History: 1987 a. 399
Hearings, witnesses. 73.04(1)(1)
If any person unlawfully fails to obey any subpoena to appear before the department of revenue or before the tax appeals commission, or unlawfully refuses to testify, such failure or refusal shall be reported to the attorney general and the department of justice shall institute contempt proceedings against such person.
Officers who serve subpoenas, and witnesses attending hearings at the instance of the department, shall receive like compensation as officers and witnesses in the circuit court. Such compensation shall be charged to the proper appropriation for the department of revenue.
(3) Special investigations.
The department of revenue may appoint any employee to act for it to investigate and make report to the department upon any matter upon which the department is required to act, and such employee shall have authority to hold hearings, administer oaths, take testimony and perform all other duties necessary to bring such matter before the department for final adjudication and determination.
A taxpayer subpoenaed by the Department of Revenue has limited discovery rights. State v. Beno, 99 Wis. 2d 77
, 298 N.W.2d 405
(Ct. App. 1980).
Assessment districts; supervisors; duties. 73.05(1)(1)
The state shall be divided into income assessment districts, property assessment districts, by the department of revenue, but in no instance shall a county be divided.
The department of revenue shall select and appoint a supervisor of equalization for each property assessment district in the state. Each supervisor shall be a citizen and an elector of this state, but need not be a resident of the district in which appointed to serve. So far as practicable, preference shall be given in making such appointments to residents of the districts.
The department may transfer any supervisor of equalization from one district to another.
See also ss. Tax 1.01
, and 12.07
, Wis. adm. code.
Supervision of assessments; supervisors; appointments and duties. 73.06(1)(1)
The department of revenue, through its supervisors of equalization, shall have complete supervision and direction of the work of the local assessors. It shall annually, or more often if deemed necessary at a time which in its judgment is best calculated to obtain the ends sought, call a meeting of all local assessors for conference and instruction relative to their duties in the valuation and assessment of property. The department of revenue may also call a similar meeting of local clerks and other officials for conference and instruction relative to their duties in the valuation and assessment of property. Each official upon notice by mail from the supervisor shall attend the meeting, and shall receive travel expenses from his or her residence to the meeting site and return and the compensation and mileage that the board establishes, but not less than $5 per day and 6 cents per mile; except that in counties having a population of 750,000 or more, no compensation, travel expense or mileage shall be allowed. This compensation shall be paid out of the treasury of the county in which the local official resides upon the certificate of the supervisor of equalization showing attendance and travel, as certificates of witnesses and jurors are paid.
The department of revenue, through its supervisors of equalization shall have access to all public records, books, papers and offices throughout each district and shall make a full and complete examination of them and investigate all other matters and subjects relative to the assessment and taxation of general property therein.
The department of revenue, through its supervisors of equalization, shall examine and test the work of assessors during the progress of their assessments and ascertain whether any of them is assessing property at other than full value or is omitting property subject to taxation from the roll. The department and such supervisors shall have the rights and powers of a local assessor for the examination of persons and property and for the discovery of property subject to taxation. If any property has been omitted or not assessed according to law, they shall bring the same to the attention of the local assessor of the proper district and if such local assessor shall neglect or refuse to correct the assessment they shall report the fact to the board of review. All disputes between the department, municipalities, and property owners about the taxability or value of the property under s. 70.995 (12r)
shall be resolved by using the procedures under s. 70.995 (8)
If the department of revenue ascertains, or has good reason to believe, that any assessor is guilty of a violation of law, it may make a complaint to the circuit court for the removal of the assessor. The district attorney shall attend and prosecute the proceedings for removal.
The department of revenue through its supervisor of equalization shall make a report to the county board of each county showing in detail the work of local assessors in their several districts, the failure, if any, of such assessors to comply with the law, the relative assessed and full value of property in each taxation district, and all information and statistics that may be obtained. Such report shall be filed with the county clerk at least 15 days before the annual meeting of the county board.
The department of revenue shall call a meeting of the supervisors of equalization at the capitol at a specified time in each year, for a conference on the subjects of taxation and the administration of the laws, and for the instruction of such officers in their duties.
For purposes of this section “local assessor" includes the county assessors under s. 70.99
See s. 17.14
on removal of assessors from office.
See also ss. Tax 12.06
, Wis. adm. code.
