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Tax Abatement Information

What is Tax Abatement?

A temporary reduction in property taxes over a specified period of time on the portion of assessed value added by new construction, or improvements to an existing structure.  The City of Des Moines tax abatement program encourages new construction and rehabilitation of existing structures through property tax incentives.

The City Council has adopted the tax abatement program to stimulate community revitalization, improve existing housing stock, retain and attract City residents and homeowners to the City of Des Moines, and to reduce development costs for high quality commercial and industrial projects.

Tax abatement is available to both homeowners and developers. Most work must be completed under a permit(s) issued by the City of Des Moines Permit and Development Center and have all necessary inspections conducted.  The property must be located in the City of Des Moines and must be connected to public sanitary sewer.  Contact the Permit and Development Center at 515-283-4200 if you wish to inquire about the type of work that requires permits.

New construction, additions, major rehabilitation and remodeling improvements generally increase the assessed value.  Repairs generally do not increase the assessed value unless several major repairs are completed at the same time.

The Polk County Assessor’s Office determines the actual abatement amount based on the type of improvements. There may be an increase or decrease in taxes during the abatement period when voted changes in tax rates, special assessments, or reassessments reflecting neighborhood trends take effect.

Abatement terms and rates vary depending on the project and schedule. A schedule of tax abatement terms and rates for project types is included in each application found at the links below.

For further information, contact 515-283-4200 or

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General Tax Abatement Information3 documents

  • Tax Abatement FAQ
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  • Tax Abatement Program Changes Presentation
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  • Tax Abatement Programs
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Residential Tax Abatement3 documents

  • 2019 Residential Tax Abatement Application
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  • Targeted Residential Area Tax Abatement Map
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  • Multi-Family Tax Abatement Eligibility Map
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Commercial Tax Abatement7 documents

  • 2019 Commercial Tax Abatement Application
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  • Commercial Tax Abatement Acknowledgement Form
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  • Commercial Tax Abatement Design Standards
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  • Downtown Overlay District Map
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  • Eastern Gateway Area Requirements (with map)
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  • Court Avenue Area Requirements (with map)
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  • Historic Fort Des Moines Archaeological Requirements (with map)
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