Frequently Asked Questions
Doesn't the assessor raise my value according to the amount of taxes needed?
No, the Assessor raises or lowers the values of property according to the market value of real estate or in the case of agricultural land, according to productivity and CSR.
Assessments are set January 1st of each year, while the tax levies (tax rates) on these assessments are not set until July of the following year. (Example, the assessment notices from April 2021 were for the January 1, 2021 assessment. Tax levies for these values will be set in June of 2022 based on what the different taxing authorities budget in March and April 2022 for the next fiscal year of July 2022 - June 2023.)
The taxing authorities you pay property taxes to are listed at the bottom of your tax statement each year, along with their budget information and a breakdown of how much you are paying to each taxing body.
I disagree with my value. What can I do?
I would first recommend either looking at your property information on our Adair County Assessor website, or contacting our office, to see if we have everything listed correctly for your property. We will gladly provide a printout on your dwelling and/or buildings and explain how your value was determined. The Adair County Assessor's website is also a good place to find out how other comparable properties have sold.
If you still disagree with your value, there is an "Informal Agreement" period between April 2nd and April 25th. This process would involve a field appraiser coming out to look at your property to see if the value could possibly be adjusted so a formal protest with the Board of Review could be avoided. If an agreed upon value is reached, the Informal Agreement is signed by the aggrieved taxpayer and the value is changed for the current assessment year. This is merely an option; you may choose to go directly to the Board of Review with a timely filed, formal protest.
If no agreement can be made, or if you choose not to go this route, you may file a petition with the Adair County Board of Review. Petitions are available in the Assessor's Office or online at the county's website or the Iowa Department of Revenue's website. Petitions must be filed within the timeframe provided by the Code of Iowa. This is currently April 2nd to April 30th of any given year. The petitions are filed in the Assessor's Office.
The Board of Review will meet during the month of May. You may decide to have an oral hearing before the Board, or only decide to file your petition and submit any information you think is relevant to your petition. The Board will notify you by mail of their decision.
If you disagree with their decision, you may appeal within 20 days of the Board's adjournment, or May 31st, whichever is later. This date is usually May 31st. You may appeal to either the Property Assessment Appeal Board, or to Adair County District Court.
I own and farm 500 acres. Isn't there something I need to sign up for now?
You are probably thinking of the Family Farm Tax Credit. This was required to be signed up every year by October 15th until 2001. If you signed up in 2001 or after, you do not have to sign again. However, if you have acquired more agricultural land after you last signed up, you will need to sign an application for the newly acquired land. Applications can be filed anytime. However, those filed after November 1st will be applied to the next year.
I served in the military. Am I eligible for the Military Service Property Tax Exemption?
There have been a number of changes by the Legislature in recent years that have expanded the eligibility for the Military Exemption on property taxes. Individuals that may not have been eligible in the past may qualify now. Visit our Credits and Exemptions page for more information and/or contact the Veterans Affairs.
I signed up for Homestead and/or Military credit last year. Why isn’t it on my taxes? Do I need to sign again?
It will depend on when you signed the application. Applications must be signed on or before July 1st of the assessment year that you are first claiming the credit. If it is signed after July 1st, the credit is applied to the next assessment year.
Please remember that property taxes due are 18 months behind the current assessment year. For example, the current property taxes payable in September 2021 and March 2022 are calculated on the 2020 assessment year and values. If you signed up after July 1, 2020, but on or before July 1, 2021, your credit will be applied to the 2021 assessments on which the taxes will be calculated for the September 2022 and March 2023 payments. If you signed up after July 1, 2021, your credit will be applied to the 2022 assessments, which will be used for the September 2023 and March 2024 property taxes.
Homestead and military credits were at one time applied for every year. In the mid-1980s, this was changed to a one-time sign-up. However, you do still have to sign up if you move to another house, even if it is next door or across the street.
What are tax levies and assessed values?
There are a number of different taxing districts in a jurisdiction, each with a different levy. Each year the County Auditor determines for that district a levy that will yield enough money to pay for schools, police and fire protection, road maintenance, and other services budgeted for in that area. The tax levy is applied to each $1,000 of a property's taxable value.
