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70.17 70.17 Lands, to whom assessed; buildings on exempt lands.
70.17(1)(1) Real property shall be entered in the name of the owner, if known to the assessor, otherwise to the occupant thereof if ascertainable, and otherwise without any name. The person holding the contract or certificate of sale of any real property contracted to be sold by the state, but not conveyed, shall be deemed the owner for such purpose. The undivided real estate of any deceased person may be entered to the heirs of such person without designating them by name. The real estate of an incorporated company shall be entered in the same manner as that of an individual. Improvements on leased lands may be assessed either as real property or personal property.
70.17(2) (2) All lands which have been or may be contracted for sale by any county shall be assessed and taxed to the parties contracting therefor.
70.17 Annotation The term leased lands should be construed broadly to include a number of situations where the occupier of land not owned by him places improvements on the land; a formal lease is not required. Town of Menominee v. Skubitz, 53 W (2d) 430, 192 NW (2d) 887.
70.17 Annotation See note to 70.32, citing State ex rel. Keane v. Bd. of Review, 99 W (2d) 584, 299 NW (2d) 638 (Ct. App. 1980).
70.17 Annotation Tax lister may, but is not required to, change ownership designation on joint property on the basis of notification other than formal procedures. 80 Atty. Gen. 73.
70.174 70.174 Improvements on government-owned land. Improvements made by any person on land within this state owned by the United States may be assessed either as real or personal property to the person making the same, if ascertainable, and otherwise to the occupant thereof or the person receiving benefits therefrom.
70.177 70.177 Federal property. Property the taxation of which the federal government has consented to is taxable under this chapter.
70.177 History History: 1987 a. 10.
70.18 70.18 Personal property, to whom assessed.
70.18(1) (1) Personal property shall be assessed to the owner thereof, except that when it is in the charge or possession of some person other than the owner it may be assessed to the person so in charge or possession of the same. Telegraph and telephone poles, posts, railroad ties, lumber and all other manufactured forest products shall be deemed to be in the charge or possession of the person in occupancy or possession of the premises upon which the same shall be stored or piled, and the same shall be assessed to such person, unless the owner or some other person residing in the same assessment district, shall be actually and actively in charge and possession thereof, in which case it shall be assessed to such resident owner or other person so in actual charge or possession; but nothing contained in this clause shall affect or change the rules prescribed in s. 70.13 respecting the district in which such property shall be assessed.
70.18(2) (2) Goods, wares and merchandise in storage in a commercial storage warehouse or on a public wharf shall be assessed to the owner thereof and not to the warehouse or public wharf, if the operator of the warehouse or public wharf furnishes to the assessor the names and addresses of the owners of all goods, wares and merchandise not exempt from taxation.
70.18 History History: 1981 c. 20.
70.18 Annotation Property of the U.S. government in the possession of defendant where title and most of the indicia of ownership is in the government may not be taxed under sub. (1), since the tax is on ownership, not use. State ex rel. General Motors Corp. v. Oak Creek, 49 W (2d) 299, 182 NW (2d) 481.
70.18 Annotation Trial court's finding under stipulated facts that U.S. government was the beneficial owner and not subject to the personal property tax under (1), constituted a conclusion of law and hence the supreme court is not limited in its review to such finding. Teledyne Industries, Inc. v. Milwaukee, 65 W (2d) 557, 223 NW (2d) 586.
70.18 Annotation Decisions permitting local taxation of the possession of federal property. Van Cleve, 1959 WLR 190.
70.19 70.19 Assessment, how made; liability and rights of representative.
70.19(1)(1) When personal property shall be assessed to some person in charge or possession thereof other than the owner or person beneficially entitled thereto as hereinbefore provided, the assessment thereof shall be entered upon the assessment roll separately from the same person's assessment of the person's own personal property, adding to the person's name upon such roll words briefly indicating that such assessment is made to the person as the person in charge or possession thereof as occupant or possessor of the premises on which such property is stored or piled or as the spouse, agent, lessee, occupant, mortgagee, pledgee, executor, administrator, trustee, assignee, receiver or other representative of the owner or person beneficially entitled thereto; but a failure to enter such assessment separately or to indicate the representative capacity or other relationship of the person assessed shall not affect the validity of the assessment.
