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Application Instructions for Assessors

Local Government Responsibilities Under SF 295 (pdf)

Business Property Tax Credit Instructions:

Deadline:

  • Beginning July 1, 2016, applications are due by midnight July 1 for the same assessment year (example: July 1, 2016 for Assessment Year 2016).
  • Applications may be received through various methods including but not limited to, email, fax, photo, photocopy, and mail.

Reapplication: Property transfers or changes in ownership require reapplication for the credit. Reapplications must be submitted by the property owner. The county is not required to give the prior owner a notice of transfer because the disallowance of the credit is mandatory upon transfer of the property.  The date signifying the transfer of ownership for the BPTC is the Instrument Date on the Auditor’s Transfer List.

Multiresidential Property: If a commercial, industrial, or multiresidential property is now dual classed, only the commercial or industrial portion is eligible for the BPTC. 

Approval Process: Assessors recommend approval of the applications for credit for qualifying units, as well as applications the assessor recommends are not to be approved. These are submitted to the County Supervisors by the Auditor for final approval.  Applications that are not approved are to receive written notice describing why the credit was not approved. Taxpayers may appeal the Board decision to District Court. Local Government Responsibilities Under SF 295.(pdf)

Application Issues:

One application with multiple parcels that comprise more than one unit: For applications that contain multiple parcels and comprise more than one unit, the assessor should determine how many units are involved and approve the appropriate number of units based on what was included in the application.  The taxpayer technically has applied for these units, even if they are on one rather than several application forms.

One application with multiple parcels where some parcels do not qualify for the credit: For applications where some of the parcels do not qualify for the credit, but some of the parcels do qualify,  the parcels that qualify should be approved and the remaining parcels that do not qualify should be denied. The denied parcels should then be submitted to the board of supervisors for the appropriate denial notification.

Multiple applications with single parcels that must be combined to comprise a unit: For applications that are received containing a single parcel that should be combined  with others to make up a unit, the assessor should combine the parcels into the appropriate unit.  When this happens, one application should be approved by the board of supervisors for the property unit, and the remaining applications must be submitted to the board for a denial recommendation and subsequent appropriate notification to the claimant.

Applications: An application for a credit on a parcel that is part of a property unit must be an application for a credit on the entire unit. Iowa Code § 426C.4(1)(a) states  each eligible parcel receives one credit, “unless the parcel is part of a property unit for which a credit is claimed.”  Some have interpreted this provision to allow a person to claim a credit for individual parcels within a property unit as long as no one claims a credit for the entire unit.  However, the Code states “[a] person may claim and receive one credit under this chapter for each property unit.”  Id.  Allowing a credit on only a portion of a property unit could result in a property unit receiving more than one credit.  Such a result is contrary to the plain language of the statute.  See Kay-Decker v. Iowa State Bd. of Tax Review, 857 N.W.2d 216, 223 (Iowa 2014) (“we must read a statute as a whole and give it its plain and obvious meaning, a sensible and logical construction” (citation omitted)).  Therefore, an application for a credit on a parcel that is part of a property unit must be an application for a credit on the entire unit. 

Removal of BPTC: A credit must be removed from a parcel or property unit if the parcel or property unit ceases to qualify for the credit.  An owner may request the removal of a credit from a property at any time. 

There is nothing in the Code that addresses the removal of the credit without transfer or without the property ceasing to qualify for the credit by some other means.  (See id. § 426C.3, subsections (3),(7).)  Nonetheless, the credit is not mandatory, and there is nothing in the Code that prevents an owner from requesting the credit be removed from his property or prevents the local government from honoring the request.  (See id. § 426C.3.)

Parcels of Vacant Land: These should be classed based on the primary use of any parcel the vacant land is being used in conjunction with.