The legislature created the Wisconsin Tax Appeals Commission to afford a systematic method of fact finding and policy formation under the Wisconsin tax laws, and, under the primary jurisdiction doctrine, the courts should not unnecessarily interject themselves into this process. Parties may not avoid the commission by pleading rulemaking and constitutional claims in a case whose clear focus is the scope of tax law statutes. Wisconsin Property Tax Consultants, Inc. v. DOR, 2021 WI App 47
, 398 Wis. 2d 654
, 963 N.W.2d 103
Distribution of money; income tax coordinator. 73.02(1)(1)
The department of revenue shall, on the certification of the program agencies that all requirements of the applicable laws have been complied with, perform the mechanical operation of the distribution of all moneys which the state distributes to political subdivisions.
The secretary shall designate or appoint under the classified service, within the department of revenue, an income tax coordinator, whose duties shall include the setting up and operation of a coordination program with the internal revenue service to facilitate the reporting of federal adjustments to the department and the interchange of information with respect to examination of returns, adjustments to income, extension of limitations, furnishing copies of returns and other activities essential to an integrated and effective coordination program with the internal revenue service.
Levy rate limits and debt conditions; rules.
The department may promulgate rules to implement and administer the levy rate limits and debt issuance conditions under ss. 59.605
History: 1993 a. 16
; 1999 a. 150
The department of revenue may require electronic funds transfer only by promulgating rules.
History: 1997 a. 27
See also s. Tax 1.12
, Wis. adm. code.
Powers and duties defined.
It shall be the duty of the department of revenue, and it shall have power and authority:
To have and exercise general supervision over the administration of the assessment and tax laws of the state, over assessors, boards of review, supervisors of equalization, and assessors of incomes, and over the county boards in the performance of their duties in making the taxation district assessment, to the end that all assessments of property be made relatively just and equal at full value and that all assessments of income may be legally and accurately made in substantial compliance with law.
To confer with, advise and direct assessors, boards of review and county boards of assessment as to their duties under the statutes.
To prepare and publish, in electronic form and on the Internet, assessment manuals. The manual shall discuss and illustrate accepted assessment methods, techniques and practices with a view to more nearly uniform and more consistent assessments of property at the local level. The manual shall be amended by the department from time to time to reflect advances in the science of assessment, court decisions concerning assessment practices, costs, and statistical and other information considered valuable to local assessors by the department. The manual shall incorporate standards for the assessment of all types of renewable energy resource systems used in this state as soon as such systems are used in sufficient numbers and sufficient data exists to allow the formulation of valid guidelines. The manual shall incorporate standards, which the department of revenue and the state historical society of Wisconsin shall develop, for the assessment of nonhistoric property in historic districts and for the assessment of historic property, including but not limited to property that is being preserved or restored; property that is subject to a protective easement, covenant or other restriction for historic preservation purposes; property that is listed in the national register of historic places in Wisconsin or in this state's register of historic places and property that is designated as a historic landmark and is subject to restrictions imposed by a municipality or by a landmarks commission. The manual shall incorporate general guidelines about ways to determine whether property is taxable in part under s. 70.1105
and examples of the ways that s. 70.1105
applies in specific situations. The manual shall state that assessors are required to comply with s. 70.32 (1g)
and shall suggest procedures for doing so. The manual or a supplement to it shall specify per acre value guidelines for each municipality for various categories of agricultural land based on the income that could be generated from its estimated rental for agricultural use, as defined by rule, and capitalization rates established by rule. The manual shall include guidelines for classifying land as agricultural land, as defined in s. 70.32 (2) (c) 1g.
, and guidelines for distinguishing between land and improvements to land. The cost of the development, preparation, and Internet publication of the manual and of revisions and amendments to it shall be paid from the appropriation under s. 20.566 (2) (bm)
To direct proceedings, actions and prosecutions to be instituted to enforce the laws relating to the penalties, liabilities and punishment of public officers, persons, and officers or agents of corporations for failure or neglect to comply with the provisions of the statutes governing the return, assessment and taxation of property; and to cause complaints to be made against assessors, members of boards of review, assessors of incomes, and members of county boards, or other assessing or taxing officers, to the proper circuit judge for their removal from office for official misconduct or neglect of duty.
