Saw logs or timber removed from public lands during the year next preceding the first day of January or having been removed from such lands and in transit therefrom on the first day of January, shall be deemed located and assessed in the assessment district wherein such public lands are located and shall be assessed in no other assessment district. Saw logs or timber shall be deemed in transit when the same are being transported. On or before January 10 in each year the owner of such logs or timber shall furnish the assessor of the assessment district wherein they are assessable a verified statement of the amount, character and value of all such logs and timber. If the owner of any such logs or timber shall fail or refuse to furnish such statement or shall intentionally make a false statement, he or she is subject to the penalties prescribed by s. 70.36
. This subsection shall supersede any provision of law in conflict therewith. The term “owner" as used in this subsection is deemed to mean the person owning the logs or timber at the time of severing. “Public lands" as used in this subsection shall mean lands owned by the United States of America, the state of Wisconsin or any political subdivision of this state.
The situs for taxation assessment purposes of a movable bituminous plant was not in the town where the plant was physically present during most of the tax year because the property was neither “located" in the town nor “customarily kept" there. Wm. J. Kennedy & Son, Inc. v. Town of Albany, 66 Wis. 2d 447
, 225 N.W.2d 624
The residence of an incorporated company, for the purposes of s. 70.13
, shall be held to be in the assessment district where the principal office or place of business of such company shall be.
Assessment of vessels. 70.15(1)(1)
That in consideration of an annual payment into the treasury of any town, village or city where such property is assessable by the owner of any steam vessel, barge, boat or other water craft, owned within this state, or hailing from any port thereof, and employed regularly in interstate traffic of a sum equal to one cent per net ton of the registered tonnage thereof, said steam vessel, barge, boat or other water craft shall be and the same is hereby made exempt from further taxation, either state or municipal.
The owner of any steam vessel, barge, boat or other water craft, hailing from any port of this state, “and so employed regularly in interstate traffic," desiring to comply with the terms of this section, shall annually, on or before the first day of January, file with the clerk of such town, village or city a verified statement, in writing, containing the name, port of hail, tonnage and name of owner of such steam vessel, barge, boat or other water craft, and shall thereupon pay into the said treasury of such town, village or city a sum equal to one cent per net ton of the registered tonnage of said vessel, and the treasurer shall thereupon issue a receipt. All vessels, boats or other water craft not regularly employed in interstate traffic and all private yachts or pleasure boats belonging to inhabitants of this state, whether at home or abroad, shall be taxed as personal property.
History: 1977 c. 29
s. 1646 (3)
; 1977 c. 273
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.
All lands which have been or may be contracted for sale by any county shall be assessed and taxed to the parties contracting therefor.
The term “leased lands" should be construed broadly to include a number of situations in which the occupier of land not owned by him or her places improvements on the land; a formal lease is not required. Town of Menominee v. Skubitz, 53 Wis. 2d 430
, 192 N.W.2d 887
The tax lister may, but is not required to, change the ownership designation on joint property on the basis of notification other than formal procedures. 80 Atty. Gen. 73
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.
Property the taxation of which the federal government has consented to is taxable under this chapter.
History: 1987 a. 10
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 subsection shall affect or change the rules prescribed in s. 70.13
respecting the district in which such property shall be assessed.
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.
History: 1981 c. 20
; 2005 a. 253
Property whose title and most of the indicia of ownership is in the U.S. 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 Wis. 2d 299
, 182 N.W.2d 481
A trial court's finding, on stipulated facts, that the U.S. government was the beneficial owner and not subject to the personal property tax under sub. (1) constituted a conclusion of law; hence the supreme court was not limited in its review to the finding. Teledyne Industries, Inc. v. Milwaukee, 65 Wis. 2d 557
, 223 N.W.2d 586
Decisions permitting local taxation of the possession of federal property. Van Cleve, 1959 WLR 190.
Assessment, how made; liability and rights of representative. 70.19(1)(1)
When personal property is assessed under s. 70.18 (1)
to a person in charge or possession of the personal property other than the owner, the assessment of that personal property shall be entered upon the assessment roll separately from the assessment of that person's own personal property, adding to the person's name upon the tax roll words briefly indicating that the assessment is made to the person as the person in charge or possession of the property. The failure to enter the assessment separately or to indicate the representative capacity or other relationship of the person assessed shall not affect the validity of the assessment.
The person assessed under sub. (1)
and s. 70.18 (1)
is personally liable for the tax on the property. The person assessed under sub. (1)
and s. 70.18 (1)
has a personal right of action against the owner of the property for the amount of the taxes; has a lien for that amount upon the property with the rights and remedies for the preservation and enforcement of that lien as provided in ss. 779.45
; and is entitled to retain possession of the property until the owner of the property pays the tax on the property or reimburses the person assessed for the tax. The lien and right of possession relate back and exist from the time that the 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 assessed a bond in the amount and with the sureties as is directed and approved by the circuit court of the county in which the property is assessed, upon 8 days' notice to the person assessed. The bond shall be conditioned to hold the person assessed free and harmless from all costs, expense, liability or damage by reason of the assessment.
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.
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.
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.
Partnership; estates in hands of personal representative; 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 the 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 on the partnership's personal property.
Undistributed personal property belonging to the estate of a decedent shall be assessed as follows:
If a personal representative has been appointed and qualified, on the first day of January in the year in which the assessment is made, the property shall be assessed to the personal representative.
If a personal representative has not been appointed and qualified, on the first day of January in the year in which the assessment is made, the property may be assessed to the decedent's estate. The tax on the property shall be paid by the personal representative if one is subsequently appointed, or by the person or persons in possession of the property at the time of the assessment if a personal representative is not appointed.
