Thousands of commercial property owners in Iowa face an important deadline in five weeks, as they have to submt an application for the new tax credit Iowa policymakers have established.

“Just like when you first buy your house, you have to apply for the homestead credit, this is the first time that you’re going to be eligible for the commercial property tax credit and you have to apply,” says Iowa Department of Revenue director Kay-Decker, “and it’s by January 15th.”

Some counties have the applications available online, which others require commercial property owners to submit paper forms.

“Each county is doing it slightly differently, because it’s local government,” Kay-Decker says.

Commercial property owners who fail to meet that January 15 deadline will have to wait another year to apply for the credit.  The governor and legislators hammered out a deal this spring which would reduce commercial property tax rates in Iowa by 10 percent within three years, but the plan also created a new property tax credit for commercial property. Counties will get $50 million from the state to create that tax credit at the local level.  That means math must be done to calculate how to divvy up that money and determine how much the credit will be worth to each individual commercial property owner.

“So we’re working on software between the Department of Revenue and all of local governments which involves not only the assessors…but also the treasurers and the auditors to come up with how to do it, the technology to do it,” she says. “We’re, in fact, testing right now.”

That computer software is being tested today by officials in each of the 99 counties as well as the Iowa Department of Revenue.  Kay-Decker says commercial property owners will find out in August or September how much of a credit they’ll receive.