The statutory duties under subs. (1) to (3) and s. 73.03 (3), (4), and (9) to (12) are broad grants of investigative and prosecutorial authority and are not the types of activities that can be compelled by mandamus, as each of these duties requires the Department of Revenue to use discretion, even if the existence of a violation is clear. In the area of criminal and civil investigative and enforcement activities, government actors invariably employ discretion so as to make those activities not amenable to mandamus relief absent a statute compelling a specific action under a specific set of facts. Klein v. DOR, 2020 WI App 56
, 394 Wis. 2d 66
, 949 N.W.2d 608
District offices, supplies, expenses. 73.07(1)(1)
Office furniture and equipment furnished to income assessment district and branch offices by counties prior to July 1, 1986, shall remain in those offices until the department of revenue determines that the furniture and equipment are no longer needed.
Office furniture and equipment furnished to supervisors of equalization prior to January 1, 1974, shall continue to be furnished until no longer required by them.
The county board of any county shall provide rooms for the use of the tax appeals commission upon the request of the chairperson of the commission. Hearings of the commission may also be held in the department's district income tax office when the chairperson of the commission deems it advisable.
Assessor certification. 73.09(1)(1)
Local assessment personnel.
The department of revenue shall establish by rule the level of certification under sub. (3)
, the continuing education requirements under sub. (4)
, examinations under sub. (5)
, and the requirements for and responsibilities associated with temporary certification under sub. (6)
for all assessors and assessment personnel of each local unit of government and for county assessor systems under s. 70.99
(2) Department of revenue assessment personnel.
The requirements established for local assessment personnel under sub. (1)
shall also apply to department of revenue assessment personnel. The division of personnel management in the department of administration with the assistance of the department of revenue shall determine the position classifications for which certification shall apply within the department of revenue. The first level of certification shall be obtained within a timeframe consistent with the department of revenue's employment practices. The department of revenue in consultation with the division of personnel management shall establish requirements for obtaining higher levels of assessor certification.
(3) Levels of certification.
The levels of certification for assessors and assessment personnel shall be commensurate with the degree of complexity of the various classes of property within each taxation district.
All certifications issued prior to January 1, 1981, are valid for 10 years from the date of issuance. All certifications issued on or after January 1, 1981, but before August 15, 1991, expire on the 6th June 1 following the date of issuance. All certifications issued on or after August 15, 1991, expire 5 years after the date on which they are issued.
Persons may be recertified by attending at least 4 of the previous 5 annual meetings called by the department of revenue under s. 73.06 (1)
and by meeting continuing education requirements determined by the department of revenue. The department of revenue may revoke a person's certification if the person fails to attend more than one annual meeting or fails to meet the continuing education requirements in any recertification cycle. The department may reinstate a certification revoked under this paragraph after a revocation period of no less than one year has expired if the person whose certification was revoked requests reinstatement, attends the next annual meeting under s. 73.06 (1)
following the date on which the department revoked the certification, and passes an examination under sub. (5)
Recertification is contingent upon submission of an application for renewal, at least 60 days before the expiration date of the current certificate, attesting to the completion of the requirements specified in par. (b)
. Persons applying for renewal on the basis of attendance at the meetings called by the department under s. 73.06 (1)
and by meeting continuing education requirements shall submit a recertification fee, in an amount determined by the department not to exceed $75, with their applications.
As provided in subs. (1)
, the department of revenue shall prepare and administer examinations for each level of certification. A person applying for an examination under this subsection shall submit an examination fee with the person's application. If the department administers and grades the examinations, the fee shall be the amount equal to the department's best estimate of the actual cost to administer and grade the examinations, but no greater than $75. If a test service provider administers and grades the examinations, the fee shall be the amount equal to the department's best estimate of the provider's actual cost to administer and grade the examinations, but no greater than $75. The department shall grant certification to each person who passes the examination for that level.
(6) Temporary certification.
As provided in subs. (1)
, the department of revenue shall promulgate rules for the temporary certification of the first level of certification and designate the functions that those persons may perform. The department of revenue may grant an individual a temporary certification that is valid for 90 days.
(6m) Social security numbers.
Each applicant for certification or recertification under this section shall provide the applicant's social security number on the application. The department of revenue may not disclose a social security number that it obtains under this subsection, except to the department of workforce development for the purpose of requesting certifications under s. 108.227
. The department of revenue may not certify or recertify any person who fails to provide his or her social security number on his or her application.
