(DES MOINES) With the busy pace of the holiday season, the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) reminds customers to carefully review all charges on their utility bills, including a possible fee for a local option sales tax (LOST).
Although Iowa residential electric and natural gas bills are not currently subject to sales tax, a LOST charge may be included on utility bills (depending on location) and should appear as a separate line item. This tax should only impact customers of Iowa cities or counties where it has been imposed by local government. The Iowa Department of Revenue maintains up-to-date information about LOST fees, including the areas of the state where it is presently assessed, www.iowa.gov/tax/educate/localoption.
Recently, the IUB has received complaints regarding inappropriate LOST charges appearing on customer utility bills. IUB staff investigated these reports and they appear to have stemmed from computer billing software issues. Consumers should closely review all of their monthly utility bills to check that every tax and surcharge is appropriate. For any discrepancies, customers should first contact the appropriate taxing entity (city or county), along with the local utility representatives, and be prepared to provide the proper documentation.
Consumers with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact the IUB Customer Service Section toll free at 1-877-565-4450 and the Consumer Protection Division of the Iowa Attorney General’s Office toll free at 1-888-777-4590.