70.11 Annotation Property that on the assessment date was wholly vacant and unoccupied, and on which no construction had commenced, was not being readied for a benevolent use and was properly determined as not being used exclusively for benevolent purposes under sub. (4). Group Health Cooperative of Eau Claire v. DOR, 229 Wis. 2d 846, 601 N.W.2d 1 (Ct. App. 1999), 98-1264.
70.11 Annotation In applying the exempt lessee condition in the section introduction, a housing authority that subsidized low-income tenant's rent payments to a benevolent organization property owner cannot be found to be the tenant, which as a governmental entity would be entitled to property tax exemption. Under the established legal definition of lessee, the lessees are the low-income individuals to whom the benevolent organization rents. Columbus Park Housing Corp. v. City of Kenosha, 2003 WI 143, 267 Wis. 2d 59, 671 N.W.2d 633, 02-0699.
70.11 Annotation The standard under Sisters of Saint Mary that properties that are "reasonably necessary" to the operation of an exempt use are also exempt is restricted to hospitals subject to sub. (4m). UW Medical Foundation, Inc. v. City of Madison, 2003 WI App 204, 267 Wis. 2d 504, 671 N.W.2d 292, 02-1473.
70.11 Annotation Benevolent ownership of property is not enough to satisfy sub. (4) [now sub. (4) (a)]; benevolent use is also required. A property owner must detail its use of the property so that tax assessors know what type of activities, if any, are occurring on the property. Unsupported opinion testimony and generalized assertions about the purportedly benevolent use will not suffice. UW Medical Foundation, Inc. v. City of Madison, 2003 WI App 204, 267 Wis. 2d 504, 671 N.W.2d 292, 02-1473.
70.11 Annotation All provision of medical care is not "benevolent" merely because it makes the recipients better members of society by improving their physical and mental condition. A benevolent foundation that charged market rates for medical services, advertised extensively to promote them, and typically forbore collecting for its services only when accounts were deemed uncollectible was not engaged in a benevolent us of its clinic properties. UW Medical Foundation, Inc. v. City of Madison, 2003 WI App 204, 267 Wis. 2d 504, 671 N.W.2d 292, 02-1473.
70.11 Annotation For a claim under sub. (25) to survive summary judgment, the property owner must establish in the summary judgment record that there is, at a minimum, a factual dispute that the main purpose to which the properties were primarily devoted was one or more of medical research, physician education, or care for destitute individuals. UW Medical Foundation, Inc. v. City of Madison, 2003 WI App 204, 267 Wis. 2d 504, 671 N.W.2d 292, 02-1473.
70.11 Annotation "Commercial purposes" as used in sub. (4m) are those through which profits are made. Even if the property is reasonably necessary to the primary and secondary purposes of the hospital, a strict but reasonable construction of sub. (4m) indicates that property fails to qualify for the exemption if it nevertheless is used for a commercial purpose. FH Healthcare Development, Inc. v. City of Wauwatosa, 2004 WI App 182, 276 Wis. 2d 243, 687 N.W.2d 532, 03-2999.
70.11 Annotation A hospital seeking tax-exempt status for property under sub. (4m) (a) has the burden of showing a benefit to the functioning of the hospital, but no burden of showing that the benefit is not otherwise available. Assuming, without deciding, that partial exemptions are allowed, the portion of a hospital's child care center attributable to use by hospital employees is tax exempt. Whether the portion attributable to children whose parents are not hospital employees is exempt depends on whether the childrens' parents are reasonably necessary to the efficient functioning of the hospital as an organization. Saint Joseph's Hospital of Marshfield, Inc. v. City of Marshfield, 2004 WI App 187, 276 Wis. 2d 574, 688 N.W.2d 658, 03-1006.
70.11 Annotation The portion of sub. (12) (a) exempting from taxation property owned by Young Men's Christian Associations is constitutional. Lake Country Racquet and Athletic Club, Inc. v. Morgan, 2006 WI App 25, 289 Wis. 2d 498, 710 N.W.2d 701, 04-3061.
70.11 Annotation Sub. (42) is constitutional. Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. Department of Revenue, 2006 WI 88, 293 Wis. 2d 202, 717 N.W.2d 280, 04-0319.