(7) Revocation of certification. 73.09(7)(a)
The secretary of revenue or a designee may revoke or suspend the certification of any assessor, assessment personnel, or expert appraiser for the practice of any fraud or deceit in obtaining certification, or any negligence, incompetence, or misconduct, including making a fraudulent change in the assessment roll after it is opened for examination under s. 70.47 (3)
. The secretary of revenue or the secretary's designee may require any assessor, assessment personnel, or expert appraiser to take corrective action in order to avoid the revocation or suspension of that person's certification for the activities described under this paragraph.
Charges of fraud, deceit, negligence, incompetence or misconduct may be made against any assessor, assessment personnel or expert appraiser by the department of revenue. Such charges shall be in writing, stating the specific acts, and submitted to the secretary of revenue. All charges shall be heard by the secretary within 3 months after their filing.
The time and place for such hearing shall be fixed by the secretary of revenue and a copy of the charges, together with a notice of the time and place of hearing, shall be given by personal service or by registered letter with return receipt requested, mailed to the last-known address of such expert appraiser, at least 30 days before the hearing. The expert appraiser so charged shall have the right to appear personally and by counsel, to cross-examine witnesses appearing against him or her, and to produce evidence and witnesses in his or her own defense.
If, after such hearing, the secretary of revenue determines that there is just cause for revocation, the secretary shall revoke the certificate of registration of the expert appraiser and notify the expert appraiser to that effect. The expert appraiser shall return his or her certificate to the secretary of revenue immediately on receipt of the notice. The action of the secretary of revenue may be reviewed under ch. 227
The secretary of revenue, for reasons sufficient, may reinstate a certificate of registration that has been revoked under this subsection, after one year upon formal application for reinstatement.
(7m) Liability for delinquent taxes. 73.09(7m)(a)
If the department of revenue determines that an applicant for certification or recertification under this section or a person who holds a certificate issued under this section is liable for delinquent taxes, as defined in s. 73.0301 (1) (c)
, the department of revenue may deny the application or revoke the certificate. Except as provided in par. (c)
, a denial or revocation under this paragraph is not subject to judicial review.
If the department of revenue denies an application or revokes a certificate under par. (a)
, the department shall mail a notice of denial or revocation to the applicant or certificate holder. The notice shall include a statement of the facts that warrant the denial or revocation and a statement that the applicant or certificate holder may, within 30 days after the date on which the notice of denial or revocation is mailed, file a written request with the department to have the determination that he or she is liable for delinquent taxes reviewed at a hearing under s. 73.0301 (5) (a)
If, after a hearing under s. 73.0301 (5) (a)
, the department of revenue affirms a determination under par. (a)
that an applicant or certificate holder is liable for delinquent taxes, the department shall affirm its denial or revocation. An applicant or certificate holder may seek judicial review under ch. 227
in the circuit court for Dane County of an affirmation by the department of a denial or revocation under this paragraph.
If, after a hearing under s. 73.0301 (5) (a)
, the department of revenue determines that a person whose certificate is revoked under par. (a)
is not liable for delinquent taxes, as defined in s. 73.0301 (1) (c)
, the department shall reinstate the certificate. The department may not charge a fee for reinstatement of a certificate under this paragraph.
(8) Liability for delinquent unemployment insurance contributions.
If the department of workforce development certifies under s. 108.227
that an applicant for certification or recertification under this section is liable for delinquent unemployment insurance contributions, the department of revenue shall deny the application for certification or recertification or revoke the certificate. A person subject to a denial or revocation under this subsection for delinquent unemployment insurance contributions is entitled to a notice under s. 108.227 (2) (b) 1. b.
and hearing under s. 108.227 (5) (a)
but is not entitled to any other notice or hearing under this chapter.
Municipal finance. 73.10(1)(1)
In this section “department" means the department of revenue.
The department shall collect annually from all town, city, village, county, and other public officers all of following:
Information regarding the collection of taxes, receipts from licenses, and other sources.
Information regarding the expenditure of public funds for all purposes.
Any other information that is considered necessary by the department.
Information collected under subd. 1.
shall be on forms prescribed by the department that include any requirements under par. (b)
. All public officers requested to provide information under subd. 1.
shall properly complete and promptly return to the department all forms transmitted to them by the department.
The department shall examine all town, village, city, county, and other public records that the department considers necessary. The department shall publish annually the information collected under this paragraph, with any compilations, analyses, or recommendations that the department determines are necessary. The department shall disseminate information concerning local government accounting, auditing, and fiscal matters.
The department may require by rule all of the following:
That the information it needs under par. (a)
be submitted as annual financial statements, notes to the financial statements, and supporting schedules.
