History: 1987 a. 378
; 1993 a. 246
County assessor. 70.99(1)(1)
A county assessor system may be established for any county by passage of a resolution or ordinance adopting such a system by an approving vote of 60 percent of the entire membership of the county board. After passage of this enabling resolution or ordinance by the county board, the county executive, or the county administrator, or the chairperson of the county board with the approval of the county board, shall appoint a county assessor from a list of candidates provided by the department of revenue who have passed an examination and have been certified by the department of revenue as qualified for performing the functions of the office. Certification shall be granted to all persons demonstrating proficiency by passing an examination administered by the department. The persons selected for listing shall first have been given a comprehensive examination, approved by the department of revenue, relating to the work of county assessor. A person appointed as county assessor shall thereafter have permanent tenure, after successfully serving the probationary period in effect in the county, and may be removed or suspended only for the reasons named in s. 17.14 (1)
or for such cause as would sustain the suspension or removal of a state employee under state civil service rules. If employees of a county are under a county civil service program, the county assessor may, and any person appointed as a member of his or her staff shall, be incorporated into the county civil service program but tenure is dependent on the foregoing provision.
Upon request of a county that is considering the creation of an assessment system under this section, the department of revenue may study the feasibility of that creation. The county shall reimburse the department for the costs of the study.
The division of personnel management in the department of administration shall recommend a reasonable salary range for the county assessor for each county based upon pay for comparable work or qualifications in that county. If, by contractual agreement under s. 66.0301
, 2 or more counties join to employ one county assessor with the approval of the secretary of revenue, the division of personnel management shall recommend a reasonable salary range for the county assessor under the agreement. The department of revenue shall assist the county in establishing the budget for the county assessor's offices, including the number of personnel and their qualifications, based on the anticipated workload.
The department of revenue shall establish levels of proficiency for all appraisal personnel to be employed in offices of county assessors.
The county assessor and the county assessor's staff shall be supplied suitable quarters, equipment and supplies by the county.
In respect of any assessment made by a county assessor, the county assessor shall perform all the functions and acts theretofore required to be performed by the local assessor of the taxation district and shall have the same authority, responsibility and status, privileges and obligations of the assessor the county assessor displaces, except as clearly inconsistent with this section.
The county assessor may designate one member of the county assessor's staff as deputy county assessor who shall have full power to act for the county assessor in the event of the inability of the county assessor to act through absence, incapacity, resignation or otherwise.
Each city, town and village assessor duly appointed or elected and qualified to make the assessment for a city, town or village shall continue in office for all purposes of completing the functions of assessor with respect to such current year's assessment, but is divested of all authority in respect to the January 1 assessment that comes under the jurisdiction of the county assessor.
In making the first assessment of any city, town or village the county assessor shall equalize the assessment of property within each taxation district. Thereafter, the county assessor shall revalue each year as many taxation districts under the county assessor's jurisdiction within the county as the county assessor's available staff will permit so as to bring and maintain each such taxation district at a full value assessment. The county assessor shall proceed with such work so as to complete the revaluation of all taxation districts under the county assessor's jurisdiction within 4 years. Such revaluation shall be made according to the procedures and manuals established by the department of revenue for the use of assessors.
There shall be one board of review for each county under the county assessor system. The board of review in any county having a county executive shall be appointed by the county executive from the cities or villages or towns under the county assessor. The board of review of all other counties shall be appointed by the chairperson of the county board from the tax districts under the county assessor. County board of review appointments in all counties shall be subject to approval by the county board. The board of review shall have 5 to 9 members, no more than 2 of whom may reside in the same city, town or village, and shall hold office as members of said board for staggered 5-year terms and until their successors are appointed and qualified. In counties other than Milwaukee County at least one member shall be from a town. The compensation and reimbursement of expenses of members of the board of review shall be fixed by the county board and shall be borne by the county. Each such board of review shall appoint one of its members present at the hearing as clerk and such clerk shall keep an accurate record of its proceedings. The provisions of s. 70.47
, not in conflict with this section, shall be applicable to procedure for review of assessments by county boards of review and to appeals from determinations of county boards of review.
Two members of the board of review may hold the hearing of the evidence but a majority of the board members must be present to constitute a quorum at the meeting at which the determination of the issue is made. A majority vote of the quorum shall constitute the determination. In the event there is a tie vote, the assessor's valuation shall be sustained.