70.19(2) (2) The person so assessed is personally liable for the tax on the property. The person has a personal right of action against the owner or person beneficially entitled to the property for the amount of the taxes and has a lien for that amount upon the property with the rights and remedies for the preservation and enforcement of that lien provided in ss. 779.45 and 779.48, and is entitled to retain possession of the property until the owner or person beneficially entitled to the property pays the tax on the property or reimburses the person assessed for the tax if paid by that person. The lien and right of possession relate back and exist from the time when assessment is made, but may be released and discharged by giving to the person assessed such undertaking or other indemnity as the person accepts or by giving the person a bond in the amount and with the sureties as is directed and approved by the circuit judge of the county in which the property is assessed, upon 8 days' notice to the person assessed. The bond shall be conditioned to hold and keep the person against whom the assessment is made free and harmless from any and all costs, expense, liability or damage by reason of the assessment.
70.19 History History: 1975 c. 94 s. 91 (13); 1975 c. 199; 1977 c. 449; 1979 c. 32 s. 92 (9).
70.20 70.20 Owner's liability when personalty assessed to another; action to collect.
70.20(1) (1) When personal property shall be assessed to some person in charge or possession thereof, other than the owner, such owner as well as the person so in charge or possession shall be liable for the taxes levied pursuant to such assessment; and the liability of such owner may be enforced in a personal action as for a debt. Such action may be brought in the name of the town, city or village in which such assessment was made, if commenced before the time fixed by law for the return of delinquent taxes, by direction of the treasurer or tax collector of such town, city or village. If commenced after such a return, it shall be brought in the name of the county or other municipality to the treasurer or other officer of which such return shall be made, by direction of such treasurer or other officer. Such action may be brought in any court of this state having jurisdiction of the amount involved and in which jurisdiction may be obtained of the person of such owner or by attachment of the property of such owner.
70.20(2) (2) The remedy of attachment may be allowed in such action upon filing an affidavit of the officer by whose direction such action shall be brought, showing the assessment of such property in the assessment district, the amount of tax levied pursuant thereto, that the defendant was the owner of such property at the time as of which the assessment thereof was made, and that such tax remains unpaid in whole or in part, and the amount remaining unpaid. The proceedings in such actions and for enforcement of the judgment obtained therein shall be the same as in ordinary actions for debt as near as may be, but no property shall be exempt from attachment or execution issued upon a judgment against the defendant in such action.
70.20(3) (3) The assessment and tax rolls in which such assessment and tax shall be entered shall be prima facie evidence of such assessment and tax and of the justice and regularity thereof; and the same, with proof of the ownership of such property by the defendant at the time as of which the assessment was made and of the nonpayment of such tax, shall be sufficient to establish the liability of the defendant. Such liability shall not be affected and such action shall not be defeated by any omission or irregularity in the assessment or tax proceedings not affecting the substantial justice and equity of the tax. The provisions of this section shall not impair or affect the remedies given by other provisions of law for the collection or enforcement of such tax against the person to whom the property was assessed.
70.21 70.21 Partnership; estates in hands of executor; personal property, how assessed.
70.21(1) (1) Except as provided in sub. (2), the personal property of a partnership may be assessed in the names of the persons composing such partnership, so far as known or in the firm name or title under which the partnership business is conducted, and each partner shall be liable for the taxes levied thereon. Undistributed personal property belonging to the estate of a person deceased shall be assessed to the executor or administrator if one shall have been appointed and qualified, on the first day of January in the year in which the assessment is made, otherwise it may be assessed to the estate of such deceased person, and the tax thereon shall be paid by the executor or administrator if one be thereafter appointed, otherwise by the person or persons in possession of such property at the time of the assessment.
70.21(2) (2) The personal property of a limited liability partnership shall be assessed in the name of the partnership, and each partner shall be liable for the taxes levied thereon only to the extent permitted under s. 178.12.
70.21 History History: 1977 c. 29 s. 1646 (3); 1995 a. 97.
70.22 70.22 Personal property being administered, how assessed.
