Higher Sales Tax for Some Iowa Communities

Jul 1, 2016

Shoppers in parts of Warren and Taylor counties will be paying an extra penny of sales tax starting today.

In March, voters in several communities in Warren County approved the new one-cent tax known as the local option sales tax or LOST.

The vote covers portions of the cities of Des Moines and West Des Moines that reach into Warren County.   

Victoria Daniels at the Iowa Department of Revenue says the tax isn't in effect elsewhere in those larger communities.

“So in Warren county if you happen to reside in West Des Moines or Des Moines  in  Warren County you're going to pay the local option sales tax,” Daniels said. “But if you purchase something in Des Moines or West Des Moines in  Polk County, you will  not have the local option sales tax imposed.”

Voters in Indianola, Carlisle, and other communities approved the tax in March.   It will pay for some city services that would otherwise be covered by property taxes.  

In Taylor County, in tiny Blockton, population 192, voters approved the new tax which will be used for street repairs.    

“The municipality has to have a revenue purpose statement that goes with their initiative to pass a local option sales tax,” Daniels says.   “And then they have to stick with that purpose with the use of the funds.”

Voters in several communities in Buena Vista County voted to remove the sunset on the tax so it will be collected into the future, unless there’s another vote.

Statewide, the extra penny of tax is the rule rather than the exception.

“If you look at a map of the state of Iowa the vast majority of counties have imposed the local option sales tax in the entire county,” Daniels said.