The value determined by the assessor is the assessed value and is the value indicated on the assessment roll. The taxable value is the value determined by the auditor after application of state ordered "rollback" percentages for the various classes of property, with other properties always compare with the value on the assessment roll of the assessor's property record cards and not the value indicated on the tax statement.
What is a "rollback"?
The "rollback" is the percentage of actual value that is determined by the Director of Revenue and Finance each year on the several classes of property where the total value increase statewide, exceeds three percent for each class of property. The percentage so determined by the Director of Revenue and Finance is certified to and applied by the local County Auditor to all property in each class affected throughout the State. Percentages determined by the Director of Revenue and Finance are the same for all the assessing jurisdictions in the State.
Increases in assessed value of individual parcels of property, as determined by the Assessor, may exceed four percent within a jurisdiction. Agricultural property, except agricultural dwellings, are assessed on the basis of productivity and net earning capacity using a five-year crop average and capitalized at a rate set by the Legislature. The rate is currently seven percent. Tentative and final equalization orders are issued by the Director of Revenue and Finance in odd-numbered years on or about August 15 and October 1, respectively. The orders are sent to the various County Auditors who apply them to the classes of property affected if any.
Why do values change?
State 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 your assessment.
Auditor & Elections
Can I pick up or request a ballot for someone else?
No. In Iowa you can only request an absentee ballot for yourself.
Can I request an absentee ballot by email or fax?
Yes. You may request an absentee ballot via email or fax and a ballot will be mailed to you. However, in order for your ballot to be counted you must also mail in or drop off the original paper ballot request.
Can I use power of attorney to request a ballot for my spouse, child or parent?
No. Under Iowa law, power of attorney does not apply for all election related matters.
Can someone else return my absentee ballot for me?
The only people who may return a ballot for a voter are:
- someone living in the voter’s household
- an immediate family member
- a special precinct election official delivering a ballot for health care residents
- a delivery agent, in the case of a voter unable to return a ballot due to blindness or other disability
Do I need to sign the return envelope of my absentee ballot?
Yes! Your absentee ballot cannot be counted unless you have signed the affidavit envelope that you return your ballot in. If we receive a ballot back that has not been signed we will attempt to contact you to get this fixed. Once contacted, you may decide to either:
- Request a replacement ballot and return it by 8:00 p.m. on election day
- Vote at the polls on election day
- Sign the affidavit in person at the county auditor’s office by 8:00 p.m. on election day
Do absentee ballots even get counted?
Yes. There is a myth that absentee ballots only get counted if the election is close, however, this is not true. Under Iowa law, every ballot must be counted.
What is the last day I can turn in my absentee ballot?
You are allowed to hand deliver your ballot to the Auditor’s office up until the time the polls close on Election Day. If you return your ballot through the mail, your ballot must arrive by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, with exceptions for individuals in the Safe at Home program and military/overseas citizens. Learn more on our Absentee Voting page.
Can I get help marking my ballot?
Yes. If you need assistance filling out your ballot ask a poll worker for help. A team of one republican and one democrat will come over and help you mark your ballot. Also available in each polling location is a ballot marking device that will read you all of the choices and then print out your marked ballot.
Can I register to vote on Election Day?
Yes. Iowa law allows for Election Day registration if you are able to provide proof of identification (i.e. valid photo ID) and proof of residency (i.e. utility bill with your name on it if your ID has an outdated address on it). If you are unable to provide one or both of these you are allowed to bring someone with you to attest that you have the right to vote.
Can I take my absentee ballot to the polls on Election Day and vote there?
Yes. If you have not returned your absentee ballot you may go to your polling place on Election Day and vote a regular ballot.
Do I need to show ID to vote?
Beginning January 1, 2019, Iowa voters will be required to show a driver’s license, non-driver’s ID, passport, military ID, veterans ID, Tribal ID or Voter ID Card at the polls before they vote. Voters, starting in 2019, without an ID may cast a provisional ballot or have another registered voter attest to their identity.
