Fremont County Assessor

Karen Berry, Assessor
506 Filmore St., PO Box 760 
Sidney, Iowa 51652-0760
PBX: 712-374-2631
FAX: 712-374-3202
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. M-F
Holiday Closings: See Holiday Schedule
or Contact the County Assessor


Important Dates

Common Credits and Exemptions

Credit/Exemption Forms

Additional Credits and Exemptions
 

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The Assessor is charged with several administrative and statutory duties. The primary duty and responsibility is to assess all real property within the Assessor's jurisdiction except that which is otherwise provided by law. This would include residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural classes of property.

Real property is revalued every two years. The effective date of the assessment is January first of each year. The Assessor determines a full or partial value for all new construction and improvements depending upon their state of completion as of that January first date.
 
GENERAL MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE ASSESSOR'S DUTIES

The Assessor DOES NOT:

Collect taxes
Calculate taxes
Determine tax rate
Set policy for the Board of Review

The Assessor is concerned with value, not taxes. Taxing jurisdictions such as schools, cities and county, adopt budgets after public hearings. This determines the tax levy, which is the rate of taxation required to raise the money budgeted.

The taxes you pay are proportional to the value of your property compared to the total value of property in your taxing district.   

About the Assessor

Assessors are appointed to their position by a Conference Board consisting of the members of the Board of Supervisors, the Mayors of all the incorporated cities, and a member of each school district within the jurisdiction. A city with a population of 10,000 or more may elect to have their own assessor. In cities having an assessor the conference board shall consist of the members of the city council, school board and county board of supervisors.

Assessors are required by law to pass a state examination and complete a continuing education program consisting of 150 hours of formal classroom instruction with 90 hours tested and a passing grade of 70% attained. The latter requirement must be met in order for the Assessor to be reappointed to the position every six years.

The Conference Board approves the Assessor's budget and after a public hearing acts on adoption of the same. The Assessor is limited, by statute, depending upon the value of the jurisdiction, to a levy limitation for the budget.  

Market Value

Residential, commercial and industrial real property are assessed at 100% market value. Market value of a property is an estimate of the price that it would sell for on the open market on the first day of January of the year of assessment. This is often referred to as the "arms length transaction" or "willing buyer/willing seller" concept. The Assessor must determine the fair market value of real property. To do this, the Assessor generally uses three approaches to value.  

Market Approach

The first approach is to find properties that are comparable to the subject property and that have recently sold. Local conditions peculiar to the subject property are then considered. In order to adjust for local conditions, the Assessor also uses sales ratio studies to determine the general level of assessment in a community. This method is generally referred to as the MARKET APPROACH and is usually considered the most important in determining the value of residential property. 

Cost Approach

The second approach to value is the COST APPROACH, which is an estimate of how many dollars at current labor and material prices it would take to replace a property with one similar to it. In the event the improvement is not new, appropriate amounts of depreciation and obsolescence are deducted from replacement value. Value of the land is added to arrive at an estimate of total property value.  

Income Approach

The INCOME APROACH is the third method used if the property produces income. If the property is an income producing property, it could be valued according to its ability to produce income under prudent management; in other words, what another investor would give for a property in order to gain its income. The income approach is the most complex of the three approaches because of the research, information and analysis necessary for an accurate estimate of value. This method requires thorough knowledge of local and national financial conditions, as well as any developmental trends in the area of the subject property being appraised since errors or inaccurate information can seriously affect the final estimate of value.

Agricultural real property is assessed at 100% of productivity and net earning capacity value. The Assessor considers the productivity and net earning capacity of the property. Agricultural income as reflected by production, prices, expenses, and various local conditions is taken into account.

Why Values Change

After properties have been appraised, the values are analyzed to ensure accurate and equitable assessments. Iowa law requires that all real property be reassessed every two years. The current law requires the reassessment to occur in odd numbered years. Changes in market value as indicated by research, sales ratio studies and analysis of local conditions as well as economic trends both in and outside the construction industry are used in determining property assessments.  

Notification and Appeal

If you disagree with the Assessor's estimate of value, please consider these
two questions:
  1. What is the actual market value of my property?
  2. How does the value compare to similar properties in the neighborhood?
If you have any questions about the assessment of your property, please contact your assessor's office.

A written protest may be filed with the Board of Review which is composed of either three members or five members from various areas of the county who are familiar with local market conditions and trends. The Board operates independently of the Assessor's office and has the power to confirm or to adjust upward or downward any assessment. An individual may petition to district court if they are not satisfied with the Board of Review's decision.

Important Dates

January 1

Effective date of current assessment  

April 16 thru May 5

Protest of assessment period for filing with Board of Review  

May 1 thru Adjournment

Board of Review meets each year  

July 1

Signup deadline Homestead Tax Credit & Military Exemption  

January to November 1

Signup period for Family Farm Tax Credit  

October 16 thru October 25

Protest period for filing with Board of Review on properties affected by changes in value as a result of Director of Revenue and Finance Equalization Orders (odd numbered years only.)
 

You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to obtain the Forms below.

