treasurer and collected in the same manner as taxes. This lien is not divested by a judicial sale.  For more information on this, please refer to Iowa Code 384.67, 384.84, 362.2(2), 331.553.4

  1. Can I make a partial payment of my tax due? (Back to Top)

Yes, partial payments are accepted for current or delinquent real estate and manufactured home property tax. The amount of the partial payment must be greater than the late interest and fees due. Partial payments are not accepted for special assessments or tax sale redemption payments. You may make partial payments online or by mailing it to your County Treasurer. If mailing, please indicate on your payment that it is a partial payment of tax due.

  1. I have had some hardships lately. Can an extension be granted for more time to pay taxes? (Back to Top)

All counties are governed by the laws of the State of Iowa. Extensions cannot be granted due to hardship or any other extenuating circumstance.

  1. What should I do if I have a tax sale on my property? (Back to Top)

Contact your County Treasurer for information about your rights concerning a tax sale redemption and what steps are needed to redeem the tax sale certificate. See our Tax Sale page for more information about Tax Sales.

  1. Is there any type of credit or help available for elderly, disabled, or low-income property owners? (Back to Top)

If you are totally disabled or 65 years of age or older and your total household income is less than the amount set by the State of Iowa, you may qualify for tax relief under the provisions of Iowa Code Section 425.16. Applications are available from January 2 through June 1 each year at some neighborhood community centers or at the Treasurer's Office. Tax credits and exemptions may be reduced pursuant to Iowa Code Section 25B.7. Contact your County Treasurer for further information or to obtain the application forms.

Application forms may also be downloaded from our Property Tax Forms page.

  1. How are property taxes calculated? (Back to Top)

There are a number of factors that come into play when calculating your property taxes, from your home's assessed value to the tax rate in your area. For a comprehensive look at how Property Taxes are determined, see our Tax Calculation Example.

  1. How are my property tax dollars spent? (Back to Top)

When you pay your property tax bill, the money you are spending goes to a number of important programs. One of the most important areas in which property tax revenue is spent is the public school system. While state and federal governments do provide some support, the majority of public education is funded by property tax dollars.

Another critical area that is supported by property tax dollars is local public safety. It is undeniable that public safety is a key factor to a successful city, town, or municipality. With property tax revenue, police and fire departments can maintain their staff, equipment, and vehicles for use during an emergency.

Property tax revenue is also spent on basic necessities like street maintenance and utilities. Without these amenities, it would be difficult for any city or town, and its residents, to function properly. When a road is plowed or a pothole is filled, that is your property tax dollars at work.

Your property taxes also help to pay for much of the organized recreation in your area, including park or any other recreation areas that are constructed and maintained within your community. Any of the public lands in your community that aren’t owned or funded by the state are generally paid for by the property taxes in your area.

To get a better understanding of what taxing authorities your property taxes fund, review the breakout by taxing authority provided on the Property Tax Statement received in the mail.

  1. How can I obtain information on the amount of Property Taxes paid for Income Tax purposes? (Back to Top)

Homeowners who itemize their tax returns may be able to deduct property taxes they paid on their main residence and any other real estate they own.  Consult your tax preparer for more information on property tax deductions.

Here are a few places you can look to determine how much you paid in property taxes:

  • Mortgage Interest Statement Form 1098 – should include any property taxes paid by the mortgage company
  • Bank Statements or cancelled checks
  • If you or your mortgage company paid taxes on IowaTaxAndTags.org - Online payment history is available on Step 2 of the payment process under ‘More Details’
  • Local County Treasurer
  1. I am going to be moving my manufactured home to another location. Do I need a tax clearance form? (Back to Top)

You will need to obtain a "Tax Clearance" (move permit) from the Treasurer's Office of the county where the manufactured home is located. The Tax Clearance certifies that property taxes due on the manufactured home have been paid. It is a violation of State law to move a manufactured home without a current Tax Clearance.

To obtain a Tax Clearance, the owner who sells a home between July 1 and December 31 must pay the September tax installment and is not required to pay the March tax installment. The owner who sells a home between January 1 and June 30 must pay the March tax installment. All delinquent taxes and Tax Sales must be paid in full.

If the owner of a home located in a manufactured home community or mobile home park sells the home, obtains a Tax Clearance Statement, and obtains a replacement home to be located in a manufactured home community or mobile home park, the owner shall not pay taxes for the newly acquired home for the same tax period that the owner has paid taxes on the home sold.

  1. Is there any type of credit or help available for low-income mobile home or manufactured home property owners? (Back to Top)

If you are 23 years of age or older and your total household income is less than the amount set by the State of Iowa, you may qualify for tax relief under the provisions of Iowa Code Section 435.22. Applications are available from January 2 through June 1 each year at the Treasurer's Office or can be downloaded from the Property Tax Forms page. Tax credits and exemptions may be reduced pursuant to Iowa Code Section 25B.7. Contact the County Treasurer's office for further information or to obtain the application forms.