70.11 Annotation Retaining legal title to land does not guarantee that a municipality will remain the owner of property for tax exemption purposes. Taxation or exemption depends not upon legal title but on the status of the owner of the beneficial interest in the property. "Owned" in sub. (2) means beneficial ownership, not mere technical title. Milwaukee Regional Medical Center v. City of Wauwatosa, 2007 WI 101, 304 Wis. 2d 53, 735 N.W.2d 156, 05-1160.
70.11 Annotation To qualify for a property tax exemption under sub. (4) [now sub. (4) (a)], a property owner must pass the following 5-part test: 1) the owner must be an educational association; 2) the property at issue must be owned and used exclusively for the purposes of the association; 3) the property must be less than 10 acres; 4) the property must be necessary for location and convenience of the buildings; and 5) the property must not be used for profit. An educational association must be a nonprofit organization substantially and primarily devoted to educational purposes and to traditional educational activities. Milwaukee Regional Medical Center v. City of Wauwatosa, 2007 WI 101, 304 Wis. 2d 53, 735 N.W.2d 156, 05-1160.
70.11 Annotation The tax commission reasonably relied on nontechnical dictionary definitions of the computer-related terms in sub. (39). The commission aptly noted that the terms at issue "are within the common lexicon, familiar to most people" and that the statute had a "more colloquial than technical tone." Based on these observations, the commission reasonably concluded that the computer terms at issue are not technical, and reasonably applied the general rule of construing the language in accord with its common and approved usage. Xerox Corporation v. DOR, 2009 WI App 113, 321 Wis. 2d 181, 772 N.W.2d 677, 772 N.W.2d 677, 07-2884.
70.11 Annotation The tax commission's conclusion that, to be exempt under sub. (39), a device must be an exempt item under sub. (39) and not merely contain an exempt item was reasonable. Xerox Corporation v. DOR, 2009 WI App 113, 321 Wis. 2d 181, 772 N.W.2d 677, 07-2884.
70.11 Annotation An exemption under sub. (4) depends on: 1) whether the residence is owned and used exclusively by the church; and 2) whether it is housing for any of 4 listed categories of persons, namely, pastors, ordained assistants, members of religious orders and communities, or ordained teachers. The exemption applies to a limited group who are members of a religious group and integral to the functioning of the church. It is not enough under sub. (4) or Midtown that a custodian's employment serves the church or is integral to the functioning of the church. The person must serve a religious leadership purpose. Wauwatosa Avenue United Methodist Church v. City of Wauwatosa, 2009 WI App 171, 321 Wis. 2d 796, 776 N.W.2d 280, 09-0202.
70.11 Annotation In applying the sub. (4m) (a) exemption for nonprofit hospitals, when an off-site facility is engaged in the primary purpose of a parent hospital the court examines only whether the off-site facility is "used exclusively for the purposes of" that hospital. When the circuit court determined that an outpatient clinic effectively served as a department of the larger parent hospital, the outpatient clinic was used exclusively for the purposes of a hospital and therefore qualified for the exemption under sub. (4m) (a). Covenant Healthcare System, Inc. v. City of Wauwatosa, 2011 WI 80, 336 Wis. 2d 522, 800 N.W.2d 906, 09-1469.
70.11 Annotation The determination of whether property is used as a "doctor's office" under sub. (4m) (a) ultimately turns on the facts of each case. Factors to be considered are discussed. That a clinic does not provide inpatient services, and that most patients are seen by physicians at the clinic by appointment during regular business hours is not determinative of a "doctor's office." Covenant Healthcare System, Inc. v. City of Wauwatosa, 2011 WI 80, 336 Wis. 2d 522, 800 N.W.2d 906, 09-1469.
70.11 Annotation In the context of not-for-profit entities, the definition of "commercial purposes" in sub. (4m) (a) is not limited to those purposes that generate profits. The more appropriate definition of commercial for the purposes of the not-for-profit hospital exemption is having profit as the primary aim. Not-for-profit entities may operate in such a fashion that generates revenues in excess of expenses. Covenant Healthcare System, Inc. v. City of Wauwatosa, 2011 WI 80, 336 Wis. 2d 522, 800 N.W.2d 906, 09-1469.