Disabled Veteran Homestead Credit

Family Farm Exemption (This form must be filled out and signed in the Assessors Office)

Forest or Fruit Tree Reservation

Grain Tax Return

Historic Property Rehabilitation

Impoundment Structure

Native Prairie or Wetlands

Property Tax Exemption

   

Credits and Exemptions

Iowa law provides for a number of credits and exemptions. It is the property owner's responsibility to apply for these as provided by law. It is also the property owner's responsibility to report to the Assessor when they are no longer eligible for any credit or exemption they have applied for. Following is a list of several credits and exemptions available in Iowa.

Homestead Tax Credit

To qualify for the credit, the property owner must be a resident of Iowa and occupy the property on July 1 and for at least six months of every year. A dwelling located on land owned by a Community Land Trust as defined in 42 U.S.C., Section 12773. New applications for homestead tax credit are to be filed with the Assessor on or before July 1 of the year the credit is first claimed. Once a person qualifies, the credit continues until the property is sold or until the owner no longer qualifies. This credit is equal to the tax on the first $4,850 of actual value for each homestead. (Refer Iowa Code, Chapter 425)

Military Service Tax Exemption

Iowa residents who meet one of the following service requirements are eligible for the exemption:

  1. Honorably discharged veteran who served for a minimum aggregate of eighteen months.
  2. Honorably discharged veteran who served fewer than eighteen months because of a service related injury.
  3. Honorably discharged former member of Reserve Forces or Iowa National Guard who served at least 20 years.
  4. Member of Reserve Forces or Iowa National Guard who have served at least 20 years and continue to serve.
  5. Honorably discharged former member of the Armed Forces if any portion of their term of enlistment would have occurred within the Korean Conflict but who opted to serve 5 years in the reserve forces as allowed by Federal law.
  6. Honorably discharged veteran who served in an eligible service period (Iowa Code Chapter 35)

Application must be made with the Assessor on or before July 1 of the year the exemption is first claimed. The military certificate of satisfactory service, order transferring to inactive status, reserve, retirement, order of separation from service or honorable discharge must be recorded in the office of the county recorder. Members of the Reserve Forces or Iowa National Guard who have served at least 20 years and continue to serve shall record the veteran's retirement points accounting statement issued by the armed forces of the United States, the state adjutant general, or the adjutant general of any other state. The exemption from taxation is $2,778 for WWI veterans and $1,852 for all other service periods. If the qualified veteran does not claim the exemption the spouse, unmarried widow(er), minor child or widowed parent may be eligible to claim the exemption. (Refer to Iowa Code Chapter 426A)

Family Farm Credit (This form must be filled out and signed in the Assessors Office)

This is a tax credit on agricultural tracts of land 10 acres or more that are farmed by the owner or designated family members (this includes spouse, parent, grandparent, great grandparent, child, grandchild, great grandchild, stepchild, brother, sister uncle, aunt, niece, nephew.) Applications are filed in the Assessor's Office.

Family Farm One-Time Filing

If a claim for the family farm credit is filed by November 1, and approved, further filing is not required provided the claimant owns the property on July 1 of subsequent years and the designated person actively engaged in farming the property remains the same. A claim filed after November 1 shall be considered as a claim filed for the following year.

If the ownership changes, the new owner must re-file for the credit and if the "designated person" changes, the owner must re-file for the credit.
The owner must notify the Assessor in writing of a change in the "designated person". Failure to do so will result in a penalty.
Contact the Assessor's office for more information on the complexities of this law. (Refer to Iowa Code Chapter 425A)

Other Credits and Exemptions

Following is a list of several other credits/exemptions administered by the Assessor's office. Filing is required on them as provided by Iowa law.
 
Exemption File By Filing Requirement Code Section 
Family Farm January - November 1 One Time -- Filed after November 1 is for following year. 425A.4
Barn & One-Room School February 1 One Time 427.1(31) 427.1(32)
Exempt Property - Religious, Literary, Charitable* February 1 One Time 427.1(14)
Forest Reservation February 1 One Time 427C.3
Fruit Tree February 1 One Time 427C.3
Historic Property February 1 One Time 427.16
Impoundment Structure February 1 Annual 427.1(20)
Indian Housing Authority February 1 One Time 427.1(33)
Industrial Property Tax February 1 One Time 427B.4
Low Rent Housing February 1 One Time 427.1(14)
Methane Gas Conversion Property February 1 One Time 427.1(29)
Mobile Home Park Shelter February 1 One Time 427.1(30)
Natural Conservation or Wildlife Areas February 1 Annual 427.1(22)
Native Prairie February 1 Annual 427.1(23)
Pollution Control February 1 One Time 427.1(19)
Recycling February 1 One Time 427.1(19)
Speculative Shell Building February 1 One Time 427.1(27)
Urban Revitalization February 1 One Time 404.4
Wetlands February 1 Annual 427.1(23)
Wildlife Habitat February 1 One Time 427.1(24)
Disabled Vet Homestead July 1 Annual 425.2
Homestead July 1 One Time 425.2
Military July 1 One Time 426A.13