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Understanding Postmarks

Property tax payments must be received or United States Postal Service (USPS) postmarked by the delinquency date to avoid penalties. The postmark date is used to determine if the payment was mailed on or before the deadline.  If you are waiting until just before the delinquent date to mail your payment, it is recommended that you personally witness the postmark being affixed to your envelope. If a payment is received after the delinquency date with a late or missing postmark, the payment is considered late and penalties will be imposed in accordance with Iowa law.

POSTMARKS are imprints on letters, flats, and parcels that show the name of the USPS office that accepted custody of the mail, along with the state, the zip code, and the date of mailing. The postmark is generally applied, either by machine or by hand, with cancellation bars to indicate that the postage cannot be reused.

Taxpayers who send their payments by mail are cautioned that the USPS only postmarks certain mail depending on the type of postage used, and may not postmark mail on the same day deposited by a taxpayer. Payments received by mail are deemed received based on the USPS postmark date stamped on the envelope containing the payment. If any payment is received without a USPS postmark, they are deemed received on the date they are actually received by the Treasurer’s Office.

Postage That Is Postmarked
  • USPS Standard Postage Stamp: Standard Postage Stamps can come in a variety of styles. Stamped envelopes are generally cancelled at the main USPS processing center on the day that they are delivered from the post offices they originated from.
  • Postage Validated Imprint (PVI): Postage Validated Imprint (PVI) is postage that is printed and affixed at the post office by the postal clerk at the service window and not returned to the customer. This stamp has the date and time of the acceptance already printed so it does not need to be cancelled at the processing center.
Postage That Is NOT Postmarked
  • Metered Mail: Metered mail is mail that a meter stamp is applied to. Metered mail allows the user to manually adjust the date. This mail is not cancelled at the USPS processing center.
  • Pre-cancelled Stamps: Pre-cancelled stamps are stamps that do not need to be cancelled by the machine at the processing center. These are stamps bought by bulk mailers who receive a discount for mass mailings.
  • Automated Postal Center (APC) Stamps: APC stamps can be purchased at self-service kiosks, which are located in Post Office lobbies and have 24-hour a day access. All APC stamps and shipping labels are printed and dispensed at these kiosks. APC stamps can be mailed at any time; therefore, the date does not necessarily reflect the date they were actually mailed.
  • Permit Imprint: Permit imprint is postage that is paid for at the time of mailing through a USPS bulk mail acceptance facility. This mail is not postmarked and the permit holder is charged per piece and per weight. CAUTION: Online bill payments made through online banking systems are often sent by bulk mail using a permit imprint and do not include a postmark. These payments can take 5 or more business days to reach our office. Please schedule accordingly.
  • Independent mail delivery (FedEx, UPS, etc.): Independent mail delivery is not postmarked. The shipping date is used to determine the date mailed.

NOTE: A Certificate of Mailing: A Certificate of Mailing is not a form of postage and does not provide sufficient proof that a property tax payment was mailed. A Certificate of Mailing provides evidence of mailing only and is not otherwise associated with the specific item mailed. These are additional services that are purchased at the time of mailing.