70.11 Annotation Under the sub. (4m) (a) exemption of hospital property from taxation if "no part of the net earnings . . . inures to the benefit of any shareholder, member, director or officer . . . ," the term "member" does not include not-for-profit entities. Covenant Healthcare System, Inc. v. City of Wauwatosa, 2011 WI 80, 336 Wis. 2d 522, 800 N.W.2d 906, 09-1469.
70.11 Annotation A nonprofit entity that is "operated as a facility that is licensed, certified, or registered under ch. 50" is eligible for the exemption under sub. (4) (a), whether or not the facility is benevolent. The word "benevolent," found within the clause "including benevolent nursing homes," clearly modifies "nursing homes"; it does not modify "facility." Beaver Dam Community Hospitals, Inc. v. City of Beaver Dam, 2012 WI App 102, 344 Wis. 2d 278, 822 N.W.2d 491, 11-1479.
70.11 Annotation The property tax exemption for pollution control facilities provided in sub. (21) (a) [now sub. (21) (am)] applies to pollution control facilities incorporated into new plants to be constructed, in addition to those installed to abate or eliminate existing pollution sources. 60 Atty. Gen. 154.
70.11 Annotation Preferential tax treatment may not be given to any organization that discriminates on the basis of race. Pitts v. Dept. of Revenue, 333 F. Supp. 662.
70.11 Annotation Tax exemption and religious freedom. 54 MLR 385.
70.11 Annotation What is Benevolence? Clarifying Wisconsin's Real Property Tax Exemption for Benevolent Organizations and the Argument for the "Retirement" of the Exemption for High-End Senior-Housing Complexes. Jaynes. 2006 WLR 1434.
70.1105 70.1105 Taxed in part.
70.1105(1)(1) Property that is exempt under s. 70.11 and that is used in part in a trade or business for which the owner of the property is subject to taxation under sections 511 to 515 of the internal revenue code, as defined in s. 71.22 (4m), shall be assessed for taxation at that portion of the fair market value of the property that is attributable to the part of the property that is used in the unrelated trade or business. This section does not apply to property that is leased by an exempt organization to another person or to property that is exempt under s. 70.11 (34).
70.1105(2) (2) Property, excluding land, that is owned or leased by a corporation that provides services pursuant to 15 USC 79 to a light, heat, and power company, as defined under s. 76.28 (1) (e), that is subject to taxation under s. 76.28 and that is affiliated with the corporation shall be assessed for taxation at the portion of the fair market value of the property that is not used to provide such services.
70.1105 History History: 1997 a. 35 s. 243; 2001 a. 16.
70.1105 Annotation Section 70.11 (intro.), and not s. 70.1105, applies if an exempt organization leases part of its property to a for-profit entity. Section 70.1105 applies if the exempt organization engages in for-profit activities. However the methodology for determining exemptions under each is the same. Deutsches Land, Inc. v. City of Glendale, 225 Wis. 2d 70, 591 N.W.2d 583 (1999), 96-2489.
70.111 70.111 Personal property exempted from taxation. The property described in this section is exempted from general property taxes:
70.111(1) (1)Jewelry, household furnishings and apparel. Personal ornaments and jewelry, family portraits, private libraries, musical instruments other than pianos, radio equipment, household furniture, equipment and furnishings, apparel, motor bicycles, bicycles, and firearms if such items are kept for personal use by the owner and pianos if they are located in a residence.
70.111(2) (2)Animals. Farm poultry, farm animals, bees and bee equipment and fur-bearing animals under 4 months of age and the hides and pelts of all farm and fur-bearing animals in the hands of the grower.
70.111(3) (3)Boats. Watercraft employed regularly in interstate traffic, watercraft laid up for repairs, all pleasure watercraft used for recreational purposes, commercial fishing boats and equipment that is used by commercial fishing boats, charter sailboats and charter boats, other than sailboats, that are used for tours.
70.111(3m) (3m)Charter sport fishing boats. Motorboats, and the equipment used on them, which are regularly employed in carrying persons for hire for sport fishing in and upon the outlying waters, as defined in s. 29.001 (63), and the rivers and tributaries specified in s. 29.2285 (2) (a) 1. and 2. if the owner and all operators are licensed under s. 29.512 or under s. 29.514 or both and by the U.S. coast guard to operate the boat for that purpose.