That the statements, notes, and schedules under subd. 1. a.
conform to generally accepted accounting principles promulgated by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board or its successor bodies.
That the statements, notes, and schedules under subd. 1. a.
be audited in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards.
Beginning in 2021, each municipality that is eligible to receive a payment under s. 79.097
shall submit with the information required under pars. (a)
the actual annual revenues received under s. 66.0420 (7)
The department may inspect and examine or cause an inspection and examination of the records of any town, city, village, county or other public officer whenever such officer fails or neglects to return properly the information required by sub. (2)
within the time specified under s. 86.303 (5) (c)
The officers responsible for the furnishing of information collected pursuant to this section shall be jointly and severally liable for any loss the town, city, village, county or other local public body, board, commission or agency suffers through their delinquency; and no payment shall be made them for salary, or on any other accounts, until the total amount of charges for such inspection and examination as provided in sub. (6)
has been paid into the treasury of the regular county or other local public body, board, commission or agency.
The department may inquire into the system of accounting of public funds in use by towns, villages, cities, counties and all other local public bodies, boards, commissions, departments or agencies except technical college districts and school districts; devise a system of accounts which is as nearly uniform as practicable; and audit the books of the town, village, city, county or other local public body, board, commission, department or agency, or any municipal electric utility upon its own motion.
The department may establish a scale of charges for audits, inspections, and other services rendered by the department in connection with financial records or procedures of towns, villages, cities, counties, and all other local public bodies, boards, commissions, departments, or agencies. Upon the completion of such work or, at the department's discretion, during work in progress, the department shall transmit to the clerk of the town, village, city, county, or other local public body, board, commission, department, or agency a statement of such charges. Duplicates of the statements shall be filed in the office of the secretary of administration. Within 60 days after the receipt of the above statement of charges, it shall be audited as other claims against towns, villages, cities, counties, and other local public bodies, boards, commissions, departments, or agencies are audited, and it shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the appropriation under s. 20.566 (2) (gi)
. Past due accounts of towns, villages, cities, counties, and all other local public bodies, boards, commissions, departments, or agencies shall be certified on or before the 4th Monday of August of each year and included in the next apportionment of state special charges to local units of government.
See also ch. Tax 16
, Wis. adm. code.
Set off of payments to vendors. 73.12(1)(1)
In this section:
“Tax" means an amount that is owed to this state under ch. 71
and any addition to tax, interest, penalties or other liability in respect to those amounts and that has been reduced to a tax warrant or in respect to which the time limit for appeal has passed.
(2) Request for setoff.
The department of revenue may request the department of administration to proceed under sub. (3)
against any vendor who owes a tax. A request under this subsection consists of identification of the vendor and of the vendor's contracts with this state and notice to the vendor of the request for a setoff.
Upon receipt of a request under sub. (2)
, the department of administration shall begin to set off against amounts owed by this state to a vendor taxes owed to this state by that vendor until those taxes are paid in full. If the secretary of administration determines, within 30 days after receipt of a request for setoff, that the vendor against whom setoff is requested is either an essential supplier of critical commodities or the only vendor from whom a necessary good or service can be obtained and notifies the secretary of revenue of that determination, the department of administration shall waive the right of setoff and the department of administration shall pay to the vendor the amounts set off. The department of administration shall, within 30 days after the end of each calendar quarter, transfer to the department of revenue the taxes set off during the previous calendar quarter for deposit in the general fund, or in the transportation fund in respect to taxes owed under ch. 78
, and shall notify the department of revenue of the amounts set off against each vendor.
(4) Application of proceeds.
Upon notice under sub. (3)
, the department of revenue shall reduce on its books the liability of the vendor by the amount set off. The department shall reduce the principal amount of tax liability and related amounts beginning with the liability of longest standing and proceeding chronologically to the most recent liability. In respect to each principal amount of liability and related amounts, the department of revenue shall reduce amounts in the order provided in s. 71.91 (5) (k)
(5) Liability precluded.
Exchange of information required to administer this section does not result in liability under s. 71.78
, 77.61 (5)
, 78.80 (3)
or 139.38 (6)
. The department of administration is not liable to any vendor because of setoffs under this section.
(6) Preservation of other remedies.
The availability of the remedy under this section does not abridge the rights of the department of revenue to proceed under ss. 71.80 (12)
, 71.91 (1) (a)
(7) Tax identification information.
The department of administration may collect from vendors and provide to the department of revenue any tax identification information that the department of revenue requires to administer the program under this section.
Reducing nondelinquent taxes.