To require district attorneys to assist in the commencement and prosecution of actions and proceedings for penalties, forfeitures, removals and punishment for violations of the laws of the state in respect to the assessment and taxation of property, in their respective counties.
To collect annually from town, city, village, county, and other public officers information regarding the assessment of property, and any other information that may be necessary in the work of the department, in the form and upon forms that the department shall prescribe. All public officers shall properly complete and promptly return to the department all forms received from the department under this subsection.
To examine all town, village, city, and county records for any purposes that are considered necessary by the department.
To publish annually the information collected under subs. (5)
, with any compilations, analyses, or recommendations that the department determines are necessary.
In its discretion to inspect and examine or cause an inspection and examination of the records of any town, city, village, or county officer whenever such officer shall have failed or neglected to return properly the information as required by sub. (5)
, within the time set by the department of revenue. Upon the completion of such inspection and examination the department of revenue shall transmit to the clerk of the town, city, village, or county a statement of the expenses incurred by the department of revenue to secure the necessary information. Duplicates of such statements shall be filed in the office of the secretary of administration. Within 60 days after the receipt of the above statement, the same shall be audited, as other claims of towns, cities, villages, and counties are audited, and shall be paid into the state treasury, in default of which the same shall become a special charge against such town, city, village, or county and be included in the next apportionment or certification of state taxes and charges, and collected with interest at the rate of 10 percent per year from the date such statements were certified by the department, as other special charges are certified and collected.
The officers responsible for the furnishing of the information collected pursuant to this section shall be jointly and severally liable for any loss the town, city, village or county may suffer through their delinquency; and no payment shall be made them for salary, or on any other accounts, until the cost of such inspection and examination as provided above shall have been paid into the town, city, village or county treasury.
To require individuals, partnerships, limited liability companies, companies, associations and corporations to furnish information concerning their capital, funded or other debt, current assets and liabilities, value of property, earnings, operating and other expenses, taxes and all other facts which may be needful to enable the department to ascertain the value and the relative burdens borne by all kinds of property in the state.
To summon witnesses to appear and give testimony, and to produce records, books, papers and documents relating to any matter which the department shall have authority to investigate or determine.
To cause the deposition of witnesses residing within or without the state or absent therefrom, to be taken, upon notice to the interested party, if any, in like manner that depositions of witnesses are taken in civil actions pending in the circuit court, in any matter which the department shall have authority to investigate or determine.
To visit the counties in the state, unless prevented by other necessary official duties, for the investigation of the work and the methods adopted by local assessors, county assessors, boards of review, supervisors of equalization and county boards, in the assessment, equalization and taxation of property. The department of revenue and its district supervisory staff shall assist the county assessor in carrying out the assessor's duties.
To carefully examine into all cases where evasion or violation of the laws for assessment and taxation of property is alleged, complained of or discovered, and to ascertain wherein existing laws are defective or are improperly or negligently administered.
To investigate the tax systems of other states and countries and to formulate and recommend such legislation as may be deemed expedient to prevent evasion of assessment and tax laws and to secure just and equal taxation and improvement in the system of taxation in the state.
To consult and confer with the governor of the state upon the subject of taxation, the administration of the laws in relation thereto and the progress of the work of the department, and to furnish the governor from time to time such assistance and information as the governor may require.
To disseminate from time to time, in such manner as shall best be calculated to attract general public attention, facts and data concerning public expenditures, sources of revenue, responsibility for levies, the value and relative tax burdens borne by different classes of property, and other useful and valuable information concerning the subject of taxation and public finance.
To exercise and perform such further powers and duties as may be granted to or imposed upon the department by law.
To annually publish the findings of any assessment ratio studies conducted.
