75.195 History History: 1981 c. 322; 1987 a. 378.
75.20 75.20 Limitations on certificates and issue of deeds; life of tax certificate liens.
75.20(1)(1)Tax certificates; when void. Tax certificates shall be void after 11 years following December 31 of the year in which such certificates were dated.
75.20(2) (2)County treasurer to cancel all outlawed taxes. No deed shall be issued or action commenced on any tax certificate whatever after it shall have become void by virtue of the statute of limitations provided in this section. The interest in the land represented by such certificate shall terminate upon the last date upon which a deed could have been issued thereon, or an action could have been commenced thereon if no summons and complaint was served and filed prior to such date. The county treasurer shall cancel all tax certificates which have become void by limitation and shall make an entry in the treasurer's record of unredeemed property subject to a tax certificate evidencing such cancellation.
75.20(3) (3)Certification of cancellation to local treasurer. Whenever the county treasurer shall cancel a tax certificate which has become void by virtue of any statutes of limitation the county treasurer shall within 30 days thereafter in writing certify such cancellation to the proper town, city or village treasurer who shall make entry thereof in his or her records. Such cancellation need not be so certified in cases where the county has settled in full with the town, city or village.
75.20(4) (4)Stay by injunction not part of limitation. When the issuing of a deed on a tax certificate or certificates or the commencement of an action thereon shall be stayed by injunction, the time of the continuance of such injunction shall not be a part of the time hereinabove limited in this section as the life of a tax certificate.
75.20 History History: 1975 c. 198; 1981 c. 390 s. 252; 1983 a. 189; 1987 a. 378.
75.22 75.22 Validity; immaterial errors. If after the issuance of a tax certificate or conveyance to the county of any lands subject to a tax certificate and within the time hereinafter prescribed it shall be discovered that the certificate was invalid, the county board shall make an order, briefly stating the reason therefor, directing that the certificate, as it applies to the affected lands, or deed be canceled. But no certificate or conveyance shall be deemed invalid within the meaning of this section by reason of any mistake or irregularity in any of the tax proceedings not affecting the groundwork of the tax; nor shall any county be liable to pay or refund any moneys by reason of any such mistake or irregularity.
75.22 History History: 1987 a. 378.
75.22 Annotation A defect in the groundwork of the tax means a defect or irregularity that necessarily affects the principle of the tax and shows that it must be unjust and unequal or an illegality or irregularity that results in an inequitable burden. In order for a county to argue that it has the authority to set aside a tax deed under this section, it would be required to show the property was inequitably taxed resulting in the property owner paying more than its equitable share of the tax. Jackson County v. DNR, 2006 WI 96, 293 Wis. 2d 497, 717 N.W.2d 713, 04-2582.
75.23 75.23 Canceled deeds, certificates of county clerk. Whenever the county board shall order the cancellation of any tax deed, the county clerk shall furnish to the owner of the lands described in such deed, upon request therefor, a certificate in writing, executed under the clerk's hand and official seal, stating the fact of such cancellation, the date thereof, the description of the lands as to which such deed is canceled, the date of such deed, the date of the issuance of the tax certificate upon which such deed is based and the reason for such cancellation. Such certificate may be recorded in the office of the register of deeds of the county where the lands therein described are located, and such record shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated and of the cancellation of the tax deed therein mentioned as to the lands therein described.
75.23 History History: 1987 a. 378.
75.24 75.24 Limitation, claims under illegal deed or certificate. Every action brought or claim presented against any county for the recovery of any sum of money on account of any defective or void tax certificate or tax deed made or issued by any such county shall be commenced or presented during the life of such tax certificates on which such deed was issued in accordance with the limitations as provided in s. 75.20; and whenever an action relating to the validity of a tax certificate or tax deed shall have been commenced within the time above limited and a final judgment shall not be rendered in such action until after the expiration of the time so limited, in such case an action may be commenced or claim presented on account of such certificate or deed within one year after final judgment declaring the same void.
75.24 History History: 1987 a. 378.
75.25 75.25 Lien of reassessed tax.