70.22(1)(1) In case one or more of two or more executors of the will or administrators or trustees of the estate of a decedent, whose domicile at the time of the decedent's death was in this state, shall not be residents within the state, the taxable personal property belonging to such estate shall be assessed to the executors, administrators or trustees residing in this state. In case there shall be two or more executors, administrators or trustees of the same estate residing in this state, but in different assessment districts, the assessment of such personal property shall be in the name of all such executors, administrators or trustees. In case the executor, administrator, trustee, or all of them if more than one, shall not reside in this state, such property may be assessed in the name of such executors or administrators or in the name of such estate.
70.22(2) (2) The taxes imposed pursuant to such assessment may be enforced as a claim against the estate, upon presentation of such claim by the treasurer of such district to the court in which the proceedings for the probate of such estate are pending, and upon due proof such court shall allow and order the same to be paid; and before the allowance of the final account of a nonresident executor, administrator or trustee the court shall ascertain whether there are or will be any taxes remaining unpaid or to be paid on account of personal property belonging to the estate, and shall make such order or direction as may be necessary to provide for the payment thereof. The foregoing provisions shall not impair or affect any remedy given by other provisions of law for the collection or enforcement of taxes upon personal property assessed to executors, administrators or trustees.
70.22 History History: 1991 a. 316.
70.23 70.23 Duties of assessors; entry of parcels on tax roll.
70.23(1)(1) The assessor shall enter upon the assessment roll opposite to the name of the person to whom assessed, if any, as before provided in regular order as to lots and blocks, sections and parts of sections, a correct and pertinent description of each parcel of real property in the assessment district and the number of acres in each tract containing more than one acre.
70.23(2) (2) When two or more lots or tracts owned by the same person are deemed by the assessor so improved or occupied with buildings as to be practically incapable of separate valuation, they may be entered as one parcel. Whenever any tract, parcel or lot of land shall have been surveyed and platted and a plat thereof recorded according to law, the assessor shall designate the several lots and subdivisions of such platted ground as they are fixed and designated by such plat.
70.23 History History: 1971 c. 215; 1983 a. 532; 1993 a. 491.
70.24 70.24 Public lands and land mortgaged to state. The secretary of state shall annually, before January 1, make and transmit to the county clerk of each county an abstract containing a correct and full statement and description of all public lands sold and not patented by the state, and of all lands mortgaged to the state lying in the county; and immediately on receipt thereof the county clerk shall make and transmit to the county assessor and to the clerk of each town, village or city in the county not under the assessment jurisdiction of the county assessor a list from said abstract of such lands lying in such town, village or city. Every assessor shall enter on the assessment roll, in a separate column, under distinct headings, a list of all such public and mortgaged lands, and the same shall be assessed and taxed in the same manner as other lands, without regard to any balance of purchase money or loans remaining unpaid on the same.
70.24 History History: 1977 c. 29 s. 1646 (3); 1977 c. 273.
70.25 70.25 Lands, described on rolls. In all assessments and tax rolls in all advertisements, certificates, papers, conveyances or proceedings for the assessment and collection of taxes and in all related proceedings, except in tax bills, any descriptions of land which indicate the land intended with ordinary and reasonable certainty and which would be sufficient between grantor and grantee in an ordinary conveyance are sufficient. No description of land according to the United States survey is insufficient by reason of the omission of the word quarter or the figures or signs representing it in connection with the words or initial letters indicating any legal subdivision of lands according to government survey. Where a more complete description may not be practicable and the deed or a mortgage describing any piece of real property is recorded in the office of the register of deeds for the county, an abbreviated description including the volume and page where recorded, and the section, village or city where the property is situated, is sufficient. Where a more complete description may not be practicable, and the piece of property is described in any certificate, order or judgment of a court of record in the county, an abbreviated description including the volume and page of the court record where recorded, and the section, village or city where the property is situated, is sufficient. Descriptions in property tax bills shall be as provided under s. 74.09 (3) (a).
70.25 History History: 1987 a. 378, 399, 403.
70.27 70.27 Assessor's plat.
