Over Assessed? Appealing Home Tax Assessments. McAdams. Wis. Law. July 2011.
State assessment of commercial property. 70.855(1)(1)
The department of revenue shall assess real and personal property assessed as commercial property under s. 70.32 (2) (a) 2.
if all of the following apply:
The property owner and the governing body of the municipality where the property is located submit a written request to the department on or before March 1 of the year of the assessment to have the department assess the property owner's real and personal commercial property located in the municipality.
The written request submitted under par. (a)
specifies the items of personal property and parcels of real property for the department's assessment.
The assessed value of the property owner's commercial property in the municipality in the previous year, as specified under par. (b)
, is at least $24,000,000.
The assessed value of the property owner's commercial property in the municipality in the previous year, as specified under par. (b)
, represents at least 9 percent of the total assessed value of all property in the municipality.
The property is located in a 4th class city.
The department of revenue shall determine the full market value of the property subject to the request under sub. (1)
. The department may request from the property owner or the municipality where the property is located any information that the department considers necessary to perform its duties under this section. Failure to submit the requested information to the department shall result in denial of any right of redetermination by the tax appeals commission by the party failing to provide the requested information.
The department shall determine the value of the property subject to the request under sub. (1)
no later than June 1 and shall provide written notice to the property owner and the governing body of the municipality of its findings and the value it has determined for the affected property.
Appeal of the determination of the department under this subsection shall be made to the tax appeals commission.
(3) Assessor duty.
The assessor of the municipality where the property is located shall use the department's valuation of the property under sub. (2)
for determining the property's value on the assessment roll, adjusted, to the best of the assessor's ability, to reflect the assessment ratio of other property located in the municipality.
The department of revenue shall impose a fee on each municipality in which commercial property is assessed under this section equal to the cost of the department's assessment of that property under this section. Except as provided in par. (b)
, each municipality that is assessed a fee under this paragraph shall collect the amount of the fee as a special charge against the taxable property located in the municipality, except that no municipality may apply the special charge disproportionately to owners of commercial property relative to owners of other property.
If the department of revenue does not receive the fee imposed on a municipality under par. (a)
by March 31 of the year following the department's determination under sub. (2) (b)
, the department shall reduce the distribution made to the municipality under s. 79.02 (1)
by the amount of the fee and shall transfer that amount to the appropriation under s. 20.566 (2) (ga)
History: 2013 a. 20
; 2021 a. 1
Descriptions, simplified system.
The governing body of any city, village or town may at its option adopt a simplified system of describing real property in either the assessment roll or the tax roll or in both the assessment roll and tax roll of such city, village or town, and may from time to time amend or change such simplified system. Descriptions in property tax bills shall be as provided under s. 74.09 (3) (a)
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.