(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.
(7) Liability precluded.
Absent fraud, no county is liable for acts or omissions associated with the sale of property under this section.
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.
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
County acquisition and sale of property. 75.36(1)(1)
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)
(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.
Effective date note
Par. (a) is shown as amended eff. 7-1-16 by 2015 Wis. Act 358
. Prior to 7-1-16 it reads:
Effective date text
(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, 77.07 or 77.87 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.
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.
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)
(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:
Five hundred dollars plus 50% of the amount obtained by subtracting $500 from the proceeds identified in sub. (3) (c)
The actual costs of the sale as specified under sub. (3) (a)
plus 2% 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.
(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:
Determine the net proceeds from the sale of the property by subtracting from the sale price all of the following:
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.
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.
The amount of real estate agent or broker fees paid for selling the property.
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.
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.
Distribute any remaining net proceeds that are subject to sub. (4)
(4) Homestead proceeds.
If the former owner had used the property sold as the former owner's homestead at any time during the 5 years preceding the county's acquisition of it under this chapter, the county shall distribute the remainder of the sale proceeds to that former owner.
Agreements as to delinquent taxes. 75.365(1)
Counties may enter.
Written agreements may be entered into and be operative between a county and any town, city, village, metropolitan sewerage district or area, drainage district, or any other territory, area or district for the benefit of which any taxes may be levied, therein, upon prior authorization and approval thereof by the governing bodies thereof, providing for the disposition of liabilities of the county to such municipality upon or arising out of the return to said county of delinquent taxes; the disposition of tax certificates of which the county may be the holder or owner; the liabilities of the county arising by virtue of its acquiring such tax certificates, and the disposition of such liabilities; the taking of tax deeds by the county; the liabilities of the county arising out of the taking of such tax deeds and the disposition of such liabilities; the sale of the lands upon which such tax deeds are so taken, or both; and the determination and disposition of any and all liabilities of the county in respect to any of the foregoing.
(2) Liability of county limited.
Such agreements may include provisions that the county upon acting pursuant to such agreement and the provisions thereof shall not be accountable or liable for any amount greater than that realized by it upon the sale of said lands to which it takes tax deed thereunder or the amounts set forth in said agreement, and that in acting pursuant to such agreement the county shall not incur or be subjected to any liability to anyone except as therein set forth and that if such county should by reason of acting thereunder incur or be subjected to any other or different liability to pay or account in respect to such delinquent taxes, then such local municipality will reimburse the county for such excess liability and indemnify it against any loss or damage that the county may sustain by reason of acting pursuant to such agreement; provided, that the city, town or village entering into such agreement may make payment, settlement or compromise of special assessment bonds to preclude or relieve the county from being subjected to liability thereon.
(3) Sale under agreement.
In the event of such agreement the county may sell any of the land to which it takes tax deed pursuant thereto, and that the title conveyed by the county upon such sale shall be in fee simple and free and clear from all tax liens or claims arising out of delinquent special assessments, delinquent general taxes, or both, except delinquent special assessments, delinquent or unpaid general taxes, or both, returned to the county after such sale by the county. Such agreement may provide that the county may sell any land, to which it has taken tax deed thereunder, at private or public sale. The county or the local municipality in which the land is situated may purchase such land when sold by the county pursuant to such agreement.
This section shall be controlling and operative in respect to delinquent taxes authorized by the proper governing body to be imposed against lands, whether heretofore or hereafter returned delinquent, and the provisions hereof shall be applicable to such taxes, except that it does not repeal any of the provisions of the general statutes nor affect the applicability thereof to situations not covered herein.
History: 1987 a. 378
Waste on land subject to a tax certificate. 75.37(1)
It shall be unlawful for any person or corporation to cut, destroy or remove any logs, wood or timber or any buildings, fixtures and other improvements assessed as real property from any land included in a tax certificate for the nonpayment of taxes while such taxes remain unpaid; and if any person shall cut, destroy or remove the same from such lands during the time aforesaid the county treasurer of the county in which such lands are situated shall issue a warrant under the treasurer's hand and seal to the sheriff, giving therein a description of such lands, the amount of such taxes, with interest and charges thereon then remaining unpaid and the years for which the same are unpaid, commanding such sheriff forthwith to seize such logs, wood, timber, buildings, fixtures and improvements, or materials salvaged therefrom, wherever the same may be found and to sell the same or a sufficient amount thereof to satisfy such taxes, with the interest and charges thereon and the costs of such seizure and sale.