To investigate all delinquent personal property, death and income or franchise taxes and surtaxes in the state and the possibility of the collection of them and to require taxing officials, including town treasurers, county treasurers, sheriffs and district attorneys, to institute proceedings, actions and prosecutions for the collection of delinquent taxes so that the amount of delinquent taxes shall be reduced to the minimum. In carrying out this subsection the department of revenue may examine or cause to be examined by any agent, employee or representative designated by it for that purpose, any books, papers, records or memoranda of any corporation, limited liability company, partnership or individual bearing upon the collection of any delinquent taxes and may require the attendance of the officials of any corporation or limited liability company or of any other person having knowledge in the premises and may take testimony and require proof material for their information upon any matter that they deem of value for the purpose of enforcing the payment of delinquent taxes. The department of revenue may also perform other duties and adopt other procedures that may be necessary to carry out this subsection and direct that proceedings, actions and prosecutions be instituted to enforce the laws relating to the collection of delinquent taxes of every kind. To this end, the department of justice shall, upon the request of the department of revenue, conduct such actions, proceedings or prosecutions or assist the local town, city, village or county officials in them or assist the district attorneys.
To appear by its counsel and represent the state in all matters before the tax appeals commission. Except as provided in ch. 72
and in s. 76.08 (1)
, the department of justice shall provide legal counsel to appear for the department in all courts, but with the consent of the attorney general a member of the staff of the department may appear for the department.
To settle and dispose of tax cases or issues pending before the tax appeals commission when, in the judgment of the department of revenue, such action is warranted in the best interests of the state; and, with the approval of the attorney general, to settle and dispose of tax cases or issues pending in the courts.
To enter into reciprocal agreements with the appropriate official in any other state having a similar law relating to information obtained from returns as authorized by s. 71.78 (3)
With regard to taxes and fees administered by the department, to write off from the records of the department tax, fee, and economic development surcharge liabilities, following a determination by the secretary of revenue that they are not collectible. Taxes written off under this subsection remain legal obligations.
To enter into contracts to collect delinquent Wisconsin taxes. The department shall allocate a portion of the amounts collected under ch. 78
through those contracts to the appropriation under s. 20.566 (1) (hm)
to pay contract and court costs. The department shall allocate the remainder of those collections to the transportation fund under s. 25.40
. The department shall allocate a portion of the amount collected under chs. 71
through those contracts to the appropriation under s. 20.566 (1) (hm)
to pay contract and court costs. The department shall allocate the remainder of those collections to the general fund.
To enter into a contract to participate in the multistate tax commission audit program. The department shall allocate a portion of the amount collected under chs. 71
through the contract to the appropriation under s. 20.566 (1) (hn)
to pay the fees necessary to participate in the multistate tax commission audit program. The department shall allocate the remainder of such collections to the general fund.
To participate as a member state of the streamlined sales tax governing board which administers the agreement, as defined in s. 77.65 (2) (a)
, and includes having the governing board enter into contracts that are necessary to implement the agreement on behalf of the member states, and to allocate a portion of the amount collected under ch. 77
through the agreement to the appropriation under s. 20.566 (1) (ho)
to pay the dues necessary to participate in the governing board. The department shall allocate the remainder of such collections to the general fund.
To enter into contracts for database and data processing services for audits of occasional sales of motor vehicles.
To provide on income tax forms a place for taxpayers to indicate the school district in which they reside and information that will assist persons in identifying the correct school district.
To analyze the data provided under sub. (29)
, after consultation with the department of public instruction and the legislative fiscal bureau, and to notify the presiding officers of the houses of the legislature and the cochairpersons of the joint committee on finance of the results of the analysis.
To compile and to furnish to the clerks of all taxation districts the information required under s. 74.09
To collect, as taxes under ch. 71
are collected, from each person who owes to the department of revenue delinquent taxes, fees, interest or penalties, a fee for each delinquent account equal to $35 or 6.5 percent of the taxes, fees, interest and penalties owed as of the due date specified in the assessment, notice of amount due or notice of redetermination on that account, whichever is greater. The department of revenue shall deposit into the general fund as general purpose revenue-earned all fees collected under this subsection.