A board member may not be counted in determining a quorum and may not vote concerning any determination unless, concerning such determination, such member:
Received the transcript of the hearing no less than 5 days prior to the meeting and read such transcript; or
Received a mechanical recording of the evidence no less than 5 days prior to the meeting and listened to such recording; or
Received a copy of a summary and all exceptions thereto no less than 5 days prior to the meeting and read such summary and exceptions. In this subdivision “summary" means a written summary of the evidence prepared by one or more board members attending the hearing of evidence, which summary shall be distributed to all board members and all parties to the contested assessment and “exceptions" means written exceptions to the summary of evidence filed by parties to the contested assessment.
The county board may by resolution establish a county board of assessors, which board shall be comprised of the county assessor or the deputy county assessor and such other members of the county assessor's staff as the county assessor annually designates. If so established the county board of assessors shall investigate any objection referred to it by direction of the county board of review. The county board of assessors shall, after having made the investigation notify the person assessed or that person's agent of its determination by first class mail, and a copy of such determination shall be transmitted to the county board of review. The person assessed having been notified of the determination of the county board of assessors shall be deemed to have accepted such determination unless that person notifies the county assessor in writing, within 10 days, of that person's desire to present testimony before the county board of review.
In counties that enter into a compact for a county assessor system, the board of review shall consist of 2 members appointed by each county with one additional member appointed by the county having the greatest full value.
The county assessor shall annually submit a budget request for funds to cover the operation of the county assessor system for the ensuing year to the county office responsible for preparing the county budget.
The department of revenue shall prescribe the due dates, the forms, and the format of information transmitted by the county assessor to the department as to the assessment of property and any other information that may be needed in the department's work. The department of revenue shall also prescribe the form of assessment rolls, forms, books, and returns required for the assessment and collection of general property taxes by the county. The county shall submit material on or before the due dates that the department prescribes and shall use all of the material that the department prescribes.
The department of revenue shall design and make available to any county, basic computer programs for the preparation of assessment rolls, tax rolls and tax receipts which are deemed necessary by the secretary of revenue to the utilization of automatic data processing in the administration of the property tax.
The department of revenue shall prescribe minimum specifications for assessment maps. Any county whose assessment maps do not meet the department's specifications at the time of converting to the county assessment system shall have 4 years from the first countywide January 1 assessment date to bring its maps in conformance with the department's specifications.
The department of revenue shall determine the minimum number of staff members required for each county assessor's office and the level of certification under sub. (3)
required for each position.
In order to effect the orderly transition of local property assessment to the county assessor system, as soon as practicable after the effective date of the resolution or ordinance adopting such system, all assessment records, books, maps, aerial photographs, appraisal cards and any other data currently in the possession of any town, village or city shall be made available to and become the property of the county assessor.
A county may discontinue a county assessor system by passage of a resolution or ordinance by an approving vote of a majority of the entire membership of the county board. The effective date of the resolution or ordinance shall be December 31. A county shall, on or before October 31 of the year when the resolution or ordinance is effective, notify all municipalities in the county of its intent to discontinue its county assessor system. As soon as practicable after the effective date of the resolution or ordinance, the county shall transfer to the proper municipality all assessment records, books, maps, aerial photographs, appraisal cards and other assessment data in its possession.
The constitutionality of this section is upheld. This section does not allow county boards to appoint officers of cities, towns, and villages in violation of article IV, section 23, illegally deprive villages and cities of the right to determine their own affairs in violation of article XI, section 3, or create a nonuniform system of town government in violation of article XIII, section 9
, of the Wisconsin Constitution. Thompson v. Kenosha County, 64 Wis. 2d 673
, 221 N.W.2d 845
This section must be read in conjunction with s. 70.32 (1). Kaskin v. Kenosha Board of Review, 91 Wis. 2d 272
, 282 N.W.2d 620
(Ct. App. 1979).
The offices of county assessor and town supervisor are compatible. 63 Atty. Gen. 599.
State assessment of manufacturing property. 70.995(1)(a)
In this section “manufacturing property" includes all lands, buildings, structures and other real property used in manufacturing, assembling, processing, fabricating, making or milling tangible personal property for profit. Manufacturing property also includes warehouses, storage facilities and office structures when the predominant use of the warehouses, storage facilities or offices is in support of the manufacturing property, and all personal property owned or used by any person engaged in this state in any of the activities mentioned, and used in the activity, including raw materials, supplies, machinery, equipment, work in process and finished inventory when located at the site of the activity. Establishments engaged in assembling component parts of manufactured products are considered manufacturing establishments if the new product is neither a structure nor other fixed improvement. Materials processed by a manufacturing establishment include products of agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining and quarrying. For the purposes of this section, establishments which engage in mining metalliferous minerals are considered manufacturing establishments.