The sheriff shall receive such warrant and execute the same as therein directed, as in case of levy and sale on execution, and make return thereof with his or her doings thereon to the county treasurer within 60 days after the receipt of the same and pay over all money collected thereon to such treasurer.
History: 1987 a. 378
Waste on lands subject to a tax certificate; penalty.
Any person who shall willfully, maliciously or wantonly injure, destroy or commit waste upon any lands, tenements, or anything appertaining thereto which has been included in a tax certificate for the nonpayment of taxes while such taxes remain unpaid may be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than 90 days or both.
History: 1987 a. 378
Inspection of property subject to tax certificate.
A county may enter any real property for which a tax certificate has been issued under s. 74.57
, or may authorize another person to enter the real property, to determine the nature and extent of environmental pollution, as defined in s. 299.01 (4)
History: 1993 a. 453
; 1995 a. 227
; 1999 a. 150
; Stats. 1999 s. 75.377.
Action to bar former owner.
A county, as the grantee named in any deed made by a county clerk, which conveys lands subject to a tax certificate which has not been redeemed may, at any time within 3 years after the date of such conveyance, commence an action against the person or persons owning the lands described in such conveyance at the time the lands were included in the tax certificate upon which such conveyance was made, or any parcel thereof or interest therein, or against any person or persons claiming under such owner or owners, for the purpose of barring such former owner or owners and those claiming under them of all right, title, interest or claim in such lands.
History: 1987 a. 378
Action, where and how brought.
Such action must be brought in the circuit court of the county in which the lands or some parcel of them, the title of which is sought to be barred by such action, are situated. The county, as plaintiff in such action, may include in its complaint all the lands described in such conveyance, or any separate parcel, or as many separate parcels thereof as it sees fit. The county shall make defendants of all persons who were the former owners of the several parcels of land included in the complaint or those claiming under them or claiming any interest therein.
History: 1987 a. 378
The complaint in such action shall contain: a description of all the lands the title to which is sought to be barred by such action; a statement that the county claims title to such lands under a deed made by the county clerk and a copy of such deed; the name or names of the former owner or owners of the several tracts of land described therein or the names of the persons claiming under such owner or owners, specifying the persons claiming each separate parcel thereof; and the amount of all delinquent taxes at the time the deed was issued.
History: 1987 a. 378
Defense, answer. 75.42(1)(1)
The defendants in such action may answer severally, or such of them as are jointly interested in any separate parcel or parcels of land described in the complaint may answer jointly, either to the whole complaint or to any separate cause of action stated therein, that the action thereon was not commenced within the time limited by s. 75.39
; that the lands described in such complaint or some part or parts thereof to which the defendant or defendants so answering claim title or some interest therein were not liable to taxation at the time the tax for the nonpayment of which the land was included in a tax certificate and conveyed as specified in the complaint was levied; or that the tax for the nonpayment of which said lands purport to have been included in a tax certificate was in fact paid before the land was included in the certificate; or that the land was redeemed as provided by law; or that the deed, a copy of which is set forth in the complaint, was never executed by the officer whose name is subscribed thereto; or that the lands described in the complaint or some part thereof were improved, occupied or cultivated as described in s. 75.12 (1)
, and that no notice was served upon the defendant or owner or occupant, as required by s. 75.12
, and no other defense to such action shall be set up by any defendant or defendants unless the defendant or defendants setting up the same shall, at the time of filing the answer, deposit with the clerk of the court in which such action is pending, for the use of the county as plaintiff in such action, the amount of all delinquent taxes, plus interest and penalty, due on the parcel or parcels of land as to which they defend, at the time the deed was issued, together with interest thereon at the rate of 8% per year from the date of the tax certificate upon which such deed was issued; and shall state in the answer the fact that such deposit has been made, and the amount thereof, and that such defendant is ready to pay such portion of the costs and disbursements in the action as shall be adjudged just and reasonable, in case the county shall elect to receive such deposit and release to said defendant or defendants the parcel or parcels of land on account of which such deposit is made; and any defendant or defendants making the deposit and offer aforesaid may set up in their answer any other matter of defense which will avoid such deed; but no answer merely alleging the defendant's title, or denying the county's title to the lands described in such complaint, or any part or parcel thereof, or which merely alleges that the deed to the county is void shall be a sufficient answer; but every answer shall state specifically the grounds on which the defendant or defendants rely for avoiding the deed of the county.
