This section does not apply to a city of the 2nd class if it is contained within a county which adopts a county assessor system under s. 70.99
The term “assessment district" is used to designate any subdivision of territory, whether the whole or any part of any municipality, in which by law a separate assessment of taxable property is made by an assessor or assessors elected or appointed therefor except that in cities of the first class such districts may be referred to as administrative districts.
Official real property lister; forms for officers. 70.09(1)(1)
Lister, county boards may provide for.
Any county board may appoint a county real property lister and may appropriate funds for the operation of the department of such lister.
(2) Duties of lister.
The county board may delegate any of the following duties to the lister:
To prepare and maintain accurate ownership and description information for all parcels of real property in the county. That information may include the following:
The owner's name and an accurate legal description as shown on the latest records of the office of the register of deeds.
The number of acres in the parcel if it contains more than one acre.
School district and special purpose district codes.
To provide information on parcels of real property in the county for the use of taxation district assessors, city, village and town clerks and treasurers and county offices and any other persons requiring that information.
To serve as the coordinator between the county and the taxation districts in the county for assessment and taxation purposes.
To provide computer services related to assessment and taxation for the assessors, clerks and treasurers of the taxation districts in the county, including but not limited to data entry for the assessment roll, notice of assessments, summary reports, tax roll and tax bills.
The department of revenue shall prescribe basic uniform forms of assessment rolls, tax rolls, tax bills, tax receipts, tax roll settlement sheets and all other forms required for the assessment and collection of general property taxes throughout the state, and shall furnish each county designee a sample of the uniform forms.
If any county has reason to use forms for assessment and collection of taxes in addition to those prescribed under par. (a)
, the county real property lister and treasurer jointly may prescribe such additional forms for use in their county, upon approval of the department of revenue.
Each county designee who requires the forms prescribed in pars. (a)
shall procure them at county expense and shall furnish such forms to the assessors, clerks and treasurers of the taxation districts within the county, as needed in the discharge of their duties.
Assessment roll; time-share property.
For the purpose of time-share property, as defined in s. 707.02 (32)
, a time-share instrument, as defined in s. 707.02 (28)
, shall provide a method for allocating real property taxes among the time-share owners, as defined in s. 707.02 (31)
, and a method for giving notice of an assessment and the amount of property tax to the owners. Only one entry shall be made on the assessment roll for each building unit within the time-share property, which entry shall consist of the cumulative real property value of all time-share interests in the unit.
Assessment, when made, exemption.
The assessor shall assess all real and personal property as of the close of January 1 of each year. Except in cities of the 1st class and 2nd class cities that have a board of assessors under s. 70.075
, the assessment shall be finally completed before the first Monday in April. All real property conveyed by condemnation or in any other manner to the state, any county, city, village or town by gift, purchase, tax deed or power of eminent domain before January 2 in such year shall not be included in the assessment. Assessment of manufacturing property subject to s. 70.995
shall be made according to that section.
Nothing in this section requires a property to be classified based on its actual use or prevents an assessor from considering a property's most likely use. West Capitol, Inc. v. Village of Sister Bay, 2014 WI App 52
, 354 Wis. 2d 130
, 848 N.W.2d 875
Presumption of taxability.
Exemptions under this chapter shall be strictly construed in every instance with a presumption that the property in question is taxable, and the burden of proof is on the person who claims the exemption.
History: 1997 a. 237
Exemption from payment of taxes is an act of legislative grace; the party seeking the exemption bears the burden of proving entitlement. Exemptions are only allowed to the extent the plain language of a statute permits. For tax exemptions to be valid they must be clear and express, and not extended by implication. In construing tax exemptions, courts apply a strict but reasonable construction resolving any doubts regarding the exemption in favor of taxability. United Rentals, Inc. v. City of Madison, 2007 WI App 131
, 302 Wis. 2d 245
, 733 N.W.2d 322
Property exempted from taxation.