75.25(1)(1)If the county board, on making an order directing the refunding of money on account of the invalidity of any tax certificate or tax deed, shall be satisfied that the lands described in such certificate or deed were justly taxable for such tax or some portion thereof, it shall fix the amount of such tax justly chargeable thereon on each parcel thereof, and direct the same to be assessed in the next assessment of county taxes, with interest thereon at the same rate that would have applied had the tax been collected before the tax certificate was issued, or the land been redeemed from the time when such tax was due and payable to the end of the tax levy year in which such tax will be placed on the tax roll as a reassessment; and the county clerk, in the clerk's next apportionment of county taxes, shall charge the same as a special tax to the town, city or village in which such lands are situated, specifying the particular tract of land upon which the same are to be assessed and the amount chargeable to each parcel and the year when the original tax was assessed, and certify the same to the clerk of the proper town, city or village; and the clerk receiving such certificate shall enter the same on the tax roll accordingly. The lien of any tax reassessed as provided in this section shall attach to the land as of the date when such tax as originally levied became a lien and shall continue and constitute the lien of any tax certificate issued upon such lands for such reassessed tax. Such lien shall be superior to the lien of any tax certificate issued upon such land dated after the date of the lien of such reassessed tax but prior to the date of the tax certificate issued upon such land for such reassessed tax.
75.25(2) (2)Whenever the county board cancels a defective or void tax certificate or tax deed and such lands cannot be justly taxed for the item in question, the county clerk shall charge the respective town, city or village wherein such lands are situated in the clerk's next apportionment of county taxes with the amount of the refund, if any, occasioned by the invalidity of such tax certificate or tax deed. That charge shall be in the amount of the tax without interest.
75.25 History History: 1987 a. 378.
75.26 75.26 Limitation.
75.26(1)(1)Grantee in deed.
75.26(1)(a)(a) No action may be maintained by the grantee or anyone claiming under the grantee to recover the possession of any land or any interest in land which has been conveyed by deed for the nonpayment of taxes unless one of the following conditions is met:
75.26(1)(a)1. 1. The action is brought within 3 years next after the date of the execution of the deed.
75.26(1)(a)2. 2. The land demanded is, when conveyed, vacant and unoccupied and remains so, unless the action is brought within 3 years next after the date of the recording of the deed.
75.26(1)(a)3. 3. The grantee or those claiming under the grantee have been in actual, not constructive, possession of the land demanded for 3 successive years during the 5 years next after the recording of the deed.
75.26(1)(b) (b) Notwithstanding par. (a), if the former owner takes possession of any land conveyed by deed for the nonpayment of taxes at any time within the 3 months after the expiration of 3 years from the date of the execution of the deed, the grantee in the tax deed or those claiming under the grantee may bring and maintain an action to recover possession of the land at any time within the 3 months after the expiration of 3 years from the date of the execution of the deed.
75.26(2) (2)Tax deed voided. If the original owner, or anyone claiming under the original owner, of lands that have been conveyed by deed for the nonpayment of taxes, pays the taxes assessed against the lands continuously for the 5 years after the execution of the tax deed, without actual notice of the existence of the tax deed, the tax deed is void.
75.26 History History: 1991 a. 316; 1997 a. 253; 2017 a. 365 s. 111.
75.27 75.27 Limitation on former owner. No action shall be maintained by the former owner or any person claiming under the former owner to recover the possession of any land or any interest therein which shall have been conveyed by deed for the nonpayment of taxes or to avoid such deed against any person claiming under such deed unless such action shall be brought within 3 years next after the recording of such deed. Whenever any such action shall be commenced upon any tax deed heretofore or hereafter issued after the expiration of 3 years from the date of the recording of such deed, such deed, if executed substantially in the form prescribed by law for the execution of tax deeds, shall be conclusive evidence of the existence and legality of all proceedings from and including the assessment of the property for taxation up to and including the execution of such deed.
75.27 History History: 1991 a. 316.
75.28 75.28 Application of all limitations.