70.111(4) (4)Crops. Growing and harvested crops, and the seed, fertilizer and supplies used in their production or handling, in the hands of the grower, including nursery stock and trees growing for sale as such, medicinal plants, perennial plants that produce an annual crop and plants growing in greenhouses or under hotbeds, sash or lath. This exemption also applies to trees growing for sale as Christmas trees.
70.111(5) (5)Family supplies. Provisions and fuel to sustain the owner's family; but no person paying board shall be deemed a member of a family.
70.111(6) (6)Feed. Feed and feed supplements owned by the operator or owner of a farm and used in feeding on the farm and not for sale.
70.111(7) (7)Horses, etc. All horses, mules, wagons, carriages, sleighs, harnesses.
70.111(9) (9)Tools and garden machines. The tools of a mechanic if those tools are kept and used in the mechanic's trade; and garden machines and implements and farm, orchard and garden tools if those machines, implements and tools are owned and used by any person in the business of farming or in the operation of any orchard or garden. In this subsection, "machine" has the meaning given in sub. (10) (a) 2.
70.111(10) (10)Farm machinery and equipment.
70.111(10)(a)(a) In this subsection:
70.111(10)(a)1. 1. "Building" means any structure that is intended to be a permanent accession to real property; that is designed or used for sheltering people, animals or plants, for storing property or for working, office, parking, sales or display space, regardless of any contribution that the structure makes to the production process in it; that in physical appearance is annexed to that real property; that is covered by a roof or encloses space; that is not readily moved or disassembled; and that is commonly known to be a building because of its appearance and because of the materials of which it is constructed.
70.111(10)(a)2. 2. "Machine" means an assemblage of parts that transmits force, motion and energy from one part to another in a predetermined manner.
70.111(10)(b) (b) Tractors and machines; including accessories, attachments, fuel and repair parts for them; whether owned or leased, that are used exclusively and directly in farming; including dairy farming, agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and custom farming services; but not including personal property that is attached to, fastened to, connected to or built into real property or that becomes an addition to, component of or capital improvement to real property and not including buildings or improvements to real property, regardless of any contribution that that personal property makes to the production process in them and regardless of the extent to which that personal property functions as a machine.
70.111(10)(c) (c) For purposes of this subsection, the following items retain their character as tangible personal property, regardless of the extent to which they are fastened to, connected to or built into real property:
70.111(10)(c)1. 1. Auxiliary power generators.
70.111(10)(c)2. 2. Bale loaders.
70.111(10)(c)3. 3. Barn elevators.
70.111(10)(c)4. 4. Conveyors.
70.111(10)(c)5. 5. Feed elevators and augers.
70.111(10)(c)6. 6. Grain dryers and grinders.
70.111(10)(c)7. 7. Milk coolers.
70.111(10)(c)8. 8. Milking machines; including piping, pipeline washers and compressors.
70.111(10)(c)9. 9. Silo unloaders.
70.111(10)(c)10. 10. Powered feeders, but not including platforms or troughs constructed from ordinary building materials.
70.111(11) (11)Cheese. Natural cheese owned by the Wisconsin primary manufacturer or by any other person while in storage for the purpose of further aging in preparation for cutting, packaging or other processing.
70.111(14) (14)Milkhouse equipment. Milkhouse equipment used by a farmer, including mechanical can coolers, bulk tanks and hot water heaters. This exemption shall apply whether such equipment is deemed personal property or is so affixed to the realty as to be classified in the category of real estate.
70.111(17) (17)Merchants' stock-in-trade; manufacturers' materials and finished products; livestock. As of January 1, 1981, merchants' stock-in-trade, manufacturers' materials and finished products and livestock.