70.27(1)(1)Who may order. Whenever any area of platted or unplatted land is owned by 2 or more persons in severalty, and when in the judgment of the governing body having jurisdiction, the description of one or more of the different parcels thereof cannot be made sufficiently certain and accurate for the purposes of assessment, taxation or tax title procedures without noting the correct metes and bounds of the same, or when such gross errors exist in lot measurements or locations that difficulty is encountered in locating new structures, public utilities or streets, such governing body may cause a plat to be made for such purposes. Such plat shall be called "assessor's plat," and shall plainly define the boundary of each parcel, and each street, alley, lane or roadway, or dedication to public or special use, as such is evidenced by the records of the register of deeds or a court of record. Such plats in cities may be ordered by the city council, in villages by the village board, in towns by the town board or the county board. A plat or part of a plat included in an assessor's plat shall be deemed vacated to the extent it is included in or altered by an assessor's plat. The actual and necessary costs and expenses of making assessors' plats shall be paid out of the treasury of the city, village, town or county whose governing body ordered the plat, and all or any part of such cost may be charged to the land, without inclusion of improvements, so platted in the proportion that the last assessed valuation of each parcel bears to the last assessed total valuation of all lands included in the assessor's plat, and collected as a special assessment on such land, as provided by s. 66.60.
70.27(2) (2)Certification, approval, recording. Such plat, when completed and certified as provided by this section, and when approved by the governing body, shall be acknowledged by the clerk thereof and recorded in the office of the register of deeds.
70.27(3) (3)Assessment, taxation, conveyancing. Reference to any land, as it appears on a recorded assessor's plat is deemed sufficient for purposes of assessment and taxation. Conveyance may be made by reference to such plat and shall be as effective to pass title to the land so described as it would be if the same premises had been described by metes and bounds. Such plat or record thereof shall be received in evidence in all courts and places as correctly describing the several parcels of land therein designated. After an assessor's plat has been made and recorded with the register of deeds as provided by this section, all conveyances of lands included in such assessor's plat shall be by reference to such plat. Any instrument dated and acknowledged after September 1, 1955, purporting to convey or mortgage any such lands except by reference to such assessor's plat shall not be recorded by the register of deeds.
70.27(4) (4)Amendments. Amendments or corrections to an assessor's plat may be made at any time by the governing body by recording with the register of deeds a plat of the area affected by such amendment or correction, made and authenticated as provided by this section. It shall not be necessary to refer to any amendment of the plat, but all assessments or instruments wherein any parcel of land is described as being in an assessor's plat, shall be construed to mean the assessor's plat of lands with its amendments or corrections as it stood on the date of making such assessment or instrument, or such plats may be identified by number.
70.27(5) (5)Surveys, reconciliations. The surveyor making the plat shall survey and lay out the boundaries of each parcel, street, alley, lane, roadway, or dedication to public or private use, according to the records of the register of deeds, and whatever evidence that may be available to show the intent of the buyer and seller, in the chronological order of their conveyance or dedication, and set temporary monuments to show the results of such survey which shall be made permanent upon recording of the plat as provided for in this section. The map shall be at a scale of not more than 100 feet per inch, unless waived in writing by the department of commerce under s. 236.20 (2) (L). The owners of record of lands in the plat shall be notified by certified letter mailed to their last-known address, in order that they shall have opportunity to examine the map, view the temporary monuments, and make known any disagreement with the boundaries as shown by the temporary monuments. It is the duty of the surveyor making the plat to reconcile any discrepancies that may be revealed, so that the plat as certified to the governing body is in conformity with the records of the register of deeds as nearly as is practicable. When boundary lines between adjacent parcels, as evidenced on the ground, are mutually agreed to in writing by the owners of record, such lines shall be the true boundaries for all purposes thereafter, even though they may vary from the metes and bounds descriptions previously of record. Such written agreements shall be recorded in the office of the register of deeds. On every assessor's plat, as certified to the governing body, shall appear the volume, page and document number of the metes and bounds description of each parcel, as recorded in the office of the register of deeds, which shall be identified with the number by which such parcel is designated on the plat, except that lots which have been conveyed or otherwise acquired but upon which no deed is recorded in the office of register of deeds may be shown on an assessor's plat and when so shown shall contain a full metes and bounds description.
70.27(6) (6)Monuments, plat requirements. The provisions of s. 236.15 as to monuments, and the provisions of s. 236.20 as to form and procedure, insofar as they are applicable to the purposes of assessors' plats, shall apply. Any stake or monument found and accepted as correct by a surveyor laying out an assessor's plat shall be indicated as "stake found" or "monument found" when mapping the plat and such stake or monument shall not be removed or replaced even though it is inconsistent with the standards of s. 236.15.
