Benton County Assessment Notices Reflect Increased Housing Market
After a record year of home sales, spikes in construction costs, a mix of low-interest rates and a seller’s market, Benton County homeowners can expect to see their assessed property values increase this year.
New assessment notices will hit property owners’ mailboxes at the beginning of April. These 2021 values will take effect for taxes payable in September 2022 and March of 2023. Assessed value is just one piece of data used to calculate a property owner’s tax bill. The values are based on sale prices, property improvements, and the overall state of the market. The State of Iowa requires assessors to maintain a median assessment level between 95-105%. In 2020 the median sales ratio for residential sales in the county was approximately 88%. Sales ratios are calculated by dividing the assessed value by the sale price of each sale throughout the year. The median sales ratio is calculated by arraying the sales ratios of normal sales for the year in order and finding the middle ratio. Being the median ratio was below the 95% level, many property owners in Benton County will see an increase in their property assessments this year to reflect the market fluctuations.
As a reminder, property taxes are not determined by a single individual who assesses your property and sends you a bill. It is a common misinterpretation that the assessor determines tax rates, calculates taxes, and/or collects taxes. The assessor focuses solely on property value.
Taxing bodies such as schools, cities, townships, etc., adopt budgets that determine the tax rate needed to meet their overall budgets. Your property taxes are in proportion to the value of your property compared to the total value of the taxing district where your property is located.
If you disagree with your property’s assessment, start by asking yourself a few questions:
- What are similar properties selling for in your area?
- How does your value compare to similar properties in your area?
- What would you expect to list or sell your house for today?
Property owners are encouraged to do further research on their property’s value by visiting www.beacon.schneidercorp.com. This website offers a comparable sales search and sale price information. There are also sale lists and additional information available on the Benton County Assessor page.
If you still disagree with the assessment after considering the questions above, there are two options to appeal. One option is to start an informal review with the assessor’s office, which can be done until April 25, 2021 by contacting the Benton County Assessor’s Office. The other option is to file a petition with the Benton County Board of Review between April 2, 2021 and April 30, 2021. You can pick up a board of review petition form in the assessor’s office or download it from the Iowa Department of Revenue website.
Property owners who feel the value indicated is not fair market value should be prepared to state their estimate of market value and present evidence to support that estimate. Examples of evidence include comparable sales, remodeling costs, recent appraisals, or market analysis.
If you have further questions or wish to schedule an informal review, please call the office at (319) 472-5211. Our office hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday thru Friday.