Freedom of Information Guidelines
Every citizen has the right to examine and copy public records, including information stored or preserved by a state agency, unless its disclosure is specifically prohibited by law.
Iowa's Fair Information Practices Act requires that the Iowa Department of Revenue inform the public about our use of the information that is compiled as a result of our normal business operations, how we use this information, and how the public can gain access to public records.
Access to Information
As part of its tax financial responsibilities, the Iowa Department of Revenue collects many types of information. Much of the information concerns individual and business financial matters or other personal information.
This type of information is generally required to be kept confidential, and access by individual members of the public to confidential information is extremely limited. However, in most situations, individuals and businesses may have access to confidential records about themselves.
The Department also keeps records that are not confidential. Access to these open records is possible upon request.
A listing of public and confidential record systems can be found in Chapter 5 of the Department's rules of the Iowa Administrative Code. Since the list is extensive, it is not given here. In order to examine or obtain any available information, contact Taxpayer Services to be transferred to the office or division that keeps the information. Chapter 5 can be found in our tax research library under General Administrative Provisions > Rules and Regulations.
Please note: The Lottery is not a division of the Iowa Department of Revenue. The Lottery collects information about individuals and businesses that apply for licenses to act as Lottery retailers, to supply goods or services to the Lottery, or to claim Lottery prizes. The Lottery also collects information from members of the public to conduct research projects.
Following is a partial list of the types of information that may be released upon request:
- Whether or not a taxpayer has filed a tax return
- Information concerning licenses and permits: name and/or address of a person or business holding a tax permit, date the tax permit was issued, permit number
- A copy of the tax permit application (Department notations are removed.)
- The amount of any unpaid sales, use, or hotel/motel tax, but released only to those having a legitimate interest
- Information shown on tax liens filed with a county recorder
- Distress warrants given to sheriffs
- Department Tax Review Committee findings
- Orders of the Department administrative law judge and Director
- Court decisions
- Inheritance tax appraisal reports filed with the clerk of court
- Declarations of property values
- Sales tax mailing list
- Assessment protest files (Taxpayer may request that certain information be deleted.)
- Information granted via power of attorney
Use of Information
The information retained by the Department is needed to:
- Complete, correct, or process tax returns
- Figure tax due
- Collect tax, interest, and penalties
- Carry out other administrative duties
Correction of Records
Taxpayers who feel that the Department's records contain information that is in error or that needs further explanation have a right to file amended forms or to put a written statement in the record explaining the discrepancy.
Routine Information Sharing
As required by law, the Department routinely provides information from tax forms and other records to certain individuals outside the Department. Confidential information is only shared under circumstances when confidentiality is maintained.
Information routinely shared with others includes:
- Income tax refund or rebate amounts are compared against child support debts assigned to the Iowa Department of Human Services.
- Relevant information is exchanged with the College Aid Commission or other state governments with reciprocal agreements and similar offset laws in order to set off refunds and rebates against defaults on guaranteed student or parental loans.
- Refunds or rebates may be used to set off any debt which is in the form of a sum due, owing, and payable to the clerk of courts as criminal fines, civil penalties, surcharges, or court costs.
- Information is exchanged when reciprocity agreements are in effect with other states and with the United States Internal Revenue Service.
- Collection agencies are given limited information when they are under contract to collect delinquent taxes, penalties, and interest on behalf of the Department.
- Financial accounting records are shared with the Department of Management, Auditor of State, Fiscal Bureau, and other departments.
- Any payment by the State of Iowa can be used to offset obligations owed to the State. Relevant information is used in the administration of certain debt offset programs.
- Payroll records are shared with the Iowa Department of Personnel, Department of Employment Services, and Iowa Public Employees Retirement System.
Required Information on Forms and on Records
Department forms and records are usually designed so that only required information is requested. If information is left to the discretion of the person completing the form, the directions will say so.
If information required by statute or administrative rule is not provided or is fraudulently provided, civil or criminal penalties authorized by law or the loss of benefits, privileges, awards, licenses, or prizes provided may result. It may also result in delays associated with the processing of licenses, awards, prizes, refunds, or other payments by the Department.
For answers to your tax questions, contact:
Iowa Department of Revenue
PO Box 10457
Des Moines, IA 50306
515-281-3114 or 1-800-367-3388
If you request confidential tax information by email
After writing your question, please give us a name and daytime phone number. If your question is complex, we may need to call you. Our response to your request may include confidential tax information; however, in no case will an email include Federal Tax Information.
To protect your privacy, you must authorize the Department of Revenue to transmit this confidential information via email.
The Department will respond to a request for confidential information only after you authorize us to do so by answering the following three questions:
- Do you authorize the Iowa Department of Revenue to email confidential information you may request?
- To what email address do you want us to send confidential information?
- Do you acknowledge that email transmissions are not always secure?