70.27(7) (7)Certificate. When completed, the assessor's plat shall be filed with the clerk of the governing body that ordered the plat. On its title page shall appear the sworn certificate of the surveyor who made the plat, which shall state and contain:
70.27(7)(a) (a) The name of the governing body by whose order the plat was made, and the date of the order.
70.27(7)(b) (b) A clear and concise description of the land so surveyed and mapped, by government lot, quarter quarter-section, township, range and county, or if located in a city or village or platted area, then according to the plat; otherwise by metes and bounds beginning with some corner marked and established in the United States land survey.
70.27(7)(c) (c) A statement that the plat is a correct representation of all the exterior boundaries of the land surveyed and each parcel thereof.
70.27(7)(d) (d) A statement that the surveyor has fully complied with the provisions of this section in filing the same.
70.27(8) (8)Plat filed with governing body. Within 2 days after the assessor's plat is filed with the governing body, it shall be transmitted to the department of commerce by the clerk of the governing body which ordered the plat. The department of commerce shall review the plat within 30 days of its receipt. No such plat may be given final approval by the local governing body until the department of commerce has certified on the face of the original plat that it complies with the applicable provisions of ss. 236.15 and 236.20. After the plat has been so certified the clerk shall promptly publish a class 3 notice thereof, under ch. 985. The plat shall remain on file in the clerk's office for 30 days after the first publication. At any time within the 30-day period any person or public body having an interest in any lands affected by the plat may bring a suit to have the plat corrected. If no suit is brought within the 30-day period, the plat may be approved by the governing body, and filed for record. If a suit is brought, approval shall be withheld until the suit is decided. The plat shall then be revised in accordance with the decision if necessary, and, without rereferral to the department of commerce unless rereferral is ordered by the court. The plat may then be approved by the governing body and filed for record. When so filed the plat shall carry on its face the certificate of the clerk that all provisions of this section have been complied with. When recorded after approval by the governing body, the plat shall have the same effect for all purposes as if it were a land division plat made by the owners in full compliance with ch. 236. Before January 1 of each year, the register of deeds shall notify the town clerks of the recording of any assessors' plats made or amended during the preceding year, affecting lands in their towns.
70.27 Annotation The reference to 66.60 in sub. (1) refers only to the collection procedures; it does not make all of 66.60 apply. Dittner v. Town of Spencer, 55 W (2d) 707, 201 NW (2d) 45.
70.27 Annotation The division of a lot within an assessor's plat is an amendment of the plat and must be made by following the procedure under this section. Ahlgren v. Pierce County, 198 W (2d) 576, 543 NW (2d) 812 (Ct. App. 1995).
70.27 Annotation Section 236.03 (2), Stats. 1969, sets forth the "applicable provisions" of 236.15 and 236.20, with which assessors' plats must comply under 70.27 (8). A determination by the head of the planning function in the Wisconsin department of local affairs and development that an assessor's plat does not comply with the applicable provisions of 236.15 and 236.20 may be reviewed under ch. 227. 58 Atty. Gen. 198.
70.27 Annotation The temporary survey monuments required to be set in the field prior to the submission of an assessor's plat for state level review are not made permanent until the recording of the assessor's plat. 59 Atty. Gen. 262.
70.27 Annotation Section 236.295 does not apply to assessors' plats. The amendment or correction of an assessor's plat under (4) is an exercise of the police power which is accomplished for the same purposes and in the same manner as the original assessor's plat. The governing body involved is not required to conduct a public hearing concerning a proposed amendment or correction to an assessor's plat of record. Other questions concerning the amendment or correction of an assessor's plat answered. 61 Atty. Gen. 25.
70.28 70.28 Assessment as one parcel. No assessment of real property which has been or shall be made shall be held invalid or irregular for the reason that several lots, tracts or parcels of land have been assessed and valued together as one parcel and not separately, where the same are contiguous and owned by the same person at the time of such assessment.