70.111(18) (18)Energy systems. Biogas or synthetic gas energy systems, solar energy systems, and wind energy systems. In this subsection, "biogas or synthetic gas energy system" means equipment which directly converts biomass, as defined under section 45K (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, as interpreted by the Internal Revenue Service, into biogas or synthetic gas, equipment which generates electricity, heat, or compressed natural gas exclusively from biogas or synthetic gas, equipment which is used exclusively for the direct transfer or storage of biomass, biogas, or synthetic gas, and any structure used exclusively to shelter or operate such equipment, or the portion of any structure used in part to shelter or operate such equipment that is allocable to such use, if all such equipment, and any such structure, is located at the same site, and includes manure, substrate, and other feedstock collection and delivery systems, pumping and processing equipment, gasifiers and digester tanks, biogas and synthetic gas cleaning and compression equipment, fiber separation and drying equipment, and heat recovery equipment, but does not include equipment or components that are present as part of a conventional energy system. In this subsection, "synthetic gas" is a gas that qualifies as a renewable resource under s. 196.378 (1) (h) 1. h. In this subsection, "solar energy system" means equipment which directly converts and then transfers or stores solar energy into usable forms of thermal or electrical energy, but does not include equipment or components that would be present as part of a conventional energy system or a system that operates without mechanical means. In this subsection, "wind energy system" means equipment which converts and then transfers or stores energy from the wind into usable forms of energy, but does not include equipment or components that would be present as part of a conventional energy system. Until the tax incremental district terminates, the exemption under this subsection for biogas or synthetic gas energy systems does not apply to property in existence on January 1, 2014, and located in a tax incremental financing district in effect on January 1, 2014.
70.111 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See also s. Tax 12.50, Wis. adm. code.
70.111(19) (19)Camping trailers, recreational mobile homes, and recreational vehicles.
70.111(19)(a)(a) Camping trailers as defined in s. 340.01 (6m).
70.111(19)(b) (b) Recreational mobile homes, as defined in s. 66.0435 (1) (hm), and recreational vehicles, as defined in s. 340.01 (48r). The exemption under this paragraph also applies to steps and a platform, not exceeding 50 square feet, that lead to a doorway of a recreational mobile home or a recreational vehicle, but does not apply to any other addition, attachment, deck, or patio.
70.111(20) (20)Logging equipment. All equipment used to cut trees, to transport trees in logging areas or to clear land of trees for the commercial use of forest products.
70.111(21) (21)Structures for ginseng. Any temporary structure in the hands of a grower of ginseng used or designed to be used to provide shade for ginseng plants.
70.111(22) (22)Rented personal property.
70.111(22)(a)(a) Except as provided in par. (b), personal property held for rental for periods of one month or less to multiple users for their temporary use, if the property is not rented with an operator, if the owner is not a subsidiary or affiliate of any other enterprise which is engaged in any business other than personal property rental, if the owner is classified in group number 735, industry number 7359 of the 1987 standard industrial classification manual published by the U.S. office of management and budget and if the property is equipment, including construction equipment but not including automotive and computer-related equipment, television sets, video recorders and players, cameras, photographic equipment, audiovisual equipment, photocopying equipment, sound equipment, public address systems and video tapes; party supplies; appliances; tools; dishes; silverware; tables; or banquet accessories.
70.111(22)(b) (b) Personal property held primarily for rental for periods of 364 days or less to multiple users for their temporary use, if the property is not rented with an operator, if the owner is not a subsidiary or affiliate of any other enterprise which is engaged in any business other than personal property rental, if the owner is classified under 532412 of the North American Industry Classification System, 2012 edition, published by the U.S. bureau of the census, and if the property is heavy equipment used for construction, mining, or forestry, including bulldozers, earthmoving equipment, well-drilling machinery and equipment, or cranes.
70.111(23) (23)Vending machines. All machines that automatically dispense food and food ingredient, as defined in s. 77.51 (3t), upon the deposit in the machines of specified coins or currency, or insertion of a credit card, in payment for the food and food ingredient, as defined in s. 77.51 (3t).
70.111(24) (24)Motion picture theater equipment. Projection equipment, sound systems and projection screens that are owned and used by a motion picture theater.
70.111(25) (25)Digital broadcasting equipment. Digital broadcasting equipment owned and used by a radio station, television station, or video service network, as defined in s. 66.0420 (2) (zb).
70.111(26) (26)High density sequencing systems.
70.111(26)(a)(a) In this subsection, "production process" has the meaning given in s. 70.11 (27) (a) 5., except that storage is not excluded.
70.111(26)(b) (b) A high density sequencing system that by mechanical or electronic operation moves printed materials from one place to another within the production process, organizes the materials for optimal staging, or stores and retrieves the materials to facilitate the production or assembly of such materials.
70.111 Annotation Personal property held out for rental is not "stock-in-trade" under sub. (17). Menomonee Falls v. Falls Rental World, 135 Wis. 2d 393, 400 N.W.2d 478 (Ct. App. 1986).