The defendant may, in all cases within the time limited by law for answering the complaint, execute and deliver to the county a quitclaim deed of the lands described in the complaint, conveying all the right, title and interest of such defendant at the time of the commencement of the suit; or may, within such time, either after having delivered such deed or without such delivery, answer disclaiming any title to the land in question at the time of the commencement of the suit, in either of which cases the county shall not recover costs personally against any such defendant who quitclaims as aforesaid or who shall establish such disclaimer upon the trial of such action. In no case shall costs be taxed as a personal claim against any defendant for attorney fees in excess of $25.
History: 1979 c. 110
s. 60 (13)
; 1987 a. 378
Election to receive deposit; costs.
The county may, at any time within 20 days after receiving an answer showing that a deposit has been made by any defendant or defendants as provided in s. 75.42
, give notice to such defendant or defendants that it elects to receive such deposit and that it will, at a time specified in such notice, apply to the clerk of the circuit court, circuit judge or a circuit court commissioner to adjust the costs and disbursements which said defendant or defendants ought to pay, and that upon the payment of the costs and disbursements so adjudged the county will release to such defendant or defendants all right, title and claim which it has to the parcel or parcels of land on account of which the deposit is made by virtue of any deed made for the nonpayment of taxes; and unless the costs are paid within 20 days after the same shall have been so adjusted the clerk of the court shall, upon presentation of an affidavit showing the nonpayment thereof, enter judgment therefor in favor of the county and against the defendant, which shall be enforced as other money judgments.
History: 1987 a. 378
; 2001 a. 61
On the payment of the costs by such defendant or defendants or the collection thereof the county shall execute a release to said defendant or defendants of all such right, title, interest or claim in said parcel or parcels of lands, duly acknowledging the same, and deliver it to the said defendant or defendants; and thereupon said action shall be discontinued as to the said parcel or parcels of land so released.
History: 1987 a. 378
Deed as evidence.
In any action maintained under the provisions of this chapter the production of a deed, a copy of which is set forth in the complaint substantially in the form prescribed by law or a certified copy of the record thereof, shall be presumptive evidence of an absolute title in fee simple in the county, as the grantee therein named or its assigns in and to the land therein described.
History: 1987 a. 378
Trial; defendant's interest.
All issues of fact and of law joined in any such action shall be tried by the court unless the court shall otherwise direct or unless a party to an issue of fact in any such action shall demand a trial by jury, in which case such issues shall be tried by jury as other issues of fact; and on the trial of every such action every defendant shall be deemed to have a redeemable interest in all the lands described in the county's complaint in respect to which any relief or judgment is sought against such defendant, unless it be otherwise alleged therein.
History: 1987 a. 378
The trial of any issue of fact or of law in such action joined with any defendant or defendants claiming title to and defending as to any separate parcel or parcels of land shall be had separately and a separate judgment may be rendered on such issue.
Effect of judgment.
If a judgment shall be rendered either for want of an answer or upon the trial of an issue of law or fact in favor of the county and against the defendants claiming such lands or against a defendant or defendants claiming any separate parcel or parcels thereof, such judgment shall forever bar such defendants and all others claiming under them, after the filing of a notice of the pendency of such action as provided by law, from all right, title or interest in said lands or in such separate parcel or parcels thereof.
History: 1987 a. 378
Judgment for defendant.
If in any such action judgment be rendered in favor of any defendant claiming any parcel or parcels of said lands or interest therein, such judgment shall adjudge that there be released to such defendant all the county's right, title or claim, at the time of the commencement of the action, by virtue of any deed made for the nonpayment of taxes to the land or interest as to which such judgment is rendered, and that the defendant recover the defendant's costs and disbursements in the action; and the money, if any, deposited by such defendant upon answering shall be applied in payment of such costs, and the surplus of such deposit, if any, shall be paid to the county.