I am already registered but my information needs updated; can I do that on Election Day?
Yes. While it is recommended that you update your information prior to Election Day to speed things up at the polls, you may wait and do so on Election Day. If you are updating your address just make sure you are going to the polling place for your new address. When updating your address you will now need to provide proof of identity and proof of residency.
I can't get out of my car; can someone bring me a ballot to vote from there?
Yes. If you are unable to go inside the polling place a team of election workers will be sent out to your car to help you vote.
I lost my absentee ballot; can I just go vote on Election Day?
Yes. When you go to vote, a poll worker will verify with the auditor’s office that your absentee ballot has not been returned. If it is confirmed that the auditor’s office has not received a ballot from you then you will be given a new ballot to vote there.
What do I need to bring with me to vote?
Starting in January of 2019 you will be required to show identification. If you need to register to vote on Election Day, you must bring proof of identification and proof of residency.
What if I lost my ID or forgot to take one with me to the polls?
Starting in 2019, if you do not have your ID with you, you may either cast a provisional ballot or have another registered voter attest to your identity. Learn more about provisional ballots and attesting on our Voter ID page.
What if I'm still waiting in line when the polls close?
So long as you are in line to vote at the time the polls close you will be allowed to vote.
What is a provisional ballot?
If a voter’s eligibility is in question on Election Day they are allowed to cast a provisional ballot. After the voter marks their ballot and returns it to the poll worker, the voter is required to provide the necessary identification or documentation at the polling place before it closes or provide it at the Auditor’s Office by noon on the following Monday. If the canvass will be held earlier than the following Monday, the identification must be provided before the canvass.
If it is determined that you do have the right to vote in the precinct in which you voted, your ballot will then be counted and included in the final vote total.
Can I get a new ballot if I make a mistake or lose my ballot?
Yes. If you make a mistake on an absentee ballot mark your return envelope “Spoiled” and return it to the Auditor’s office either by mail or in person. If you return it by mail contact the Auditor’s office to be sent a new one.
On Election Day if you make a mistake on your ballot, return it to the poll worker to receive a new one. You are allowed up to three ballots so don’t make too many mistakes!
Can I vote for someone that is not on the ballot?
Yes. For each race on the ballot, a line is provided for you to write-in the name of someone for whom you wish to vote for. Make sure you color in the oval!
Can an independent vote in a primary election?
Yes and No. In Iowa, you must be a member of a political party (in 2020: Republican and Democrat) to vote in a primary election. However, anyone* can change parties on Election Day and vote. For independents to vote they must declare a political party.
*Precinct election officials may not change political parties within 30 days of an election.
Do I have to vote for everything on the ballot?
No. You can vote for as much or as little as you would like; it’s all up to you!
If I change my mind on who I want to vote for after I have returned my ballot, can I get a new one?
No. If you have already returned your absentee ballot to the Auditor’s office you may not request a new ballot if you have changed your mind on who you wish to vote for.
If I chose a party do I have to vote for all of their candidates?
It depends on the election. In primary elections, you can only vote for candidates from the party to which you belong. In general elections, you are free to vote for anyone you like, regardless of their party affiliation.
What if I don't have an ID?
Registered voters who do not have an Iowa driver’s license or non-operator’s ID were issued a voter ID card. Voter ID cards must be signed before going to the polls. The new voter ID card will contain a PIN number that will be used for voting purposes. If you should have a voter ID card and do not, please contact our office to have one sent to you.
What is Voter ID?
Starting in 2019, voters must provide an ID when going to vote. Voters who do not have ID will be allowed to either cast a provisional ballot or have another registered voter attest to their identification. Learn more about provisional ballots and attesting on our Voter ID page.
There are 6 approved types of identification that may be used:
- an Iowa Driver’s License or Non-Operator ID
- a Voter ID issued by the Secretary of State or the Auditor’s Office
- a current US Passport
- a US Military ID
- a US Veteran’s ID
- a Tribal ID
Where do I vote?
