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Iowa Sales Tax Guide for Businesses

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We wrote this guide for online sellers who want to know if they even have to bother with sales tax in Iowa, and if so, how best to tackle the sales tax situation in the Hawkeye State.

After reading this, you’ll know:

  • Do you or don’t you need to collect Iowa sales tax?
  • Which customers do you collect from?
  • How much do you collect?
  • What do you do with all the sales tax you’ve collected?
  • Way more than you probably ever wanted to know about Iowa sales tax!

Do you have sales tax nexus in Iowa?

Good news! You only have to begin thinking about Iowa sales tax if you have sales tax nexus in Iowa.

“Sales tax nexus” is just a fancy way of saying “significant presence” in a state.

Iowa considers a seller to have sales tax nexus in the state if you have any of the following in the state:

  • An office, warehouse, distribution house or place of business
  • An employee, contractor or other representative in Iowa, either temporarily or permanently
  • Installs property it sold in Iowa
  • A construction contractor performs a job in Iowa
  • Regularly engages in delivery of products to Iowa

You can click here to read exactly what the Iowa Department of Revenue (Iowa’s taxing authority) has to say about what constitutes sales tax nexus in Iowa.

Is what you’re selling even taxable?

You’ve probably read this far because you realized you have sales tax nexus in Iowa. Your next step is to determine if what you’re selling is even taxable.

Services in Iowa may be taxable. You can find a list of taxable services in Iowa here.

Tangible products are taxable in Iowa , with a few exceptions. These exceptions include certain foods and items used in agriculture or manufacturing. You can see a list of tax-exempt items in Iowa here.

If you have sales tax nexus in Iowa and your products are taxable, your next step is to register for a sales tax permit.

How to Register for a Sales Tax Permit in Iowa

Sellers with sales tax nexus in Iowa must apply for an Iowa sales tax permit.

Don’t skip this step! Many states consider it unlawful to collect sales tax in their name without a permit. Go here for more on how to register for a sales tax permit in Iowa.

How to Collect Sales Tax in Iowa

So you’ve determined that you have sales tax nexus in Iowa and what you’re selling is taxable. And you’re all set and registered for your Iowa sales tax permit.

The next step is to determine how much sales tax to collect.

Iowa is a destination-based sales tax state. If your business is based in Iowa, you would charge sales tax at the rate of your buyer’s ship-to location.

Example: You live and run your business in Iowa City, IA where the sales tax rate is the 6% state rate with no added local rates, but you sell to a customer in Dubuque, IA. The sales tax rate in Dubuque is made up of the 6% Iowa sales tax rate plus the 1% Dubuque County rate for a total of 7%. Since Iowa is a destination-based sales tax state you would charge your buyer the 7% sales tax rate due to where they are located.

But if you are not based in Iowa but happen to have sales tax nexus there for some reason, you are considered a “remote seller.” Remote sellers are only required to collect “use tax.” (Use tax is similar to sales tax, but collected by out-of-state sellers.) Iowa’s use tax rate is a flat 6%.

You can look up your local sales tax rate by going to on your mobile device or look up any sales tax rate by zip code by going to with TaxJar’s Sales Tax Calculator.

Should you collect sales tax on shipping charges in Iowa?

As long as you separately state the shipping charges on your bill to your customer, you do not have to charge sales tax on shipping.

But if you include shipping in the price of the product you sell the customer, then shipping is considered part of the taxable transaction and Iowa declares that you must collect sales tax on shipping.

Read a full explanation of sales tax on shipping in Iowa here.

