Assessor: Duties of the Assessor

The primary responsibility of the Assessor is to determine the value of all property within his or her jurisdiction.  The Assessor performs annual sales studies to determine current sales ratios, trends, and any areas that may need adjusted for equalization purposes.

Assessors also make annual inspections of any property with physical changes as reported by the property owner and various other sources. Inspections of the property allow the assessor to most accurately list and value that property's characteristics and update the property record card accordingly.

For residential property, the Assessor uses the market approach and takes into consideration the current sales of similar properties in the jurisdiction. This includes dwellings on agricultural property.

For commercial property, the Assessor may use the market approach, the cost approach, or the income approach to determine value. The market approach is the most reliable; however, in jurisdictions where few commercial sales occur, the assessor may use the cost or income approach, or a combination of both, to determine value.

For agricultural property, the Assessor must apply the CSR (Corn Suitability Rating) value to all ag parcels based on a modern soil survey performed within the jurisdiction. Ag land and ag buildings are assessed based on their productivity and net earning capacity, not on market value. Ag land is revalued every odd year based on a 5-year productivity cycle. The adjustments are made on top of the base CSR value; the CSR of a parcel does not change unless the parcel is split or combined with another parcel.

The Assessor is concerned only with valuation and not taxes. Certain classes of property are not taxed on their entire assessed valuation – the State of Iowa issues a "rollback" that determines what percentage of your valuation you pay taxes on.

What the Assessor does not do:

  • Figure taxes
  • Set levies
  • Collect taxes
  • Determine the rollback
  • Determine zoning