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. 178.0306
Personal property being administered, how assessed. 70.22(1)(1)
In case one or more of 2 or more personal representatives or trustees of the estate of a decedent who died domiciled in this state are not residents of the state, the taxable personal property belonging to the estate shall be assessed to the personal representatives or trustees residing in this state. In case there are 2 or more personal representatives or trustees of the same estate residing in this state, but in different taxation districts, the assessment of the taxable personal property belonging to the estate shall be in the names of all of the personal representatives or trustees of the estate residing in this state. In case no personal representative or trustee resides in this state, the taxable personal property belonging to the estate may be assessed in the name of the personal representative or trustee, or in the names of all of the personal representatives or trustees if there are more than one, or in the name of the estate.
The taxes imposed pursuant to an assessment under sub. (1)
may be enforced as a claim against the estate, upon presentation of a claim for the taxes by the treasurer of the taxation district to the court in which the proceedings for the probate of the estate are pending. Upon due proof, the court shall allow and order the claim to be paid.
Before allowing the final account of a nonresident personal representative 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 any order or direction that is necessary to provide for the payment of the taxes.
The provisions of this section 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 personal representatives or trustees.
Duties of assessors; entry of parcels on assessment 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.
When 2 or more lots or tracts owned by the same person are considered by the assessor to be so improved or occupied with buildings as to be practically incapable of separate valuation, the lots or tracts may be entered as one parcel. Whenever any tract, parcel or lot of land has been surveyed and platted and a plat of the platted ground
filed or recorded according to law, the assessor shall designate the several lots and subdivisions of the platted ground as the lots and subdivisions are fixed and designated by the plat.
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.
History: 1977 c. 29
s. 1646 (3)
; 1977 c. 273
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 that indicate the land intended with ordinary and reasonable certainty and that 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 document number of the deed or mortgage or the volume and page where the deed or mortgage is 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 document number of the court record or the volume and page where the court record is 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)
History: 1987 a. 378
; 2017 a. 102
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. 66.0703
(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. No plat may be recorded in the office of the register of deeds unless it is produced on media that is acceptable to the register of deeds.
(3) Assessment, taxation, conveyancing. 70.27(3)(a)(a)
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, mortgage, or otherwise give notice of an interest in land that is within or part of an assessor's plat shall describe the affected land by the name of the assessor's plat, lot, block, or outlot.
Notwithstanding par. (a)
, lands within an assessor's plat that are divided by a subdivision plat that is prepared, approved and recorded and filed in compliance with ch. 236
or a certified survey map that is prepared and recorded and filed in compliance with s. 236.34
shall be described for all purposes with reference to the subdivision plat or certified survey map, as provided in ss. 236.28
and 236.34 (3)
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. This subsection does not prohibit the division of lands that are included in an assessor's plat by subdivision plat, as provided in s. 236.03
, or by certified survey map, as provided in s. 236.34
(5) Surveys, reconciliations.
The surveyor making the plat shall be a professional land surveyor licensed under ch. 443
and 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 administration 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 addresses, 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 professional land 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, those 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 document number of the record and, if given on the record, the volume and page where the record is recorded for the record that contains 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 a lot that has 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.
(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 professional land 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
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 professional land surveyor who made the plat, which shall state and contain:
The name of the governing body by whose order the plat was made, and the date of the order.
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.
A statement that the plat is a correct representation of all the exterior boundaries of the land surveyed and each parcel thereof.
A statement that the professional land surveyor has fully complied with the provisions of this section in filing the same.
(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 administration by the clerk of the governing body which ordered the plat. The department of administration 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 administration has certified on the face of the original plat that it complies with the applicable provisions of ss. 236.15
. 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 administration 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.
See also ch. Adm 49
, Wis. adm. code.
The reference to s. 66.60 [now s. 66.0703] in sub. (1) refers only to the collection procedures; it does not make all of that section apply. Dittner v. Town of Spencer, 55 Wis. 2d 707
, 201 N.W.2d 45
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 Wis. 2d 576
, 543 N.W.2d 812
(Ct. App. 1995), 95-2088
The provisions of s. 236.41 relating to vacation of streets are inapplicable to assessors plats. Once properly filed and recorded, an assessor's plat becomes the operative document of record, and only sections specified in s. 236.03 (2) apply to assessor's plats. Schaetz v. Town of Scott, 222 Wis. 2d 90
, 585 N.W.2d 889
(Ct. App. 1998), 98-0841
Section 236.03 (2) sets forth the “applicable provisions" of ss. 236.15 and 236.20 with which assessors' plats must comply under s. 70.27 (8). A determination by the state under sub. (8) that an assessor's plat does not comply with the applicable provisions of ss. 236.15 and 236.20 may be reviewed under ch. 227. 58 Atty. Gen. 198.
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.
Section 236.295 does not apply to assessors' plats. The amendment or correction of an assessor's plat under sub. (4) is an exercise of the police power that 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 are answered. 61 Atty. Gen. 25.
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.
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.
History: 1991 a. 316
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:
The number and value of steam and other vessels.
The value of machinery, tools and patterns.
The value of furniture, fixture and equipment.
The value of all other personal property except such as is exempt from taxation.
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.
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
, or 62.233
, any conservation easement under s. 700.40
, any conservation restriction under an agreement with the federal government and any restrictions under ch. 91
. Beginning with the property tax assessments as of January 1, 2000, the assessor may not consider the effect on the value of the property of any federal income tax credit that is extended to the property owner under section 42
of the Internal Revenue Code.
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)