The property described in this section is exempted from general property taxes if the property is exempt under sub. (1)
; if it was exempt for the previous year and its use, occupancy or ownership did not change in a way that makes it taxable; if the property was taxable for the previous year, the use, occupancy or ownership of the property changed in a way that makes it exempt and its owner, on or before March 1, files with the assessor of the taxation district where the property is located a form that the department of revenue prescribes or if the property did not exist in the previous year and its owner, on or before March 1, files with the assessor of the taxation district where the property is located a form that the department of revenue prescribes. Except as provided in subs. (3m) (c)
, (4) (b)
, (4a) (f)
, and (4d)
, leasing a part of the property described in this section does not render it taxable if the lessor uses all of the leasehold income for maintenance of the leased property or construction debt retirement of the leased property, or both, and, except for residential housing, if the lessee would be exempt from taxation under this chapter if it owned the property. Any lessor who claims that leased property is exempt from taxation under this chapter shall, upon request by the tax assessor, provide records relating to the lessor's use of the income from the leased property. Property exempted from general property taxes is:
(1) Property of the state.
Property owned by this state except land contracted to be sold by the state. This exemption shall not apply to land conveyed after September, 1933, to this state or for its benefit while the grantor or others for the grantor's benefit are permitted to occupy the land or part thereof in consideration for the conveyance; nor shall it apply to land devised to the state or for its benefit while another person is permitted by the will to occupy the land or part thereof. This exemption shall not apply to any property acquired by the department of veterans affairs under s. 45.32 (5)
, 2017 stats., or to the property of insurers undergoing rehabilitation or liquidation under ch. 645
. Property exempt under this subsection includes general property owned by the state and leased to a private, nonprofit corporation that operates a national ice training center, regardless of the use of the leasehold income.
(2) Municipal property and property of certain districts, exception.
Property owned by any county, city, village, town, school district, technical college district, public inland lake protection and rehabilitation district, metropolitan sewerage district, municipal water district created under s. 198.22
, joint local water authority created under s. 66.0823
, regional planning commission created under s. 66.0309
, long-term care district under s. 46.2895
, or town sanitary district; lands belonging to cities of any other state used for public parks; land tax-deeded to any county or city before January 2; but any residence located upon property owned by the county for park purposes that is rented out by the county for a nonpark purpose shall not be exempt from taxation. Except as to land acquired under s. 59.84 (2) (d)
, this exemption shall not apply to land conveyed after August 17, 1961, to any such governmental unit or for its benefit while the grantor or others for his or her benefit are permitted to occupy the land or part thereof in consideration for the conveyance. The exemption under this subsection applies to the property of a regional planning commission that the commission owned prior to October 1, 2021. If a regional planning commission subsequently sells property exempt from taxation under this subsection, the exemption applies to property purchased and owned by the commission if the total size of all property owned by the commission is substantially similar in size to the total property owned by the commission prior to October 1, 2021. Any property of the regional planning commission in excess of that size restriction is subject to taxation under this chapter. Leasing the property exempt under this subsection, regardless of the lessee and the use of the leasehold income, does not render that property taxable.
(2m) Property leased or subleased to school districts.
All of the property that is owned or leased by a corporation, organization or association that is exempt from federal income taxation under section 501
(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code if all of that property is leased or subleased to a school district for no or nominal consideration for use by an educational institution that offers regular courses for 6 months in a year.
Except as provided in subd. 2.
, grounds of any incorporated college or university, not exceeding 80 acres.
Grounds of any incorporated college or university, not exceeding 150 acres, if the college or university satisfies all of the following criteria:
Its total annual undergraduate enrollment is at least 5,000 students, not including students receiving online instruction only.
The fact that college or university officers, faculty members, teachers, students or employees live on the grounds does not render them taxable. In addition to the exemption of leased property specified in the introductory phrase of this section, a university or college may also lease property for educational or charitable purposes without making it taxable if it uses the income derived from the lease for charitable purposes.
All buildings, equipment and leasehold interests in lands described in s. 36.06
, 1971 stats., and s. 37.02 (3)
, 1971 stats.
(3a) Buildings at the Wisconsin Veterans homes.
