Filing Iowa Returns
Sellers: When you register, you will choose a "model" under which to file. A seller may file on paper only if certain qualifications are met.
Model 1 Certified Service Providers (CSPs) are expected to file the Simplified Electronic Return (SER) on a monthly basis.
Model 2 and 3 sellers are expected to file the Simplified Electronic Return (SER) on a monthly basis.
Model 4 sellers have the option of filing the SER Iowa eFile & Pay or filing the paper Iowa Streamlined Return (pdf). The Iowa Streamlined Return has a format very similar to the SER. This form is fillable online, but must be printed and mailed to the Department at Sales/Use Tax Processing, Iowa Department of Revenue, PO Box 10412, Des Moines IA 50306-0412.
Model 4 sellers who are required to file in Iowa (have a physical presence in Iowa) must file monthly returns.
In addition, any Streamlined registrant who also has or will have active hotel/motel or auto rental permits must file quarterly schedules and make remittances for those respective taxes. The Department will inform you how to proceed upon registration.
eFile & Pay Filing of Simplified Electronic Returns (SERs)
Separate testing and certification for sellers and CSPs is not required prior to filing. A Web services solution to filing SERs is being analyzed, but is not yet available for Model 4 Filers. Instructions for both posting transactions and downloading acknowledgements posted by the Iowa Department of Revenue (IDR), as well as the link to Iowa’s HTTPS location, will be available here soon.
Whether filing a SER eFile & Pay or a paper Streamlined Return, the due date is the 20th day of the month following the tax period end. For example, a return for the month of November is due December 20th. All Model 1, 2 and 3 registrants are expected to file the SER. Model 4 retailers have the option to file either the SER eFile & Pay or Iowa’s paper Streamlined Return (pdf).
Iowa uses standard FIPS codes. It does not use the composite jurisdiction code concept.
Payment Handling and Acceptance
Payments are due on the 20th day of the month as follows:
- A payment to satisfy a return liability is due at the same time the return is due, which is the 20th day of the month following the end of the return period.
- For those sellers who are required to pay twice per month (Iowa sales tax liability of $30,000 or more in the preceding calendar year), the payment for the first half of the month is due on the 20th of that month (for example, a payment for the first half of November is due on November 20th). This is true whether filed separately or as a pre-payment on the prior month’s return. The payment for the second half of the month is due at the same time as the return, the 20th day of the month following the return period.
EFT Registration is needed for ACH credit. Complete the Iowa EFT Authorization Form (pdf) to initiate this process. You will then be provided with the bank information and instructions you need to begin ACH credit payments. If you have questions, e-mail or call 1.800.338.4692.
Iowa accepts FedWire as its same day payment option. It is not a standard payment option, but rather an emergency option when other payment methods are not available.
Prepayments (for those who are required to pay twice per month – tax liability of $30,000 or more in the prior calendar year) can be made either on the SER Iowa eFile & Pay or (Model 4 only) Iowa’s paper Streamlined Return. Prepayments made after the due date are subject to penalty and interest.
Overpayments will be processed in the form of a refund. No special refund request is required.
At this point, Iowa has no specific error codes in addition to the error codes set by the Central Registration System. Error codes for transactions have not yet been established.
Acknowledgments for both registrations and transactions will be provided within three working days.
Transmission file size limits: At this point Iowa has not established a maximum file size limitation.
Special Tax Districts: Iowa has established Special Tax Districts for two conditions:
- The unincorporated areas of each of the 99 Iowa counties. These are identified with FIPS codes beginning with 98, followed by the three digit FIPS county code (for examples, 98001 identifies the unincorporated area of Adair County, while 99001 is the standard FIPS designation for Adair County).
- Cities existing in more than one county: 45 cities exist in two counties and 4 cities exist in three counties. A total of 102 special tax districts were created to properly identify these city/county combinations, beginning at FIPS code 98201.