Assessment Myths

Finished Basements
  • Myth: If my basement doesn't have a ceiling, it will not be assessed as finished.
  • Fact: This old assessment myth has been around for over 40 years and is simply not true. Basement finish is assessed based on the components that are present (wall covering, floor covering, partitions, etc). No single component, such as a finished ceiling, makes a basement finished.
Farm Outbuildings
  • Myth: Farm outbuildings that are painted green are exempt.
  • Fact: This is another assessment myth heard across Iowa. It is not true.

Commercial Zoning
  • Myth: My home is in an area that is zoned commercial and therefore it is assessed as commercial property.
  • Fact: Zoning classification deals with uses permitted within that area. Assessment classification are tied to the actual use of the property. Generally, a residential dwelling on a residential lot will be assessed as residential property. An exception to this would be a dwelling that is used for a commercial purpose, such as an office.  

Tax Rates
  • Myth: The assessor sets tax rates.
  • Fact: The assessor deals only with assessed value. Tax rates are set by local and state governing bodies. The rates are used in conjunction with assessed values to calculate property taxes. Tax revenues are then used to provide services (schools, fire protection, etc.) necessary to a community.