All buildings, equipment and leasehold interests in lands described in s. 45.03 (5)
All real and personal property of a housing facility, not including a housing facility owned or used by a university fraternity or sorority, college fraternity or sorority, or high school fraternity or sorority, for which all of the following applies:
At least 90 percent of the facility's residents are students enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the facility houses no more than 300 such students.
The facility offers support services and outreach programs to its residents, the public or private institution of higher education at which the student residents are enrolled, and the public.
The facility is in existence and meets the requirements of this subsection on July 2, 2013, except that, if the facility is located in a municipally designated landmark, the facility is in existence and meets the requirements of this subsection on September 30, 2014.
If a nonprofit organization owns more than one housing facility, as described under par. (a)
, the exemption applies to only one facility, at one location.
Leasing a part of the property described in this subsection does not render it taxable if the lessor uses the leasehold income only for the following:
Construction debt retirement of the leased property.
The purposes for which the exemption under section 501
(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code is granted to the nonprofit organization that owns the facility.
(4) Educational, religious and benevolent institutions; women's clubs; historical societies; fraternities; libraries. 70.11(4)(a)1.1.
Property owned and used exclusively by educational institutions offering regular courses 6 months in the year; or by churches or religious, educational or benevolent associations, or by a nonprofit entity that is operated as a facility that is licensed, certified, or registered under ch. 50
, including benevolent nursing homes but not including an organization that is organized under s. 185.981
or ch. 611
and that offers a health maintenance organization as defined in s. 609.01 (2)
or a limited service health organization as defined in s. 609.01 (3)
or an organization that is issued a certificate of authority under ch. 618
and that offers a health maintenance organization or a limited service health organization and not including property owned by any nonstock, nonprofit corporation which services guaranteed student loans for others or on its own account, and also including property owned and used for housing for pastors and their ordained assistants, members of religious orders and communities, and ordained teachers, whether or not contiguous to and a part of other property owned and used by such associations or churches, and also including property described under par. (b)
; or by women's clubs; or by domestic, incorporated historical societies; or by domestic, incorporated, free public library associations; or by fraternal societies operating under the lodge system (except university, college and high school fraternities and sororities), but not exceeding 10 acres of land necessary for location and convenience of buildings while such property is not used for profit. Property owned by churches or religious associations necessary for location and convenience of buildings, used for educational purposes and not for profit, shall not be subject to the 10-acre limitation but shall be subject to a 30-acre limitation. Property that is exempt from taxation under this subsection and is leased remains exempt from taxation only if, in addition to the requirements specified in the introductory phrase of this section, the lessee does not discriminate on the basis of race.
For purposes of subd. 1.
, beginning with the property tax assessments as of January 1, 2018, property owned by a church or religious association necessary for location and convenience of buildings includes property necessary for the location and convenience of a building that the church or religious association intends to construct to replace a building destroyed by fire, natural disaster, or criminal act, regardless of whether preconstruction planning or construction has begun. This subdivision applies only for the first 25 years after the year in which the building is destroyed.
Leasing a part of property described in par. (a)
that is owned and operated by a nonprofit organization as a facility that is licensed, certified, or registered under ch. 50
, as residential housing, does not render the property taxable, regardless of how the lessor uses the leasehold income.
Leasing a part of property described in par. (a)
that is occupied by one or more individuals with permanent disabilities for whom evidence is available that demonstrates that such individuals meet the medical definition of permanent disability used to determine eligibility for programs administered by the federal social security administration, as residential housing, does not render the property taxable, regardless of how the lessor uses the leasehold income.
Leasing all or part of property described in par. (a)
that is owned by a church or religious association or institution to an educational association or institution exempt under par. (a)
does not render the property taxable, regardless of how the lessor uses the leasehold income.
(4a) Benevolent low-income housing. 70.11(4a)(a)(a)
Property owned by a nonprofit entity that is a benevolent association and used as low-income housing, including all common areas of a low-income housing project. Property used for a low-income housing project, including other low-income housing projects under common control with such project, and exempt under this subsection may not exceed 30 acres necessary for the location and convenience of buildings or 10 contiguous acres in any one municipality.
