Assessor's Office
Fayette County Assessor

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What are the Assessor's duties:
The assessor in Iowa is charged with several administrative and
statutory duties; the primary duty and responsibility is to cause to be
assessed all real property within her/his jurisdiction except that which is
otherwise provided by law. This would include residential, commercial,
industrial, and agricultural classes of property.  Real property is revalued
every two years.  The effective date of the assessment is January 1st of
each year.  The assessor determines a full or partial value of new
construction, or improvements depending upon the amount of the new
construction, or improvements completed as of January First.

General Misconceptions About the Assessor's Work:
The Assessor does not collect taxes, does not calculate taxes, does not
determine tax rates. The Assessor is concerned with value, not taxes.  
Taxing jurisdictions such as schools, cities, counties, and townships,
adopt budgets after public hearings.  These budgets determine the tax
levy, which is the rate of taxation required to raise the money budgeted.

General Information About the Assessor:
Assessor's in Iowa are appointed to their position by a Conference Board
consisting of the members of the Board of Supervisors, the Mayors of all
incorporated cities and a member from each school district within the
jurisdiction.  A city with a population of ten thousand or more may elect to
have their own assessor.  Assessor's are required, by statute, to pass a
state examination and complete a Continuing Education Program
consisting of 150 hours of formal classroom instruction with 90 of those
hours being tested hours and a passing grade of 70% attained.  The
latter requirement must be met in order for the assessor to be
reappointed to the position every six years.  The Deputy Assessor also
must pass a state examination as well as complete 90 hours of
classroom instruction of which at least 60 hours are tested. The
Conference Board approves and adopts the assessor's budget annually
after a public hearing. The assessor is limited, by statute, depending
upon the value of the jurisdiction, to a levy limitation for the assessor's
office budget.

How does the Assessor Estimate Market Value?
To estimate the market value of your property, the Assessor generally
uses three approaches.  The first approach is to find properties that are
comparable to yours which have sold recently.  Local conditions peculiar
to your property are taken into consideration.  The assessor also uses
sales ratio studies to determine the general level of assessment in a
community, in order to adjust for local conditions.  This method is
generally referred to as the MARKET APPROACH and usually
considered the most important in determining the value of residential
property.  The second approach is the COST APPROACH and is an
estimate of how many dollars at current labor and material prices it would
take to replace your property with one similar to it.  In the event
improvement is not new appropriate amounts for depreciation and
obsolescence would be deducted from replacement value.  Value of the
land then would be added to arrive to the total estimate of value.  The
INCOME APPROACH is the third method used if your property produces
income such as an apartment or office building.  In that case, your
property could be valued according to its ability to produce income under
prudent management; in other words, what another investor would give
for a property in order to gain its income.  The income approach is the
most complex of the three approaches because of the research,
information and analysis, necessary for an accurate estimate of value.  
This method requires thorough knowledge of local and national financial
conditions, as well as any developmental trends in the area of the
subject properly being appraised since errors or inaccurate information
can seriously affect the final estimate of value.


Why do values change?
State law requires that all real property be reassessed every two years.
The current law requires the reassessment to occur in odd numbered
years. Changes in market value as indicated by research, sales ratio
studies arid analysis of local conditions as well as economic trends both
in and outside the construction industry are used in determining your
assessment.

If you disagree with the assessor's estimate of value, please consider
these two questions before proceeding, as outlined below:

1. What is the actual market value of my property?

2. How does the value compare to similar properties in the
neighborhood?

A. If you have any questions about the assessment of your property, feel
free to come in and discuss it with the assessor.

B. You may file a written protest with the Board of Review which is
composed of three or five members from various areas of the assessing
jurisdiction. The Board operates independently of the assessor's office,
and has the power to confirm or to adjust either upward or downward
any assessment.

C. If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Board of Review you
may appeal to district court within twenty days after adjournment of said
Board, or twenty days after May 31st whichever is the latest.


Tax Levies and Assessed Values
There are a number of different taxing districts in a jurisdiction, each with
a different levy. Each year the County Auditor determines for that district
a levy that will yield enough money to pay for schools, police and fire
protection, road maintenance and other services budgeted for in that
area. The tax levy is applied to each $1,000 of a property's taxable
value. The value determined by the assessor is the assessed value and
is the value indicated on the assessment roll. The taxable value is the
value determined by the auditor after application of state-ordered
"rollback" percentages for the various classes of property and is the
value indicated on the tax statement. When comparing the value of your
property with other properties always compare with the value on the
assessment roll or the assessor's property record cards and not the
value indicated on the tax statement.


Exemptions and Credits
Iowa law provides for a number of exemptions and credits, including
Homestead Credit and Military Exemption. It is the property owner's
responsibility to apply for these as provided by law.
If the property you were occupying as a homestead is sold, or if you
cease to use the property as a homestead you are required to report this
to the assessor in whose jurisdiction the property is located.
Welcome to Fayette County, Iowa!
The official web site of Fayette County Government.
Published by the Fayette County Supervisors.
Fayette County Courthouse - Phone 563-422-3397
114 North Vine Street - West Union, Iowa 52175
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