Where you vote is determined by where you live and you must vote in the precinct to which you are assigned for your ballot to be counted. To find your polling place please visit the Polling Places page on our website.
Can I update my voter registration over the phone?
No. All updates to voter registration must be made in writing or online through the Iowa DOT if you have an Iowa driver’s license.
Can a homeless person register to vote?
Yes. Any eligible voter in Iowa may register to vote. Because many of those who are homeless have a nontraditional address they just need to provide an address or description of where they sleep the most, wherever that may be.
Can someone with a previous felony conviction vote?
Those with a prior felony conviction are only permitted to vote if their voting rights have been restored by the Governor, including through Executive Order. For more information about restoration of rights, contact the Governor’s office or visit the voter registration page on our website.
Do I have to register to vote for every election?
No. You would only need to re-register if your information has changed and you need to update it.
How do I update my address?
If you have moved recently and need to update your address for voting, all you have to do is fill out a new voter registration form and submit it to the Auditor’s office. If you do not update your address after a move through a new voter registration form and do not vote in the next general election, you will be marked inactive (inactive voters may still vote with proper ID). Registration will be canceled if two more general elections pass with no voter activity.
I just registered and received a card in the mail but there is a mistake on it; what do I do now?
If you notice a mistake on your voter card please contact the Auditor’s Office and/or submit a new registration form to correct your information.
I registered as an independent; why does my card say "NP" or "No Party"?
Iowa does not recognize an “independent” party. Instead, “No Party” is used to indicate a lack of affiliation with a political party.
When can I renew my driver’s license?
You can renew up to 180 days before and 60 days after your expiration date. If you are over expired you will have to retest.
How much will my license cost?
An operator’s license is $4 per year.
A CDL is $8 per year.
I lost my driver's license, how can I get a new one?
Call our office at 641-743-2312 to make an appointment to replace your license.
How much will an ID cost?
An ID costs $8 and is good for 8 years. The same documents are needed to get an ID as getting a driver's license.
I got my license renewed but the expiration only shows it’s good for one month?
Yes, the paper license expires in 30 days. Your real plastic license should arrive in the mail within that time frame. If it has not arrived in 30 days, please call the number on the back of the paper copy to see if it has been returned to them, if they can track it for you, or if they can give us permission to reissue.
Can I schedule a driving test?
We do driving tests on Tuesday and Thursday mornings by appointment only. We do not do CDL or motorcycle drive tests.
For a CDL driving test, Visit the Iowa DOT website to schedule an appointment.
What is the phone and fax number to the DOT?
Fax : 515-239-1837
What does my child need to take their permit test?
They will need their birth certificate, social security card, and a parent with them. If the parent cannot be present, they will need to bring in a signed parent affidavit form.
How does my child get a school permit?
They must have taken driver's education and held their permit for 6 months with no accidents or citations. They will need to fill out a Minor School Affidavit and have it signed by their principal. Most schools have these at their disposal.
My child drives to their other parent's house every other week. Can we put two addresses on their school permit?
Yes, as long as they are the parents. No other address can be put on the form. No address out of the school district is allowed. Put the second address under “Additional address that student intends to drive from" on the Minor School Affidavit.
I’m 16, what do I need to do to get my license?
You will need to bring in a parent and your current permit. You must have taken driver's ed, held a permit for one year, and have a clean driving record for the past six months.
I’m 17, what do I need to do to get my full license?
You will need to bring in a parent to sign if you are under 18. You must have held the intermediate license for a year with a clean record. After you turn 18, those requirements are no longer needed.
How can I pay vehicle registrations?
For vehicle registrations, you can do that:
- on the Iowa Treasurers website
- at the counter or
- by mail
Do I have to have an appointment?
Depending on what you need to do. If you are only needing to renew your registration(s), turn in plates for refunds, swap out for vanity plates, or do a title transfer you do NOT need an appointment.
Driver’s License is the only department within the Treasurer’s office that requires appointments.
If paying registration online, where can I find my PIN?