For purposes of this subsection, “low-income housing" means any housing project described in sub. (4b)
or any residential unit within a low-income housing project that is occupied by a low-income or very low-income person or is vacant and is only available to such persons.
For purposes of this subsection, “low-income housing project" means a residential housing project for which all of the following apply:
At least 75 percent of the residential units are occupied by low-income or very low-income persons or are vacant and available only to low-income or very low-income persons.
At least 20 percent of the residential units are rented to persons who are very low-income persons or are vacant and are only available to such persons.
At least 40 percent of the residential units are rented to persons whose income does not exceed 120 percent of the very low-income limit or are vacant and only available to such persons.
For purposes of this subsection, low-income persons and very low-income persons shall be determined in accordance with the income limits published by the federal department of housing and urban development for low-income and very low-income families under the National Housing Act of 1937.
For purposes of this subsection, all properties included within the same federal department of housing and urban development contract or within the same federal department of agriculture, rural development, contract are considered to be one low-income housing project.
Leasing property that is exempt from taxation under this subsection or sub. (4b)
as low-income housing does not render it taxable, regardless of how the leasehold income is used.
Annually, no later than March 1, each person who owns a low-income housing project shall file with the assessor of the taxation district in which the project is located a statement that specifies which units were occupied on January 1 of that year by persons whose income satisfied the income limit requirements under par. (b)
, as certified by the property owner to the appropriate federal or state agency, and a copy of the federal department of housing and urban development contract or federal department of agriculture, rural development, contract, if applicable.
The format and distribution of statements under this paragraph shall be governed by s. 70.09 (3)
If the statement required under this paragraph is not received on or before March 1, the taxation district assessor shall send the property owner a notice, by certified mail to the owner's last-known address of record, stating that failure to file a statement is subject to the penalties under subd. 5.
In addition to the statement under subd. 1.
, the taxation district assessor may require that a property owner submit other information to prove that the person's property qualifies as low-income housing that is exempt from taxation under this subsection.
A person who fails to file a statement within 30 days after notification under subd. 3.
shall forfeit $10 for each succeeding day on which the form is not received by the taxation district assessor, but not more than $500.
(4b) Housing projects financed by Housing and Economic Development Authority.
All property of a housing project that satisfies all of the following:
It is owned by a corporation, organization, or association described in section 501
(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code that is exempt from taxation under section 501
(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.
The Housing and Economic Development Authority holds a first-lien mortgage security interest on it.
(4d) Benevolent retirement homes for the aged.
Property that is owned by a nonprofit entity that is a benevolent association and used as a retirement home for the aged, but not exceeding 30 acres of land necessary for the location and convenience of buildings, while such property is not used for profit, if the fair market value of the individual dwelling unit, as determined by the assessor for the taxation district in which the property is located, is less than 130 percent of the average equalized value under s. 70.57
of improved parcels of residential property located in the county in which the retirement home for the aged is located in the previous year, as determined by the assessor of the taxation district in which the property is located based on the sum of the average per parcel equalized value of residential land and the average per parcel equalized value of residential improvements, as determined by the department of revenue. For purposes of determining the fair market value of an individual dwelling unit under this subsection, the value of any common area is excluded. The common area of a retirement home for the aged is exempt from general property taxes if 50 percent or more of the home's individual dwelling units are exempt from general property taxes under this subsection. If less than 50 percent of the home's individual dwelling units are exempt from general property taxes under this subsection, the common area of the retirement home for the aged is subject to general property taxes. Leasing a part of property used as a retirement home for the aged, as described in this subsection, does not render it taxable, regardless of how the leasehold income is used.
(4g) Real property held for rehabilitation or future construction and later sale to low-income persons.
Real property owned by a nonprofit organization if all of the following requirements are fulfilled:
The nonprofit organization holds the property for the purpose of rehabilitating an existing structure or constructing a new structure on the property for sale to low-income persons for use as a personal residence.
The nonprofit organization offers low-income persons loans to purchase the property for which no interest is charged.
The nonprofit organization requires prospective purchasers to participate in the rehabilitation or construction of the property.
The nonprofit organization acquired the property within 3 years before the assessment date.