75.28(1)(1)The limitation for bringing actions under s. 75.27 or any other limitation in favor of a tax deed or a tax certificate, except in case of actual possession founded on a tax deed or as otherwise provided in this section, does not apply in the following cases:
75.28(1)(a) (a) If the taxes for the nonpayment of which the land was included in a tax certificate and the tax deed executed were paid prior to the inclusion of the land in the tax certificate.
75.28(1)(b) (b) If the land was redeemed as provided by law.
75.28(1)(c) (c) If the land was exempt from taxation.
75.28(1)(d) (d) If a single tax deed only has been issued and the original owner has, before the issuance of the tax deed, paid all taxes levied against the land for the 3 years after the year for which the land was returned delinquent and sold.
75.28(2) (2)
75.28(2)(a)(a) The tax deed grantee or the assigns of the tax deed grantee may, at any time after the tax deed is issued and recorded, serve a notice on the owner of record of the original title stating that the grantee or assigns hold a tax deed on the land of the original owner and giving a description of the land so deeded and a reference to the document number of the tax deed and, if a volume and page number is assigned, the volume and page where the tax deed is recorded. The notice shall be served in the same manner as a summons in a court of record or by registered mail, addressed to the owner of record. Proof of service of the notice shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the county in which the lands are situated.
75.28(2)(b) (b) If the post-office address of the owner of record of the original title is unknown, the tax deed grantee, or the assigns of the tax deed grantee, may file in the office of the county clerk of the county in which the lands are situated an affidavit that he, she or they are unable, with due diligence, to make personal service of the notice or to ascertain the post-office address of the former owner. Upon filing the affidavit, the tax deed grantee, or the assigns of the tax deed grantee, may publish the notice as a class 3 notice, under ch. 985, in the county where the land described in the tax deed is located. Proof of publication of the notice shall be filed in the office of the county clerk.
75.28(3) (3)
75.28(3)(a)(a) If the notice described in sub. (2) is served and filed, or if the notice is published and proof of publication is filed, 30 days or more before the expiration of 3 years from the date of recording the tax deed, the limitation provided by s. 75.27 applies. If the notice is not so served and filed, or if the notice is not published and proof of publication is not filed, the limitation under s. 75.27 is extended until the expiration of 30 days after the day on which the notice is served and filed or published and proof filed.
75.28(3)(b) (b) In any action brought by the original owner to set aside a tax deed after the service or publication and filing of the notice described in sub. (2), the original owner, in case the original owner prevails, shall as a condition of relief pay to the tax deed claimant the sum of $5 for each description and the costs of serving or publishing the notice, in addition to all other costs and charges now provided for by law. The provisions of law regulating costs and charges for the service of a summons in a court of record apply to and govern the amount that may be charged for the service or publication of the notice.
75.28 History History: 1987 a. 378; 1991 a. 316; 1997 a. 253; 2017 a. 102.
75.285 75.285 Action; condition precedent. No action or proceeding shall be maintained by the former owner or any person claiming under the former owner, based upon the invalidity of any tax certificate or tax deed due to the failure of the county treasurer to give notice under s. 74.59, unless there is deposited with the clerk of circuit court, at the time the action is commenced under s. 801.02, an amount of money equal to either the full amount of all delinquent taxes currently outstanding against the parcel of property which is the subject of the action, plus interest and penalty under s. 74.47, or if the county has taken a tax deed, the full amount payable under s. 75.36 (3) (a) and (b). The deposited funds shall be held by the clerk of circuit court and paid out as directed by the judgment in the action or proceeding.
75.285 History History: 1981 c. 390; 1987 a. 378.
75.29 75.29 Actions of ejectment, when barred.
75.29(1)(1)Subject to sub. (2), no action to quiet title, to remove a cloud on title; to cancel, to annul or to set aside any tax deed; of ejectment, of trespass, of waste or for other injury to land shall be brought as to lands purporting to be conveyed by a tax deed void on its face after the expiration of 3 years from the time of the recording of the deed.
75.29(2) (2)The limitation period under sub. (1) does not apply unless each of the following occurs:
75.29(2)(a) (a) The original owner or those claiming under the original owner have failed to pay or redeem all of the taxes levied on the lands from the time of the levy of the tax for the nonpayment of which the tax deed was issued to the time of the recording of the tax deed.