Your PIN is specific to you and should not change so you can use it from year to year. The PIN is located on your renewal notice in the top right-hand corner. If you cannot find it, you can contact our office at 641-743-2312.
Can I put a vehicle title into someone else’s name?
Yes. The new owner does not need to be present at the time of transfer. However, the new owner will have to have the appropriate forms completed beforehand. If you are transferring a title on behalf of another person, you may download Form 411007 from the Iowa DOT website. They must complete and sign this form.
How do I get a replacement title?
- Download Form 411033 from the Iowa DOT website.
There is a 5-day waiting period if the original title is lost. (If the original has been altered or spoiled in some way, please submit the original title to us with Form 411033 and we will process a replacement title in the same day.)
Anybody whose name is on the face of the title MUST sign the replacement application.
The replacement title must be ordered where the title was made (county specific). The fee is $25.00.
How do I order personalized/vanity license plates?
Most personalized license plates can be ordered online on the Iowa DOT website.
How do I get a salvage title vehicle inspected?
You must complete the inspection form on the DOT website and then contact the sheriff’s office to schedule an inspection with them.
Questions about abandoned vehicles?
Visit the Iowa DOT website for more information.
When are property taxes due?
Because we run on a fiscal year and not a calendar year:
- First half taxes are September 1st, delinquent October 1
- Second half taxes are due March 1st, delinquent April 1
How can we pay taxes?
You may pay by any of the following convenient ways:
- Through the mail. Postmark must be by September 30 for the first half payment and March 31 for the second half payment to avoid penalty.
- In our office at the Courthouse from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Online through the Iowa Treasurer's website. You must have the 5-digit receipt number located on your tax statement available.
When do I receive my property tax billing/statement?
Taxes are billed every fall and statements typically go out in the mail in mid-late August.
Where can I find my receipt number to pay taxes online?
Your receipt number is printed on your statement. If you need assistance finding your receipt number please call our office at 641-743-2312.
Where do I file for homestead credit?
Almost all credits are applied for through the Assessor's Office.*
*The one we handle is the elderly/disabled credit which is a paper that has to be completed each year. It is due by June 1st and you’re qualified based on yearly household income.
What is the penalty if property taxes are paid late?
1.5% penalty is assessed per month after the due date.
What and when is a tax sale?
The tax sale is the sale of any unpaid property taxes within the county as of the first part of June. The tax sale is held electronically on the third Monday in June.
How do I receive assistance from the Adair County Veterans Affairs office?
Please call the office at 641-743-2656 or stop by to make an appointment.
How do I apply for a military property tax exemption?
Your DD214 must be recorded at the Adair County Recorder's office. Once that step is completed, you can apply at the Adair County Assessor's office or the Adair County Veterans Affairs office.
How do I know if I'm eligible for veteran status?
Please bring a copy of your DD214 to our office, and we will assist.
How do I qualify for aid and attendance?
You must have served during a wartime period of service.
Contact our office at 641-743-2656 for federally recognized wartime dates.
How do I receive a copy of my DD-214/discharge paperwork, service records, and/or medals?
Please call us at 641-743-2656 to make an appointment with us.
How do I upgrade my discharge status?
Please bring a copy of your DD-214 to our office, and we will assist you.
What are the eligibility requirements for Guard and Reserves for Veterans Benefits?
Please contact our office at 641-743-2656 for review of your discharge paperwork.
What is the difference between pension and compensation?
Pension is an income-based program with federal wartime service requirements. Compensation is based on a service-connected injury or illness sustained or aggravated while on duty.
What is the difference between survivors' pension and widows' DIC?
Survivors' pension is for the widows of wartime veterans that would qualify for pension. Widows' DIC is for widows of veterans who die of a service connectable disability.
What is the process to have "veteran" on my driver's license?
Please bring a copy of your DD214 to our office, and we will assist.
What makes a veteran eligible for the VA hospital?
Veterans are eligible by meeting income guidelines, having Active-Duty Service status, or a service-connected rating of 10% or higher.
Where do I apply for Veteran License Plates?
Please bring in a copy of your DD214 to our office, and we will assist.