Linn County

Protesting Your Assessed Value

Property owners who disagree with the assessor's estimate of the market value of their property should ask themselves, "Could I sell this property for that amount today?" If the answer is yes, then the value is probably correct. However, every property owner has the right to appeal an assessment. Remember that your protest and the information you use to support your appeal should be based on your property's actual value on the assessment date (January 1).

Property owners may appeal their initial assessments to the Linn County Board of Review by filing a written protest between April 2nd and April 30th of each year. If April 30th falls on a weekend, the deadline is extended to the following business day. The board meets annually in May to consider the protests. Petition forms to the board of review are available at the Linn County Assessor's office or by downloading the Petition to Local Board of Review Form PDF.

For as long as we can remember, the Assessor notified owners of any change in valuation by April 15 and appeal dates were April 16 through May 5. The property tax reform, signed in 2013, changed these dates to allow taxpayers more time to appeal their assessments. Assessors must now communicate any valuation changes to property owners by April 1 instead of April 15.

Informal Protest

Property owners can request an informal review with an assessor from April 2 - April 25. Previously, property owners could request a review from April 1 - May 4. This change was needed because the Board of Review is required by law to convene May 1 each year. The change allows all informal reviews to be completed before the Board meets. If property owners reach an agreement with the Assessor during the informal review, they can avoid filing a protest with the Board of Review.


In a reassessment year a property owner may protest an assessment for one or more of the following reasons:

Formal Protest

Steps

  1. Find out What Your Current Assessment Is
  2. File a Petition with the Board of Review
    To begin the appeals process, you must file a written, signed protest with your Board of Review.
    • The Petition to Local Board of Review Form is available online
    • Complete Form - You must specify the reason in your written petition.
      • The top portion of the form asks for information to identify the property you are protesting.
        • The Undersigned - enter your name
        • The following described real estate - enter the legal description of the property
        • The street address - enter the street address of the property
        • In the sum of - enter the current assessed value
      • Grounds - Your protest must be based on a reason authorized by Iowa Law
        • 1.a.(1)(a). The assessment is not equitable as compared to similar properties. This is the grounds to use if you think your assessment is out of line with your neighbors. You should list the neighbor's address and their assessment on the protest form. Using this reason may upset your neighbors. If you are successful in convincing the Board of Review your neighbors are under assessed compared to your assessment, the Board may resolve the inequity by raising their assessments, not lowering yours. Remember, the Board of Review must set assessments at market value.
        • 1.a.(1)(b). The property is assessed for more than the value authorized by law. This is by far the most frequently used ground. It is claiming your property is not worth as much as the assessor says it is. There are two blanks, the amount of the over assessment and its actual value. However, you should do more than just claim what it's worth; you should provide evidence that persuades the Board of Review you are right. Any of the following would be good support for this choice:
          • An appraisal: attach or provide a copy to the Board as soon as possible.
          • A copy of a recent sales listing of your property. (If it's less than the assessment.)
          • A copy of a sales agreement or evidence of a recent sale.
          • A list of three to five sales of properties comparable to yours that indicate your property would not sell for the assessment.
          • Pictures or inspection reports showing deficiencies that may not be obvious from an outside inspection, such as termite damage or a problem basement wall.
        • 1.a.(1)(c). The said property is not assessable, is exempt from taxes or misclassified for the following reasons.
        • 1.a.(1)(d). There is an error in the assessment. If the assessor's office has made a mistake in describing your property, use this grounds. If for example you have removed your garage and it is still assessed, file on grounds #4. Minor corrections may not reduce your value.
        • 1.a.(1)(e). There is fraud in the assessment. This should be clearly stated.
        • 1.a.(2). There has been a change downward since the last assessment. This is only used when there has been an equalization order issued or protesting on an even year.
  3. Be sure to request an oral hearing in your written protest/petition if you would like to speak to the Board or Review.
  4. The protest will not be accepted unless it is signed.
  5. It is very important to complete the bottom section of the form with your contact information including your mailing address where the notices will be sent and a daytime phone number where you can be reached by our office if there is a scheduling question.

If you're protesting assessments for more than one parcel of property, you will need to complete a separate form for each parcel.

You must file (in person) or postmark (in the mail) your petition from April 2 to April 30 for it to be valid. (There's an extended period for disaster areas; you can check with your local officials to find out the deadline. Also, if April 30th falls on a weekend, you can file the following Monday.) Mail or Deliver form to:

Linn County Assessor
935 2nd St SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404-2100

The Board of Review Hearing

The Board meets in May to consider assessment protests. It stays in session as long as it needs to act on all the protests, usually not past May 31st. If you requested an oral hearing in your petition, you can appear before the Board to support your petition.

The Property Assessment Appeal Board

The Property Assessment Appeal Board (PAAB for short) is a three-member panel that conducts hearings on property assessment appeals from throughout the State of Iowa. The PAAB has the authority to change the value or legal classification of property. Their goal is to set a fair and equitable value on all property that is appealed to them. The PAAB is a state board independent of the Department of Revenue and of the County Assessors.

Who can appeal?

A property owner, a taxpayer, or public officials dissatisfied with the decision of the local Board of Review.

What steps do I take to file an appeal?

How and where do I file?

Notice of Appeal & Petition form can be filed by mail (PO Box 10486, Des Moines, Iowa 50306) or delivered in person to Secretary of the Board, Hoover State Office Building, 1305 E. Walnut 4th Floor, Des Moines, IA 50319 during normal business hours. Only Notice of Appeal & Petition forms with original signatures will be accepted. Property Assessment Appeal Board web site

Phone: 515-725-0338

E-mail address: PAAB@iowa.gov

The District Court

This is the other method of appealing the BOR's decision (if you don't appeal to PAAB). The law doesn't require you to have an attorney to appeal to the District Court. However, to ensure that you meet all the Court's requirements and present your best case, you should seriously consider seeking legal counsel if you appeal BOR's decision to the District Court. This section only gives the basics of the District Court process, so that you have a general idea of how the proceedings work.