70.29 70.29 Personalty, how entered. The assessor shall place in one distinct and continuous part of the assessment roll all the names of persons assessed for personal property, with a statement of such property in each village in the assessor's assessment district, and foot up the valuation thereof separately; otherwise the assessor shall arrange all names of persons assessed for personal property on the roll alphabetically so far as convenient. The assessor shall also place upon the assessment roll, in a separate column and opposite the name of each person assessed for personal property, the number of the school district in which such personal property is subject to taxation.
70.29 History History: 1991 a. 316.
70.30 70.30 Aggregate values. Every assessor shall ascertain and set down in separate columns prepared for that purpose on the assessment roll and opposite to the names of all persons assessed for personal property the number and value of the following named items of personal property assessed to such person, which shall constitute the assessed valuation of the several items of property therein described, to wit:
70.30(9) (9) The number and value of steam and other vessels.
70.30(11) (11) The value of machinery, tools and patterns.
70.30(12) (12) The value of furniture, fixture and equipment.
70.30(13) (13) The value of all other personal property except such as is exempt from taxation.
70.30 History History: 1981 c. 20; 1983 a. 27 s. 2202 (45); 1983 a. 405; 1991 a. 39.
70.32 70.32 Real estate, how valued.
70.32(1) (1) Real property shall be valued by the assessor in the manner specified in the Wisconsin property assessment manual provided under s. 73.03 (2a) from actual view or from the best information that the assessor can practicably obtain, at the full value which could ordinarily be obtained therefor at private sale. In determining the value, the assessor shall consider recent arm's-length sales of the property to be assessed if according to professionally acceptable appraisal practices those sales conform to recent arm's-length sales of reasonably comparable property; recent arm's-length sales of reasonably comparable property; and all factors that, according to professionally acceptable appraisal practices, affect the value of the property to be assessed.
70.32(1g) (1g) In addition to the factors set out in sub. (1), the assessor shall consider the effect on the value of the property of any zoning ordinance under s. 59.692, 61.351 or 62.231, any conservation easement under s. 700.40, any conservation restriction under an agreement with the federal government and any restrictions under ch. 91.
70.32(1m) (1m) In addition to the factors set out in sub. (1), the assessor shall consider the impairment of the value of the property because of the presence of a solid or hazardous waste disposal facility or because of environmental pollution, as defined in s. 299.01 (4).
70.32(2) (2) The assessor, having fixed a value, shall enter the same opposite the proper tract or lot in the assessment roll, following the instruction prescribed therein.
70.32(2)(a) (a) The assessor shall segregate into the following classes on the basis of use and set down separately in proper columns the values of the land, exclusive of improvements, and, except for subds. 5. and 6., the improvements in each class:
70.32(2)(a)1. 1. Residential.
70.32(2)(a)2. 2. Commercial.
70.32(2)(a)3. 3. Manufacturing.
70.32(2)(a)4. 4. Agricultural.
70.32(2)(a)5. 5. Swamp or waste.
70.32(2)(a)6. 6. Productive forest land.
70.32(2)(a)7. 7. Other.
70.32(2)(c) (c) In this section:
70.32(2)(c)1. 1. "Agricultural land" means land, exclusive of buildings and improvements, that is devoted primarily to agricultural use, as defined by rule.
70.32(2)(c)2. 2. "Productive forest land" means land that is producing or is capable of producing commercial forest products and is not otherwise classified under this subsection.
70.32(2)(c)3. 3. "Residential" includes any parcel or part of a parcel of untilled land that is not suitable for the production of row crops, on which a dwelling or other form of human abode is located and which is not otherwise classified under this subsection.
70.32(2)(c)4. 4. "Swampland or wasteland" means bog, marsh, lowland brush, uncultivated land zoned as shoreland under s. 59.692 and shown as a wetland on a final map under s. 23.32 or other nonproductive lands not otherwise classified under this subsection.
70.32(2r) (2r)
70.32(2r)(a)(a) For the assessments as of January 1, 1996, and January 1, 1997, or until the farmland advisory council under s. 73.03 (49) makes its recommendation, but not to extend beyond January 1, 2009, the assessed value of each parcel of agricultural land is the assessed value of that parcel as of January 1, 1995.
70.32(2r)(b) (b) For each year beginning with 1998 or upon completion of the farmland advisory council's recommendation and promulgation of rules and ending no later than December 31, 2008, the assessed value of the parcel shall be reduced as follows:
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