Iowa is the 30th most populous state with 3,107,215 residents based upon the last census, and 26th most extensive in area with 56,270 square miles. ts capital city is Des Moines. Iowa continues to be an agriculturally dominated state despite increases in manufacturing, information technology, financial services and green energy.
Iowa gets the focus of the nation every four years because the Iowa caucuses are the first presidential caucuses in the nation. Despite the candidates or political parties, many people believe these caucuses to be key indicators of not only party nominations but the presidential election as a whole.
Iowa, as I said, is still highly dominated by agriculture with hogs, corn, soybeans, cattle, eggs, dairy and oats. All are major sources of the state’s gross production. Major agricultural companies in Iowa include Monsanto, Quaker Oats, Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill and Heartland Port. Additional producers include Tyson Foods, Heinz, Blue Bunny and ConAgra Foods. I appreciate that Iowa is part of our U.S. Corn Belt and works hard to feed the rest of us and that they are a 'barometer' for presidential elections, but I really don't ever give much thought to Iowa for one reason.
You see, I simply cannot get over one of the great losses in my life which served as a tremendous shock for a budding teenager wannabe. That shock was ‘the day the music died1.’ On a cold snowy night, just outside the little town of Clear Lake, Iowa, three of the greatest Rock-n-roll stars of ALL time died in a small plane crash just moments after taking off from the airport. J.P. ‘the Big Bopper’ Richardson, Ritchie Valens, and Buddy Holly departed for Rock-n-roll heaven on February 3, 1959, but with their loss my roller-skating days and nights were never the same. I grew up wondering why my favorite rocksters were even in Iowa, much less trying to fly out of it on a "snowy snowy night."
- There are more public road miles in Iowa than there are interstate miles in the entire U.S.
- There are more than 24,660 bridges in Iowa; 2,664 of them are wooden bridge structures. Originally, Madison County had 19 covered bridges; only 6 remain today.
- The state’s east and west borders are made up wholly of rivers (the Missouri and Mississippi).
- Kalona is the largest Amish community west of the Mississippi River.
- Elk Horn is the largest Danish settlement in the U.S.
- Famous folks who hail from Iowa include actor John Wayne, actress Donna Reed, musician and band leader Glenn Miller, and former U.S. president Herbert Hoover.
- Fenlon Place Elevator in Dubuque is the world’s steepest (and shortest) railway.
- Cornell College is the only school in the U.S. to have its entire campus listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- The Winnebago name for campers and motorhomes comes from Winnebago County, Iowa, where the recreational vehicles are manufactured.
About Sales Tax and this Series:
Thanks to Avalara, the 'tax people', this article is one in a 50 part series covering sales tax issues associated with each and every state tax jurisdiction in the United States. We have been publishing a "Sales Tax Tuesday" article every week this year.
Sales tax provides critical revenue for states as well as many counties and cities. Other than property and income tax, sales tax is the largest source of tax revenue in the majority of the 46 states that collect it. From a government perspective, making sure every sales tax dollar is collected, through audits, fines, penalties rates and rules, is an exercise for income. It’s easy to be lured into a false sense of compliance when it comes to sales tax, this series is intended to insure that you are aware of the key sales tax facts for YOUR state.
Note: For sales tax definitions and essentials check out the opening article to this series.
Sales Tax Facts:
- Iowa’s state sales tax rate is 6%.
- Depending on local municipalities, the tax rate can be as high at 7%.
- Imposes sales tax on the retail sale of all tangible personal property unless specifically exempted by Iowa law.
- Conversely, only specifically enumerated services are subject to sales tax, which means only those services specified by Iowa law.
- Iowa is a destination sourcing state. This means that sales tax is based on the location of the buyer, not the seller.
- Iowa is a member of Streamlined Sales Tax (SST). Iowa has one sales tax holiday in August for clothing and footwear.
- Iowa is proposed expanding its sale tax exemption for manufacturers to include machinery and equipment that was previously considered to be real property and not eligible for the exemption. If adopted, the new policy would take effect January 1, 2016 and could reduce the sales tax burden on manufacturers by up to $6 million annually.
- Iowa assesses a use tax for the use, storage, or consumption of something in a state, regardless of where the purchase was made. For example, if you buy a computer while visiting a state that doesn't charge sales tax, you may still need to pay a use tax when you bring it home to Iowa.
- Under Iowa law, contractors are considered consumers of building supplies and may not seek an exemption for resale. In other words, contractors must pay tax when they purchase building supplies and cannot charge their clients that sales tax.
Did You Know?
You tube tax-free. Iowa residents are exempted from paying use tax on control units that operate catheters. Hey, you have to draw the line somewhere, right?
Squash that law. Iowa used to charge sales tax on pumpkins, but farmers balked so now the state only taxes inedible gourds.
Manual sales and use tax management is prone to error and consumes staff time in pass-through rather than revenue-generating activities. Avalara provides solutions for sales tax automation, including tax calculation, exemption certificate management, returns processing and 1099 filing and reporting. Automation via AvaTax allows businesses to be fully sales tax compliant without sacrificing productivity.
1- Lyrics adapted from 'American Pie" by Don McLean, 1971.