2009 - 2010 LEGISLATURE
March 31, 2009 - Introduced by Senators Plale, Lehman, Hansen, Holperin,
and Schultz, cosponsored by Representatives Soletski, Staskunas,
Smith, Hixson, Fields, Danou, Zepnick, Grigsby, Gunderson, Petersen,
Kestell, A. Ott, Suder, Vos, Petrowski, Townsend, Newcomer, Van Roy, Ripp,
Kerkman, Brooks, Montgomery, Honadel, Garthwaite
and Jorgensen.
Referred to Committee on Health, Health Insurance, Privacy, Property Tax
Relief, and Revenue.
SB145,1,3 1An Act to renumber and amend 70.34; and to create 70.34 (2) of the statutes;
2relating to: determining the value of billboards for personal property tax
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Under current law, a billboard is subject to the imposition of personal property
taxes. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has recently determined that, although net
income from billboard rentals may be a factor to consider, it cannot be the sole
controlling factor for determining the value of a billboard for property tax purposes.
See, Adams Outdoor Advertising, Ltd. v. City of Madison, 294 Wis. 2d 441, 717
N.W.2d 803. The court also found that, by not determining the billboard's value
based on its cost, less depreciation, the city assessor contravened the prevailing
practice for assessing billboards not only in this state, but throughout the United
Under this bill, for personal property tax purposes, an assessor must determine
a billboard's value by subtracting depreciation from the cost of reproducing the
billboard. In addition, consistent with Adams Outdoor Advertising, Ltd., the
assessor may not include the value of any permits issued, leasehold interests, or
other intangibles with regard to the billboard for the purpose of determining the
billboard's assessed value.

For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
SB145, s. 1 1Section 1. 70.34 of the statutes is renumbered 70.34 (1) and amended to read:
SB145,2,122 70.34 (1) All Subject to sub. (2), all articles of personal property shall, as far
3as practicable, be valued by the assessor upon actual view at their true cash value;
4and after arriving at the total valuation of all articles of personal property which the
5assessor shall be able to discover as belonging to any person, if the assessor has
6reason to believe that such person has other personal property or any other thing of
7value liable to taxation, the assessor shall add to such aggregate valuation of
8personal property an amount which, in the assessor's judgment, will render such
9aggregate valuation a just and equitable valuation of all the personal property liable
10to taxation belonging to such person. In carrying out the duties imposed on the
11assessor by this section, the assessor shall act in the manner specified in the
12Wisconsin property assessment manual provided under s. 73.03 (2a).
SB145, s. 2 13Section 2. 70.34 (2) of the statutes is created to read:
SB145,2,2114 70.34 (2) The assessor shall determine the value of an outdoor off-premises
15advertising sign by subtracting depreciation from the cost of reproducing the sign,
16consistent with the cost approach specified in the Wisconsin property assessment
17manual provided under s. 73.03 (2a). The value determined under this subsection
18shall not include the value of any permits issued, leasehold interests, or other
19intangibles with regard to the outdoor off-premises advertising sign. In this
20subsection, "off-premises advertising sign" means a sign that does not advertise the
21business or activity that occurs on the site where the sign is located.
SB145, s. 3
1Section 3. Initial applicability.
SB145,3,22 (1) This act first applies to the property tax assessments as of January 1, 2009.
SB145,3,33 (End)