Materials used by a manufacturing establishment may be purchased directly from producers, obtained through customary trade channels or secured without recourse to the market by transfer from one establishment to another under the same ownership. Manufacturing production is usually carried on for the wholesale market, for interplant transfer or to order for industrial users rather than for direct sale to a domestic consumer.
Manufacturing shall not include the following agricultural activities:
Processing on farms if the raw materials are grown on the farm.
Except for the activities under sub. (2)
, activities not classified as manufacturing in the standard industrial classification manual, 1987 edition, published by the U.S. office of management and budget are not manufacturing for this section.
In addition to the criteria set forth in sub. (1)
, property shall be deemed prima facie manufacturing property and eligible for assessment under this section if it is included in one of the following major group classifications set forth in the standard industrial classification manual, 1987 edition, published by the U.S. office of management and budget. For the purposes of this section, any other property described in this subsection shall also be deemed manufacturing property and eligible for assessment under this section:
14 — Mining and quarrying of nonmetallic minerals, except fuels.
Apparel and other finished products made from fabrics and similar materials.
24 — Lumber and wood products, except furniture.
27 — Printing, publishing and allied industries.
29 — Petroleum refining and related industries.
30 — Rubber and miscellaneous plastic products.
32 — Stone, clay, glass and concrete products.
34 — Fabricated metal products, machinery and transportation equipment.
36 — Electrical and electronic machinery, equipment and supplies.
38 — Measuring, analyzing and controlling instruments; photographic, medical and optical goods; watches and clocks.
39 — Miscellaneous manufacturing industries.
Scrap processors using large machines processing iron, steel or nonferrous scrap metal and whose principal product is scrap iron and steel or nonferrous scrap metal for sale for remelting purposes.
Processors of waste paper, fibers or plastics using large machines for recycling purposes.
For purposes of subs. (1)
“manufacturing, assembling, processing, fabricating, making or milling" includes the entire productive process and includes such activities as the storage of raw materials, the movement thereof to the first operation thereon, and the packaging, bottling, crating or similar preparation of products for shipment.
Whenever real property or tangible personal property is used for one, or some combination, of the processes mentioned in sub. (3)
and also for other purposes, the department of revenue, if satisfied that there is substantial use in one or some combination of such processes, may assess the property under this section. For all purposes of this section the department of revenue shall have sole discretion for the determination of what is substantial use and what description of real property or what unit of tangible personal property shall constitute “the property" to be included for assessment purposes, and, in connection herewith, the department may include in a real property unit, real property owned by different persons. Vacant property designed for use in manufacturing, assembling, processing, fabricating, making or milling tangible property for profit may be assessed under this section or under s. 70.32 (1)
, and the period of vacancy may not be the sole ground for making that determination. In those specific instances where a portion of a description of real property includes manufacturing property rented or leased and operated by a separate person which does not satisfy the substantial use qualification for the entire property, the local assessor shall assess the entire real property description and all personal property not exempt under s. 70.11 (27)
. The applicable portions of the standard manufacturing property report form under sub. (12)
as they relate to manufacturing machinery and equipment shall be submitted by such person.
The department of revenue shall assess all property of manufacturing establishments included under subs. (1)
as of the close of January 1 of each year, if on or before March 1 of that year the department has classified the property as manufacturing or the owner of the property has requested, in writing, that the department make such a classification and the department later does so. A change in ownership, location, or name of the manufacturing establishment does not necessitate a new request. In assessing lands from which metalliferous minerals are being extracted and valued for purposes of the tax under s. 70.375
, the value of the metalliferous mineral content of such lands shall be excluded.
Prior to February 15 of each year the department of revenue shall notify each municipal assessor of the manufacturing property within the taxation district that, as of that date, will be assessed by the department during the current assessment year.
Each manufacturing property assessed by the department of revenue shall be entered on a state manufacturing property assessment roll for each municipality that has manufacturing property as set forth in subs. (1)
. Notification of the individual manufacturing property assessments contained in the roll shall be furnished by the department to the municipal clerk.
Each 5 years, or more frequently if the department of revenue's workload permits and if in the department's judgment it is desirable, the department of revenue shall complete a field investigation or on-site appraisal at full value under ss. 70.32 (1)
of all manufacturing property in this state.