Rank City Population County Total SalesTax
1 Des Moines 210,330 Polk 6.000%
2 Cedar Rapids 130,405 Linn 7.000%
3 Davenport 102,582 Scott 7.000%
4 Sioux City 82,821 Woodbury 7.000%
5 Iowa City 74,220 Johnson 6.000%
6 Waterloo 68,460 Black Hawk 7.000%
7 Ames 65,060 Story 7.000%
8 West Des Moines 64,113 Warren 6.000%
9 Council Bluffs 62,597 Pottawattamie 7.000%
10 Dubuque 58,799 Dubuque 7.000%
11 Ankeny 56,764 Polk 6.000%
12 Urbandale 44,062 Polk 6.000%
13 Cedar Falls 41,255 Black Hawk 7.000%
14 Marion 37,330 Linn 7.000%
15 Bettendorf 35,505 Scott 7.000%
16 Marshalltown 27,620 Marshall 7.000%
17 Mason City 27,366 Cerro Gordo 7.000%
18 Clinton 26,064 Clinton 7.000%
19 Burlington 25,410 Des Moines 7.000%
20 Fort Dodge 24,649 Webster 7.000%

Caption: Top 20 Most Populous Cities in Iowa and their Sales Tax Rates (June 2017)

When are Iowa Sales Tax Returns Due?

When you file and pay Iowa sales tax depends on two things: your assigned filing frequency and your state’s due dates.

How often will you file sales tax returns in Iowa?

States assign you a filing frequency when you register for your sales tax permit. In most states, how often you file sales tax is based on the amount of sales tax you collect from buyers in the state.

In Iowa, you will be required to file and remit sales tax either monthly, quarterly or annually.

How often you are required to file sales tax in Iowa follows this general rule:

Average Monthly Tax Liability Filing Frequency
$5000.01 and up Monthly with Prepayment
$500.01 to $5000.00 Monthly
$10.01 to $500.00 Quarterly
$0.00 to $10.00 Annually

Iowa sales tax returns are generally due the 20th or the final day of the month following the reporting period. If the Iowa filing due date falls on a weekend or holiday, sales tax is due the next business day.

2017 Iowa Monthly Sales Tax Filing Due Dates

Taxable Period Due Date
*January February 21, 2017*
February March 20, 2017
March April 20, 2017
*April May 22, 2017*
May June 20, 2017
June July 20, 2017
*July August 21, 2017*
August September 20, 2017
September October 20, 2017
October November 20, 2017
November December 20, 2017
*December January 22, 2018*

*indicates a due date pushed back due to a weekend or holiday

2017 Iowa Quarterly Sales Tax Filing Due Dates

Taxable Period Due Date
*Q1 (Jan-Mar) May 1, 2017*
Q2 (Apr-Jun) July 31, 2017
Q3 (Jul-Sept) October 31, 2017
Q4 (Oct-Dec) January 31, 2018

*indicates a due date pushed back due to a weekend or holiday

2017 Iowa Annual Sales Tax Filing Due Dates

Taxable Period Due Date
2017 January 31, 2018

Click here for more info on Iowa sales tax filing due dates in 2017.

How to File Sales Tax in Iowa

When it comes time to file sales tax in Iowa you must do three things:

  1. Calculate how much sales tax you owe
  2. File a sales tax return
  3. Make a payment

We’ll walk you through these steps.

How to Calculate How Much Sales Tax You Owe in Iowa

Calculating how much sales tax you should remit to the state of Iowa is easy with TaxJar’s Iowa sales tax report.

All you do is connect the channels through which you sell – including Amazon, eBay, Shopify, Square and more – and we’ll calculate exactly how much sales tax you collected. All the information you need to file your Iowa sales tax return will be waiting for you in TaxJar. All you have to do is login!

How to File and Pay Sales Tax in Iowa

You have two options when it comes to filing sales tax in Iowa:

File online - File online at the Iowa Department of Revenue. You can remit your payment through their online system. AutoFile - AutoFile your sales tax return. TaxJar will file your sales tax return for you for just $19.95/filing.


  • Late Filing Penalty – 10% of tax due
  • Late Payment Penalty – 5% of tax due

Other penalties for fraud or serial offenses include higher penalties and even criminal charges.

And that’s it. You’ve mastered Iowa sales tax filing! Now that sales tax is out of the way, you can get back to what you do best – running your business.

Iowa Sales Tax Holidays

Iowa has announced one sales tax holiday in 2016:

August 5-6, 2016: “Back to School Sales Tax Holiday”

Check here for more information about Iowa’s sales tax holiday including how to handle sales tax holidays as an online seller.

Iowa Sales Tax Resources

For more about Iowa sales tax, check out the Iowa section of the TaxJar blog.

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