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Iowa Property Assessment Appeal Board

Discovery, Exhibits & Witnesses

This information is to help you understand the basics of discovery - a process available in PAAB appeals. It also explains using exhibits and witnesses in PAAB appeals.

What is discovery?

Discovery gives the parties an opportunity to gather information relevant to the appeal. Discovery procedures are available to the parties under PAAB's administrative rules. For appeals of property assessed for less than $1 million, a party may not serve more than 15 interrogatories, including all discrete subparts, and 10 requests for production. 

For non-attorneys, participating in discovery may seem intimidating and confusing. While discovery procedures are available, discovery is not used in every appeal. Depending on the case, the parties may not need to use formal discovery procedures and discovery may take place in a more informal manner.

Read some basic examples of discovery requests that may appear in cases before PAAB.

How is discovery conducted?

Discovery occurs between the parties and, in most situations, PAAB will not be involved. The parties can send discovery requests and responses directly to each other, typically through mail or email. Discovery requests and responses should not be sent to or filed with PAAB. 

Although the parties should not file discovery requests or responses with PAAB, the parties should file a notice with PAAB when they have served discovery requests or replied with discovery responses. 


For additional information, read common questions and answers about discovery. If you have more questions about discovery, contact us.  

Exhibits are documents (evidence) supporting your position. To prepare for your hearing you may gather evidence. Your evidence should be relevant and reliable. It should relate to the value of the property as of January 1 of the assessment year at issue.

PAAB bases its decision upon the evidence it receives from you and the local board of review. PAAB cannot independently investigate claims or seek out evidence related to the appeal on its own. 

Examples of Exhibits

These are examples of evidence that may be relevant to the grounds that have been appealed

  • Description of the property, maps and/or photographs.
  • The Assessor's property record card and/or cost report for your property and any comparable properties. Contact your Assessor's Office if you have questions about obtaining the property record cards and cost reports.
  • Recent appraisal of the property or in-person testimony of an appraiser before PAAB. An appraisal is most accurate if it reflects the January 1 assessment date of the year of the protest.
  • Recent sales of comparable properties.
    • Sales searches can often be done from the Assessor's website. For jurisdictions using the Beacon service, this Beacon sales search video demonstrates how to search sales. 
  • Rental income or lease contracts.
  • Recent purchase price or bill of sale.
  • Affidavit of value or sale.
  • Written offers or listing for sale.
  • Witnesses that testify to the value of the property. Examples may include realtors, appraisers, or others with knowledge of the property.

Note: This is not a complete list and the relevant evidence may vary from case-to-case.  

NOTICE: If you would like PAAB to consider any evidence given to the Board of Review, you must file it as an exhibit to PAAB. The Board of Review is not required to give PAAB any evidence submitted with the Board of Review protest. 

Required Board of Review Exhibits

Per PAAB's administrative rules, the Board of Review must file the following exhibits. 

  • Exhibit A - The subject property's property record card and cost report. The property record card should reflect any changes after the the board of review's decision. The Vanguard cost report showing line-item values will be sufficient, where applicable.
  • Exhibit B - The final decision of the local board of review.
  • Exhibit C - The appellant’s petition to the local board of review. The petition should include all attachments, letters, or memos that detail the appellant’s claims. The Board of Review does not have to submit all evidence the appellant gave to it.

Exhibit List & Labeling Exhibits

Complete the Exhibit and Witness List and file it with PAAB along with your exhibits. 

Label your exhibits in the upper left hand corner. Labels can be written, stamped, or added electronically.

  • Appellants (Taxpayer) label exhibits with numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.).
  • Appellees (Boards of Review) label exhibits with letters (A, B, C, etc.). 

Deadline for Filing and Serving Exhibits

  • You must give copies of all exhibits to the other party as provided in the Notice of Hearing, unless the parties have entered a Hearing Scheduling and Discovery Plan.
  • Per PAAB's administrative rules, the typical deadline to serve copies of exhibits is 21-calendar days before the hearing date. 
  • If you fail to give the exhibits and witness list to the other party on time it may result in your exhibits and/or witnesses being excluded. 
  • You do not have to give rebuttal evidence to the opposing party before to the hearing.
    • Rebuttal evidence is offered to disprove or contradict the evidence presented by an opposing party. It is not intended to give a party an opportunity to tell their story twice or evidence that should have been presented at the outset.

You may call witnesses to offer sworn testimony at the hearing.

You must identify any witnesses and provide their name(s) to the opposing party as provided in the Notice of Hearing, unless the parties have entered a Hearing Scheduling and Discovery Plan. Per PAAB's administrative rules, the typical deadline to identify witnesses is 21-calendar days before the hearing date. You can identify your witnesses using the Exhibit and Witness Lists

Witnesses can testify in person, by telephone, or by video/online. If you need to modify how you and any witnesses plan to appear at the PAAB hearing use the Motion to Participate in Hearing In Person, By Telephone, or By Video form. 

Disclaimer: This is not a legal or technical document and is for general informational purposes. It does not cover all possible circumstances that may arise in an assessment appeal. For detailed legal or technical information you should contact an attorney.