70.111 Annotation The exemption under sub. (9) applies only to personal property. Pulsfus v. Town of Leeds, 149 Wis. 2d 797, 440 N.W.2d 329 (1989).
70.111 Annotation "Interstate traffic" in sub. (3) means interstate commerce; what constitutes a boat in interstate commerce is discussed. Town of LaPointe v. Madeline Island Ferry, 179 Wis. 2d 726, 508 N.W.2d 440 (Ct. App. 1993).
70.111 Annotation A mobile home is an improvement to real property under s. 70.043 (1) when the home is resting for more than a temporary time, in whole or in part, on some other means of support than its wheels, but a mobile homes may be personal property and exempt under s. (19) (b) although it may have some weight off its wheels. Ahrens v. Town of Fulton, 2002 WI 29, 251 Wis. 2d 135, 641 N.W.2d 423, 99-2466.
70.111 Annotation In applying sub. (20), the use of the equipment rather than the primary purpose of the underlying business is the determining factor in deciding whether equipment is exempt from taxation. De minimis uses of the property are not sufficient to invoke this exemption. Village of Lannon v. Wood-Land Contractors, Inc. 2003 WI 150, 267 Wis. 2d 158, 672 N.W.2d 275, 02-0236.
70.111 Annotation Sub. (22) unambiguously expresses the legislature's clear intent to exempt rental property from taxation that is held for rental for one month or less and for property available for rental for more than one month to be taxed. There is no ambiguity in the statutory language such that it might possibly apply to property that is held for rental for one month or less and that is also available for rental for more than one month. United Rentals, Inc. v. City of Madison, 2007 WI App 131, 305 Wis. 2d 120, 741 N.W.2d 471, 05-1440.
70.111 Annotation As used in sub. (1), "kept for personal use" does not explicitly limit the use of personal property solely to personal use. The decisive question is whether the use is de minimus or inconsequential. Faydash v. City of Sheboygan, 2011 WI App 57, 332 Wis. 2d 397, 797 N.W.2d 540, 10-2073.
70.112 70.112 Property exempted from taxation because of special tax. The property described in this section is exempted from general property taxes:
70.112(1) (1)Money and intangible personalty. Money and all intangible personal property, such as credit, checks, share drafts, other drafts, notes, bonds, stocks and other written instruments.
70.112(4) (4)Special property and gross receipts taxes or license fees.
70.112(4)(a)(a) All special property assessed under ss. 76.01 to 76.26 and property of any light, heat, and power company taxed under s. 76.28, car line company, and electric cooperative association that is used and useful in the operation of the business of such company or association. If a general structure for which an exemption is sought under this section is used and useful in part in the operation of any public utility assessed under ss. 76.01 to 76.26 or of the business of any light, heat, and power company taxed under s. 76.28, car line company, or electric cooperative association and in part for nonoperating purposes of the public utility or company or association, that general structure shall be assessed for taxation under this chapter at the percentage of its full market value that fairly measures and represents the extent of its use for nonoperating purposes. Nothing provided in this paragraph shall exclude any real estate or any property which is separately accounted for under s. 196.59 from special assessments for local improvements under s. 66.0705.
70.112(4)(b) (b) If real or tangible personal property is used more than 50%, as determined by the department of revenue, in the operation of a telephone company that is subject to the tax imposed under s. 76.81, the department of revenue shall assess the property and that property shall be exempt from the general property taxes imposed under this chapter. If real or tangible personal property is used less than 50%, as determined by the department of revenue, in the operation of a telephone company that is subject to the tax imposed under s. 76.81, the taxation district in which the property is located shall assess the property and that property shall be subject to the general property taxes imposed under this chapter.
70.112(5) (5)Motor vehicles, bicycles, snowmobiles. Every automobile, motor bicycle, motor bus, motorcycle, motor truck, moped, road tractor, school bus, snowmobile, truck tractor, or other similar motor vehicle, or trailer or semitrailer used in connection therewith.
70.112(6) (6)Aircraft. Every aircraft.
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2011-12 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2013 Wis. Act 380 and all Supreme Court Orders entered before Oct. 4, 2014. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after Oct. 4, 2014 are designated by NOTES. (Published 10-4-14)