75.29(2)(b) (b) The grantee in the tax deed or those claiming under the grantee in the tax deed have paid or redeemed all of the taxes levied on the lands for the 3 years after the recording of the tax deed.
75.29 History History: 1991 a. 316; 1997 a. 253.
75.30 75.30 Action by original owner if deed is void, when barred. No action may be brought by the original owner for the recovery of lands purporting to be conveyed for the nonpayment of taxes by a deed void on its face after the expiration of 5 years from the date of the recording of the tax deed, if the grantee in the tax deed has taken actual possession of the land within 2 years after the recording of the tax deed and has actually and continuously maintained possession of the lands to the end of the 5-year period from the recording of the deed.
75.30 History History: 1997 a. 253.
75.31 75.31“ Possession" defined. What shall constitute a possession of lands within the meaning of ss. 75.26 to 75.30 and the extent of such possession shall be governed by the rules prescribed for determining an adverse possession by a person claiming title founded upon a written instrument.
75.32 75.32 Taxation and sale of lands held by counties. Real property upon which the county holds a tax certificate shall continue liable to taxation, but when a tax deed shall be issued to the county such property shall thereafter be exempt from taxation until the same is sold by the county. The county clerk shall annually, before February 1, furnish to the assessors of each town a list of the lands in such town exempt under this section. Nothing in this section shall be so construed as to apply to lands owned by minors or persons adjudged mentally incompetent.
75.32 History History: 1977 c. 29 s. 1647 (6); 1977 c. 83, 203; 1987 a. 378.
75.35 75.35 Sale of tax-deeded lands; purchase of adjacent lands.
75.35(1)(1)Definition. In this section “tax-deeded lands" means lands which have been acquired by a county through enforcement of the collection of delinquent taxes by tax deed, foreclosure of tax certificate, deed in lieu of tax deed, action in rem under s. 75.521 or other means.
75.35(2) (2)Power of county to sell tax-deeded lands.
75.35(2)(a)(a) Except as provided in s. 75.69, any county shall have the power to sell and convey its tax-deeded lands in such manner and upon such terms as the county board may by ordinance or resolution determine, including without restriction because of enumeration, sale by land contract, or by quitclaim or warranty deed with mortgage from vendee to secure any unpaid balance of the purchase price. Such mortgage may be foreclosed in the same manner as any other mortgage. The title to lands conveyed by land contract shall remain in the county until fully paid for and in the event of default in such payment the county may foreclose the land contract with costs and reasonable attorney fees. When such land contract runs to a person or private corporation, the lands therein conveyed shall be placed on the tax roll and be subject to taxation the same as though absolute title thereto was vested in the purchaser under such land contract. Such purchaser shall be liable to pay all taxes against such land and in the event of failure to make such payment the county may pay the same and add the sum so paid to the amount due on the land contract.
75.35(2)(c) (c) Any conveyance by land contract or deed or satisfaction of mortgage shall be executed by the county clerk under the clerk's hand and the seal of the county.
75.35(2)(d) (d) The county board may delegate its power to manage and sell tax-deeded lands to a committee constituted of such personnel and in such manner and compensated at such rate as the county board may by ordinance determine, provided that the compensation and mileage of county board members serving on such committee shall be limited and restricted as provided in s. 59.13 (2), or the county board may delegate the power of acquisition, management and sale of tax-deeded lands or any part of such power to such officer and departments of the county as the county board may by ordinance determine. Such ordinance shall prescribe the policy to be followed in the acquisition, management and sale of tax-deeded land and shall prescribe generally the powers and duties of such committee, officers, departments, employees and agents. The county board is authorized to engage licensed real estate brokers and salespersons to assist in selling such lands and pay a commission for such service and to advertise such sale in such manner as it deems proper. The county board may appropriate such sums of money as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.
