Business property tax credit offeredDeadline to apply for state program is Jan. 15 at the assessor’s office
It was mid-November 2013 when the Washington County Assessor’s office began sending out about 1,000 completed forms for one of the state’s latest tax credit programs. This morning, with a week left before deadline, about half had been returned and the office has started on its second 3-inch binder to hold the forms.
Assessor Christy Tinnes said today that her office has a computer program, which allows the new Business Property Tax Credit forms to be prepared for applicants to the point where they only have to sign and date the form and return it to the assessor’s office. Tinnes said that her office has been getting phone calls recently from people with business property inquiring about whether their property qualifies to be part of the program.
“We have just been telling people to send their forms in,” she said. “The worst that can happen is that their property doesn’t qualify for it.”
The best that can happen is that the applicant may be one of the Iowa business property owners to share in $50 million that the state has set aside for applicants. Early state estimates are that this year’s credit — on property $33,000 and over — will be about $513. The credit increases next year so business property with a value of up to $105,000 may get up to $1,385 in tax credit. The following year, property with a value of up to $144,000 may get up to $1,930 worth of credit. The deadline for this tax year is Jan. 15 for the application to be in to the county assessor’s office.
Ed Raber, director of the Washington Economic Development Group, has been promoting participation in the credit program. He said that just because a business property doesn’t meet the maximum value for the program, it doesn’t mean the business will get no credit. He said that the state has funded $50 million this year and the money will be divided among the qualifying businesses that apply.
There are many similarities between the new credit program and the existing Homestead Tax Credit. The applicant only needs to apply once to get the credit. Whatever the tax credit is — it changes from year to year — is what the applicants get. The credit is only for business and industrial property and does not include residential property or agricultural property.
He also said the important thing is for business owners who have received the application to sign and return it. He said that it doesn’t even have to be a business owner, but could be a representative of the business.
Raber said that he hadn’t seen much information about the program in area media since the new credit program was signed into law.
“This is the major business property tax reduction that took years to make its way through the Legislature,” he said. “Finally, they come to a compromise and you never hear about it.”