The secretary of revenue shall establish a state board of assessors, which shall be comprised of the members of the department of revenue whom the secretary designates. The state board of assessors shall investigate any timely objection filed under par. (c)
if the fee under that paragraph is paid. The state board of assessors, after having made the investigation, shall notify the person assessed or the person's agent and the appropriate municipality of its determination by 1st class mail or electronic mail. Beginning with objections filed in 1989, the state board of assessors shall make its determination on or before April 1 of the year after the filing. If the determination results in a refund of property taxes paid, the state board of assessors shall include in the determination a finding of whether the refund is due to false or incomplete information supplied by the person assessed. The person assessed or the municipality having been notified of the determination of the state board of assessors shall be deemed to have accepted the determination unless the person or municipality files a petition for review with the clerk of the tax appeals commission as provided in s. 73.01 (5)
and the rules of practice promulgated by the commission. If an assessment is reduced by the state board of assessors, the municipality affected may file an appeal seeking review of the reduction, or may, within 30 days after the person assessed files a petition for review, file a cross-appeal, before the tax appeals commission even though the municipality did not file an objection to the assessment with the board. If the board does not overrule a change from assessment under this section to assessment under s. 70.32 (1)
, the affected municipality may file an appeal before the tax appeals commission. If an assessment is increased by the board, the person assessed may file an appeal seeking review of the increase, or may, within 30 days after the municipality files a petition for review, file a cross-appeal, before the commission even though the person did not file an objection to the assessment with the board.
The department of revenue shall annually notify each manufacturer assessed under this section and the municipality in which the manufacturing property is located of the full value of all real and personal property owned by the manufacturer. The notice shall be in writing and shall be sent by 1st class mail or electronic mail. In addition, the notice shall specify that objections to valuation, amount, or taxability must be filed with the state board of assessors no later than 60 days after the date of the notice of assessment, that objections to a change from assessment under this section to assessment under s. 70.32 (1)
must be filed no later than 60 days after the date of the notice, that the fee under par. (c) 1.
must be paid and that the objection is not filed until the fee is paid. For purposes of this subdivision, an objection is considered timely filed if received by the state board of assessors no later than 60 days after the date of the notice or sent to the state board of assessors by certified mail in a properly addressed envelope, with postage paid, that is postmarked before midnight of the last day for filing. A statement shall be attached to the assessment roll indicating that the notices required by this section have been mailed and failure to receive the notice does not affect the validity of the assessments, the resulting tax on real or personal property, the procedures of the tax appeals commission or of the state board of assessors, or the enforcement of delinquent taxes by statutory means.
If a municipality files an objection to the amount, valuation, taxability, or change from assessment under this section and the person assessed does not file an objection, the person assessed may file an appeal within 15 days after the municipality's objection is filed.
All objections to the amount, valuation, taxability, or change from assessment under this section to assessment under s. 70.32 (1)
of property shall be first made in writing on a form prescribed by the department of revenue that specifies that the objector shall set forth the reasons for the objection, the objector's estimate of the correct assessment, and the basis under s. 70.32 (1)
for the objector's estimate of the correct assessment. An objection shall be filed with the state board of assessors within the time prescribed in par. (b) 1.
A $200 fee shall be paid when the objection is filed unless a fee has been paid in respect to the same piece of property and that appeal has not been finally adjudicated. The objection is not filed until the fee is paid. Neither the state board of assessors nor the tax appeals commission may waive the requirement that objections be in writing. Persons who own land and improvements to that land may object to the aggregate value of that land and improvements to that land, but no person who owns land and improvements to that land may object only to the valuation of that land or only to the valuation of improvements to that land.
A manufacturer who files an objection under subd. 1.
may file supplemental information to support the manufacturer's objection no later than 60 days from the date the objection is filed. The state board of assessors shall notify the municipality in which the manufacturer's property is located of supplemental information filed by the manufacturer under this subdivision, if the municipality has filed an appeal related to the objection.
A municipality may file an objection with the state board of assessors to the amount, valuation, or taxability under this section or to the change from assessment under this section to assessment under s. 70.32 (1)
of a specific property having a situs in the municipality, whether or not the owner of the specific property in question has filed an objection. Objection shall be made on a form prescribed by the department and filed with the board within the time prescribed in par. (b) 1.
If the person assessed files an objection and the municipality affected does not file an objection, the municipality affected may file an appeal to that objection within 15 days after the person's objection is filed. A $200 filing fee shall be paid when the objection is filed unless a fee has been paid in respect to the same piece of property and that appeal has not been finally adjudicated. The objection is not filed until the fee is paid. The board shall forthwith notify the person assessed of the objection filed by the municipality.
The department shall refund filing fees paid under par. (c) 1.
if the appeal in respect to the fee is denied because of lack of jurisdiction.
Upon completion of and review by the tax appeals commission and receipt of the statement of assessments required under s. 70.53
, the department of revenue shall be responsible for equating all full-value manufacturing property assessments entered in the manufacturing property assessment roll to the general level of assessment of all other property within the individual taxation district. Thereafter, the manufacturing property assessment roll shall be delivered to the municipal clerk and annexed to the municipal assessment roll containing all other property.