75.35(2)(e) (e) Any county acting either by its board or by delegated authority as provided in this section may sell and convey tax-deeded lands to the former owner or owners thereof and such conveyance shall not operate to revive any tax certificate lien or any other lien whatsoever which was cut off and rendered void by the tax deed, foreclosure of tax certificate, deed in lieu of tax deed, action in rem under s. 75.521 or other means by which the county acquired title to such land, nor shall it revive the lien of any tax certificate or tax dated subsequently to the date on which the county acquired its title. The enactment into statute law of the provisions of this paragraph shall not be deemed an expression of legislative intent that the prior common law of this state was otherwise than as herein provided.
75.35(2)(f) (f) If special assessments, as defined in s. 75.36 (1), levied on the tax-deeded land have not been settled in full under s. 74.29 or otherwise paid to the taxing jurisdiction that levied the special assessments, the taxing jurisdiction may purchase the tax-deeded land by notifying the county of its intent to do so at any time within one year after the period of redemption has expired but prior to the date upon which the tax-deeded land is sold to another person by the county. The amount for which the tax-deeded land may be purchased shall be the sum of the following:
75.35(2)(f)1. 1. All expenses incurred by the county to obtain marketable title to the property, except that the time of county employees and officers may not be included in those expenses. The county may establish a reasonable estimate of the average cost to obtain marketable title to property which it may use instead of determining the actual costs for any parcel sold by the county.
75.35(2)(f)2. 2. All amounts of unpaid general property taxes, special assessments, special charges and special taxes levied against the property sold, including interest and penalties imposed under s. 74.47 previously paid to taxing jurisdictions by the county.
75.35(2)(f)3. 3. Any withdrawal tax and any withdrawal fee due under s. 77.84 (3) (b).
75.35(2)(f)4. 4. Any unpaid special assessments or special charges that were not levied by the taxing jurisdiction purchasing the tax-deeded land. The county shall pay any amounts received under this subdivision to the taxing jurisdiction which levied the special assessment or special charge.
75.35(3) (3)Preference to former owner to repurchase. The county board may, at its option, by ordinance provide that in the sale of tax-deeded lands, the former owner who lost his or her title through delinquent tax collection enforcement procedure, or his or her heirs, may be given such preference in the right to purchase such lands as such ordinance shall provide. Such ordinance may provide that such sale be exempt from any or all provisions of s. 75.69 if the net proceeds from the sale to the former owner as determined under s. 75.36 (3) will be sufficient to pay all special assessments and special charges to which the property is subject, including interest imposed under s. 74.47, or if the county settles in full with the taxing jurisdiction for special assessments, as defined in s. 75.36 (1), to which the property is subject. Such ordinance shall not apply to tax-deeded lands which have been improved for or dedicated to a public use by the county subsequent to its acquisition thereof.
75.35(4) (4)Purchase of adjacent lands. A county may purchase lands adjacent to tax-deeded lands in cases where the county board determines that such purchase will improve the salability of such tax-deeded lands or will create access to streets or highways for lands lacking such access.
75.35(7) (7)Liability precluded. Absent fraud, no county is liable for acts or omissions associated with the sale of property under this section.
75.35 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See s. 59.52 (6) for power of county to direct county clerk to sell or contract for sale and conveyance of land owned by county, whether acquired by tax deed or otherwise.
75.35 Annotation An ordinance under sub. (3) allowed a mortgagor to reacquire foreclosed property free of the mortgage lien. Bank of Commerce v. Waukesha County, 89 Wis. 2d 715, 279 N.W.2d 237 (1979).
75.36 75.36 County acquisition and sale of property.
75.36(1)(1)Definition. In this section, “special assessments" means unpaid installments of special assessments which were levied on real property prior to the date that the county acquired the real property by taking of a tax deed under this chapter. “Special assessments" includes amounts delinquent when the property became subject to a tax certificate, installments which became delinquent during the time the property is subject to a tax certificate and all installments payable after the date the county takes a tax deed under this chapter. “Special assessments" does not include unpaid amounts of special assessments deferred under s. 66.0715 (2), unless the taxing jurisdiction has acted under s. 66.0715 (2) (b).