History: 1987 a. 378
If the county as plaintiff in such action cannot ascertain who are the proper persons to make defendants as to any tract or parcel of land described in the complaint, it may allege the fact in the complaint and they may be proceeded against as nonresident defendants and shall be described in the proceedings as unknown owners.
History: 1987 a. 378
Judgment a bar, when.
No such action shall be commenced by any person under the provisions of this chapter after a judgment shall have been rendered against that person in any action founded on such tax deed commenced by that person or those under whom that person claims for the recovery of the possession of the lands described in such deed or any part thereof, nor after a judgment shall have been rendered against that person in an action brought by the former owner to recover possession of the lands described in such deed or any part thereof.
History: 1991 a. 316
Foreclosure of tax liens by action in rem. 75.521(1)(1)
Wherever used or referred to in this section, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
"County" means one of the counties of the state of Wisconsin.
"Tax lien" means the lien or interest evidenced by any tax certificate upon which a tax deed may be applied for as provided by law.
"Treasurer" means the treasurer of a county.
Adoption of method.
Notwithstanding the provisions of any other general, special or local law relating to foreclosure of tax certificates, taking of tax deeds upon tax certificates, and perfecting such tax deed title by bar former owner action or quiet title action, or conveyance from former owners of any interest in said lands, the governing body of any county may elect to enforce the collection of tax liens, the taking of tax title in the name of such county to tax delinquent lands and the perfecting of such tax title in the county in the cases where this section applies by means of the methods provided for in this section. Such election shall be evidenced by an ordinance to such effect in substantially the following form:
"ORDINANCE ELECTING TO PROCEED UNDER
SECTION 75.521 Wis. Stats. IN RELATION TO
THE ENFORCEMENT OF COLLECTION OF TAX LIENS.
The county board of supervisors of the county of .... do ordain as follows:
From and after .... (here insert dates) the .... (here insert name of county) elects to adopt the provisions of section 75.521 Wis. Stats. for the purpose of enforcing tax liens in such county in the cases where the procedure provided by such section is applicable."
Upon the adoption of such ordinance, the provisions of this section shall be applicable to such county and the treasurer need not, thereafter, proceed upon its tax certificates in cases where this section is applicable in any of the other methods provided by ch. 75
or its charter provisions but may do so at the treasurer's option.
Rescission of election to operate under section 75.521.
Any county, after at least one year from the adoption of such ordinance, may rescind such election by an ordinance to such effect, which ordinance shall be adopted in the same manner as the original ordinance. Upon the adoption of a rescinding ordinance, the provisions of this section shall cease to be applicable to such county.
Neither the election to adopt s. 75.521
nor the election to rescind the same shall affect any action or proceeding for foreclosure of the tax lien commenced prior to such election or rescission and such action or proceeding may be continued in the same manner as though such election or rescission had not been made.
Provisions of in rem method supersede.
Whenever any county shall have adopted this section and is using the procedure herein provided, the provisions of this section shall, with respect to the particular tax liens being collected, supersede the provisions of all general, special or local laws relating to the collection of tax liens by such county in conflict therewith, provided that nothing contained in this subsection nor any use made of the procedure provided in this section shall prevent the use of other procedures provided for in other sections of the statutes in the collection of other tax liens at the option of the county treasurer.
(3) Commencement of proceeding to foreclose tax lien. 75.521(3)(a)(a)
Whenever any land has been included in a tax certificate, the treasurer may file in the office of the clerk of the circuit court of the county, one or more lists of parcels of property affected by unpaid tax liens as shown on the tax certificates in the treasurer's office. The treasurer may file the list when any of the following time periods elapses after the date of the tax certificate:
One year, if razing, removing and restoration of the site to a dust-free and erosion-free condition costs incurred by any city or village are included in the amount due for taxes.
One year, if the tax certificate is held by any city authorized to proceed under s. 74.87
or by any county that has a population of 500,000 or more.
Two years, if none of the conditions specified in subds. 1.
The parcels shall be numbered consecutively in the list prepared under par. (a)
. The list shall be known as the "List of Tax Liens of .... County Being Foreclosed by Proceeding in Rem .... (year) No. ...." and shall bear the following caption:
"State of Wisconsin