Action Center

Send a Message: Let's Bee Honest About Property Taxes

There’s an honesty gap when it comes to property taxes. Local elected officials proudly saying they aren't increasing property tax rates. Does this mean your tax bill will stay the same too? Not likely. Their budgets ride the wave of increased assessments, and when that happens, people incorrectly blame the county assessor for larger tax bills.

Would you like to know how local budgets passed in March will impact the statement you get in August, so you can question the people who determine your tax bill? Most taxpayers would.

States across the country are wising up that local governments are passing budgets that drive up property taxes without the taxpayer understanding what’s going on. To remedy that, they have enacted direct notification measures.

What is Direct Notification?

It’s a simple concept, really. Once a taxing authority like a city, county, or school district has built its new budget, they have to tell each property owner what that budget would do to their tax bill and inform them of a public hearing's date, time, and location to discuss the increase. This practice has been in place in Utah since the 1980s, where it’s known as Truth-in-Taxation.

Howard Stephenson of the Utah Taxpayers Association describes it this way:

“While Truth-in-Taxation measures do not technically limit property taxes, it makes local elected officials think twice about increasing property tax rates because they know all citizens will be notified of the increase and its potential impact on their property. They also know that they will have to hold a public hearing where citizens can sound off about the proposed tax hike.”

Does it help? 

Citizens are told about the potential impact on their tax bill when there is still an opportunity for them to do something about it. 

There will be no more end-of-summer surprises pulled out of your mailbox. The taxpayer and their local elected officials will have a conversation when it actually matters.

How can Iowa get Direct Notification?

The State Legislature will need to pass a bill to enact Direct Notification. Use the form on this page to email your State Representative and Senator and tell them Iowa needs a strong direct notification measure.

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