75.36(2) (2)Acquisition of property by county, effect on liabilities.
75.36(2)(a)(a) If property is acquired by a county taking a tax deed under this chapter, the county is not required to pay any special charges or special assessments until the property is sold by the county. In the case of lands designated as forest croplands or managed forest lands, the county is not required to pay any taxes under s. 77.04 until the forest crop is cut. The liens of the tax certificate and of all general property taxes, special assessments, special charges and special taxes levied against the property shall merge in the county's title.
75.36(2)(b) (b) If the county did not settle for unpaid special assessments or special charges under s. 74.29, the county treasurer shall notify all taxing jurisdictions that the county has acquired the property under this chapter. Each taxing jurisdiction shall certify to the county treasurer the unpaid special assessments and special charges to which the property is subject.
75.36(2)(c) (c) If the county's title to the lands taken by tax deed is adjudged to be void, the county shall reinstate any canceled taxes and any liens previously merged under par. (a).
75.36(2m) (2m)Notice; proceeds. Upon acquisition of a tax deed under this chapter if sub. (4) applies, the county treasurer shall notify the former owner, by registered mail or certified mail sent to the former owner's mailing address on the tax bill, that the former owner may be entitled to a share of the proceeds of a future sale. If the former owner does not request, in writing, payment within 60 days after receipt of that notice, the former owner forfeits all claim to those proceeds. If the former owner timely requests payment, the county shall send to the former owner the proceeds identified in sub. (3) (c) minus any delinquent taxes, interest and penalties owed by the former owner to the county in regard to other property and minus the greater of the following amounts:
75.36(2m)(a) (a) Five hundred dollars plus 50 percent of the amount obtained by subtracting $500 from the proceeds identified in sub. (3) (c).
75.36(2m)(b) (b) The actual costs of the sale as specified under sub. (3) (a) plus 2 percent of the sale price plus all amounts disbursed under sub. (3) (b) and plus the amount of property taxes that would have been owed on the property for the year during which the sale occurs if the county had not acquired the property.
75.36(3) (3)Distribution of proceeds of sale. If a county sells property that was acquired by taking of a tax deed under this chapter, the county treasurer shall do all of the following:
75.36(3)(a) (a) Determine the net proceeds from the sale of the property by subtracting from the sale price all of the following:
75.36(3)(a)1. 1. The following costs, including personnel costs associated with them: foreclosure costs, record-keeping costs, legal costs, advertising costs and title insurance costs. A county may establish a reasonable estimate of the average costs under this subdivision incurred with respect to property sold after the taking of a tax deed which it may use instead of determining the actual costs for any parcel sold by the county.
75.36(3)(a)1m. 1m. The following actual costs, including personnel costs associated with them: maintenance costs that are required for compliance with building codes or health orders, board-up costs, clean-up costs, demolition costs and all other costs that are reasonable and necessary to sell the property except costs under subd. 2.
75.36(3)(a)2. 2. The amount of real estate agent or broker fees paid for selling the property.
75.36(3)(a)3. 3. All amounts of unpaid general property taxes, special assessments, special charges and special taxes levied against the property sold, including interest and penalties imposed under s. 74.47 previously paid to taxing jurisdictions by the county.
75.36(3)(b) (b) From the net proceeds of the sale of the property, as determined under par. (a), first pay any withdrawal tax and withdrawal fee due under s. 77.84 (3) (b) and then pay to taxing jurisdictions all special assessments and special charges to which the property is subject, including interest and any penalties imposed under s. 74.47. If the net proceeds are not sufficient to pay all outstanding amounts due, the net proceeds shall be prorated to each taxing jurisdiction based upon the ratio that the amount of all special assessments and special charges due that taxing jurisdiction bears to the amount of all special assessments and special charges levied against the property sold, including interest and any penalties imposed under s. 74.47. Amounts payable under this paragraph shall be paid to the taxing jurisdiction within 15 days after the last day of the month in which sale proceeds become available to the county.
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2017-18 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2019 Wis. Act 186 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on July 10, 2020. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after July 10, 2020, are designated by NOTES. (Published 7-10-20)