To collect, as taxes under ch. 71
are collected, from each person who owes to the department of revenue delinquent taxes, fees, interest or penalties, a $20 fee for each delinquent taxpayer who enters into an agreement with the department of revenue to pay in installments the taxpayer's delinquent taxes, including fees, interest or penalties and to collect costs incurred to the department of revenue for court actions that are related to the collection of delinquent taxes. The department of revenue shall deposit into the general fund as general purpose revenue-earned all fees and costs collected under this subsection.
To extend any deadline in regard to the taxes it administers for persons designated in section 7508
(a) of the internal revenue code for the length of time specified in that section.
To deny a portion of a credit claimed under s. 71.07 (2dm)
, 71.28 (1dm)
, or (4) (am)
, 71.47 (1dm)
, or (4) (am)
, or 76.636
if granting the full amount claimed would violate a requirement under s. 238.385
or s. 560.785
, 2009 stats., or would bring the total of the credits granted to that claimant under all of those subsections over the limit for that claimant under s. 238.368
, 238.395 (2) (b)
, or 238.397 (5) (b)
or s. 560.768
, 2009 stats., s. 560.795 (2) (b)
, 2009 stats., or s. 560.797 (5) (b)
, 2009 stats.
To estimate revenues under subch. VII of ch. 77
and submit to the governor, the joint committee on finance and the chief clerk of each house of the legislature for distribution under s. 13.172 (2)
, not later than November 20 of each even-numbered year, a report of its estimate of those revenues for the current biennium and the following biennium.
To make refunds in connection with motor vehicles returned to the manufacturers by a consumer, as provided under s. 218.0171 (2) (e)
To require each operator of a swap meet, flea market, craft fair or similar event, as defined by rule, to report to the department the name, address, social security number and, if available, the seller's permit number of each vendor selling merchandise at the swap meet, flea market, craft fair or similar event that he or she operates. If any operator fails to comply with the requirements under this subsection, the department of revenue, after notifying that operator of its intent to do so, shall impose a penalty of $200 for the first failure and $500 for each subsequent failure. The department shall assess and collect the penalties under this subsection as it assesses and collects additional income and franchise taxes.
To include on the form on which a homestead credit is claimed information about the property tax deferral program.
To direct the assessor of any taxation district to deny specific claims for property tax exemption or to terminate specific existing property tax exemptions prospectively. After receiving such direction, the assessor shall enter the property on the next assessment roll.
To absolve a taxpayer of liability for interest and penalties if the taxpayer shows that the liability resulted because he or she relied on an erroneous, written statement made by an employee of the department acting in an official capacity and that the taxpayer had given the employee adequate and accurate information.
To provide the public with information concerning the availability of the earned income tax credit, and the availability of the federal earned income tax credit under section 32
of the internal revenue code, under criteria, and with a description of the methods that the department uses to provide the information, that the department shall promulgate as rules.
To appoint a farmland advisory council that shall do the following:
Advise the department of revenue on the supplement to the assessment manual's guidelines for assessing agricultural land, and on rules to implement use-value assessment of agricultural land and to reduce expansion of urban sprawl.
Annually report to the legislature on the usefulness of use-value assessment as a way to preserve farmland and to reduce the conversion of farmland to other uses.
Recommend a method to adjust the shared revenue formula and other formulas one factor of which is equalized value to compensate counties, municipalities and school districts that are adversely affected by use-value assessment.
Calculate the federal land bank's 5-year average capitalization rate and per-acre values based on estimated income generated from rental for agricultural use.
Carry out its duties in cooperation with the strategic growth task force of the governor's land use council.
The secretary of revenue, who shall serve as chairperson.
A person knowledgeable about agricultural lending practices.
An agricultural economist employed by the University of Wisconsin System.
A mayor of a city that has a population of more than 40,000.
With the approval of the joint committee on finance, to establish fees for obtaining a business tax registration certificate, which, except as provided in s. 73.0302
, is valid for 2 years, and for renewing that certificate and, except as provided in ss. 73.0302
, shall issue and renew those certificates if the person who wishes to obtain or renew a certificate does all of the following:
Applies on a form that the department prescribes.
Sets forth the name under which the applicant intends to operate, the location of the applicant's place of operations and the other information that the department requires.
