Possible error by Iowa Dept. of Revenue could impact Sioux City property owners, here’s how

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — An equalization order filed by Iowa’s Department of Revenue to Sioux City would impact 580 multi-residential properties that are worth more than $300 million, causing their valuations for tax purposes to rise.

The order calls for multi-residential property values to be increased by 22%. City Assessor John Lawson said he’s already appealed the order due to the department making an incorrect calculation during a presentation back in 2019. The department at that time told assessors to use multiplication to find out the median value of all the properties and that cities and counties would need to be 20% above or below the current market value to be in what’s called the “tolerance range” for the DOR.

Lawson said he followed those instructions and assessed within that range but was told by the DOR there was an error and that he was supposed to use division.

“When we got the tentative order and appealed, the department says that calculation was an error, it should’ve been division,” said Lawson.

Lawson calculated that a property listed at $100,000 would see a $10,000 increase in taxable valuation under this new order, raising that property’s taxes by $350.

President of the Siouxland Chamber Chris McGowan says that this hurts not just the landlords, but some of the low-income residents who are already struggling.

“But we recognize that those costs are going to get passed on to the tenants. Now,for a lot of individuals this is entry-level housing in the midst of a workforce crisis when we’re trying to do everything we can to get more employees, and so this compounds an already challenging situation,” said McGowan.

Lawson said Sioux City isn’t the only one that’s going through this issue. 37 cities and counties were also issued equalization orders this year and just four were upheld after appeal.

Lawson encourages any property owner, who believes the 22% would put their assessed value over what market value is should appeal to the Sioux City Board of Review by November 1.

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