In the case of an applicant who is an individual and who has a social security number, sets forth the social security number of the applicant or, in the case of an applicant who is an individual and who does not have a social security number, submits a statement made or subscribed under oath or affirmation that the applicant does not have a social security number. The form of the statement shall be prescribed by the department of children and families. A certificate issued in reliance upon a false statement submitted under this paragraph is invalid.
In the case of a sole proprietor, signs the form or, in the case of other persons, has an individual who is authorized to act on behalf of the person sign the form, or, in the case of a single-owner entity that is disregarded as a separate entity under section 7701
of the Internal Revenue Code, the person is the owner. If an owner elects under s. 77.58 (3) (a)
to file a separate electronic return for each of the owner's disregarded entities, each disregarded entity shall obtain a certificate under this subsection. Any person who may register under this subsection may designate an agent, as defined in s. 77.524 (1) (ag)
, to register with the department under this subsection in the manner prescribed by the department. In this paragraph, “sign" has the meaning given in s. 77.51 (17r)
To waive the fee established under sub. (50)
for applying for and renewing the business tax registration certificate, if the person who is applying for or renewing the certificate is not required for purposes of ch. 77
to hold such a certificate.
To enter into a memorandum of understanding with the department of children and families under s. 49.857
. The department of revenue shall suspend, refuse to issue or refuse to renew any certificate issued under sub. (50)
as provided in the memorandum of understanding entered into under s. 49.857
. Notwithstanding ss. 71.78
and 77.61 (5)
, the department of revenue shall disclose to the department of children and families the social security number of any applicant for a certificate issued under sub. (50)
as provided in the memorandum of understanding.
To revoke all permits, licenses and certificates that the department has issued to a person who fails timely to renew a certificate under sub. (50)
, and to reissue those permits, licenses and certificates if the person renews the certificate under sub. (50)
To enter into agreements with the Internal Revenue Service that provide for offsetting state tax refunds against federal tax obligations; and to charge a fee up to $25 per transaction for such offsets; and offsetting federal tax refunds against state tax obligations, and collecting the offset cost from the debtor, if the agreements provide that setoffs under ss. 71.93
occur before the setoffs under those agreements.
To enter into agreements with the federal department of the treasury that provide for offsetting state payments against federal nontax obligations; and to charge a fee up to $25 per transaction for such offsets; and offsetting federal payments, as authorized by federal law, against state tax and nontax obligations, and collecting the offset cost from the debtor, if the agreements provide that setoffs under par. (a)
and ss. 71.93
occur before the setoffs under this paragraph. The agreement shall provide that the federal department of the treasury may deduct a fee from each administrative offset and state payment offset. For purposes of this paragraph “administrative offset" is any offset of federal payments to collect state debts and “state payment offset" is any offset of state payments to collect federal nontax debts.
To enter into agreements with other states that provide for offsetting state tax refunds against tax and nontax obligations of other states, and of the local governmental units within those states, and offsetting tax refunds of other states against state tax and nontax obligations, if the agreements provide that setoffs under ss. 71.93
occur before the setoffs under those agreements.
To enter into agreements with federally recognized tribes located in this state that provide for offsetting state tax refunds against tribal obligations and to charge a fee up to $25 per transaction to the debtor for the administrative costs of such setoffs. The administrative costs collected under this subsection shall be credited to the appropriation under s. 20.566 (1) (h)
. Setoffs under ss. 71.93
, and 73.03 (52)
shall occur before setoffs under this subsection. Any legal proceeding to contest a setoff under this subsection shall be brought against the tribe under the process established by the tribe.
To enter into agreements with direct marketers about the collection of state and local sales taxes and use taxes.
To publish instructional material that provides information to persons who wish to object to valuations under s. 70.47
and to make available that material to taxation districts.
To provide or approve suitable training sessions at suitable times and instructional material for board of review members.
To work with the Internal Revenue Service and the University of Wisconsin-Extension to undertake a program that accomplishes all of the following:
Promotes volunteering among the state's financial and legal professionals in the volunteer income tax assistance program.