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
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.
Assessment, taxation, conveyancing. 70.27(3)(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
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.
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.
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 assessors' 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 sub. (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)
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.
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:
“Agricultural forest land" means land that is producing or is capable of producing commercial forest products, if the land satisfies any of the following conditions:
It is contiguous to a parcel that has been classified in whole as agricultural land under this subsection, if the contiguous parcel is owned by the same person that owns the land that is producing or is capable of producing commercial forest products. In this subdivision, “contiguous" includes separated only by a road.
It is located on a parcel that contains land that is classified as agricultural land in the property tax assessment on January 1, 2004, and on January 1 of the year of assessment.
It is located on a parcel at least 50 percent of which, by acreage, was converted to land that is classified as agricultural land in the property tax assessment on January 1, 2005, or thereafter.
“Agricultural land" means land, exclusive of buildings and improvements and the land necessary for their location and convenience, that is devoted primarily to agricultural use.
“Agricultural use" means agricultural use as defined by the department of revenue by rule and includes the growing of short rotation woody crops, including poplars and willows, using agronomic practices.
“Agronomic practices" means agricultural practices generally associated with field crop production, including soil management, cultivation, and row cropping.
“Other," as it relates to par. (a) 7.
, means buildings and improvements; including any residence for the farm operator's spouse, children, parents, or grandparents; and the land necessary for the location and convenience of those buildings and improvements.
“Productive forest land" means land that is producing or is capable of producing commercial forest products and is not otherwise classified under this subsection.
“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.
“Undeveloped land" 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.
Agricultural land shall be assessed according to the income that could be generated from its rental for agricultural use.
Manufacturing property subject to assessment under s. 70.995
shall be assessed according to that section.
Beginning with the assessments as of January 1, 2004, agricultural forest land shall be assessed at 50 percent of its full value, as determined under sub. (1)
, and undeveloped land shall be assessed at 50 percent of its full value, as determined under sub. (1)
Beginning with the assessments as of January 1, 2017, the assessor shall assess the land within a district corridor described under s. 88.74
in the same class under sub. (2) (a)
as the land adjoining the corridor, if the adjoining land and the land within the corridor are owned by the same person.
History: 1973 c. 90
; 1977 c. 29
; 1979 c. 34
; 1981 c. 20
; 1983 a. 36
; 1983 a. 275
s. 15 (8)
; 1983 a. 410
; 1985 a. 54
; 1991 a. 39
; 1993 a. 337
; 1995 a. 27
; 1999 a. 9
; 2001 a. 109
; 2003 a. 33
; 2009 a. 177
; 2013 a. 80
; 2017 a. 115
See also ch. Tax 18
, Wis. adm. code.
When market value is established by a fair sale of the property or sales of reasonably comparable property are available, it is error for an assessor to resort to other factors to determine fair market value, although such factors in the absence of such sales would have a bearing on market value. Rules on judicial review of valuation presuppose that the method of evaluation is in accordance with the statutes; hence errors of law should be corrected by the court on certiorari and the failure to make an assessment on the statutory basis is an error of law. State ex rel. Markarian v. City of Cudahy, 45 Wis. 2d 683
, 173 N.W.2d 627
While a sale establishes value, the assessment still has to be equal to that on comparable property. Sub. (2) requires the assessor to fix a value before classifying the land; it does not prohibit the assessor from considering the zoning of the property when it is used for some other purpose. State ex rel. Hensel v. Town of Wilson, 55 Wis. 2d 101
, 197 N.W.2d 794
In making an assessment based on a recent sale of the property, the assessor cannot increase the value because no commission was paid to a broker. State ex rel. Lincoln Fireproof Warehouse Co. v. Board of Review, 60 Wis. 2d 84
, 208 N.W.2d 380
Under an option agreement, the sellers' right to repurchase their homestead and their right of first refusal for the purchase of industrial buildings to be constructed on the property were factors going only to the willingness of the parties to deal, not their compulsion to do so; the value of these rights, together with the monetary amount per acre, comprised the total sale price of the land. State ex rel. Geipel v. City of Milwaukee, 68 Wis. 2d 726
, 229 N.W.2d 585
Evidence of net income from unique property was admissible to show market value. An assessor's unconfirmed valuation based on estimated replacement cost less depreciation could not stand alone because of uncontroverted evidence of actual costs of recent construction. Rosen v. City of Milwaukee, 72 Wis. 2d 653
, 242 N.W.2d 681
When there are no actual sales, cost, depreciation, replacement value, income, industrial conditions, location and occupancy, sales of like property, book value, insurance carried, value asserted in a prospectus, and appraisals are all relevant to determination of market value for assessment purposes. State ex rel. Mitchell Aero, Inc. v. Board of Review, 74 Wis. 2d 268
, 246 N.W.2d 521
District-wide use of comparative sales statistics to determine annual percentage increases of assessments was invalid under sub. (1). State ex rel. Kaskin v. Board of Review, 91 Wis. 2d 272
, 282 N.W.2d 620
(Ct. App. 1979). See also Lloyd v. Board of Review, 179 Wis. 2d 33
, 505 N.W.2d 465
(Ct. App. 1993).
An assessor erred in failing to consider disadvantages and liabilities that affect the fair market value of dams. Wisconsin Edison Corp. v. Robertson, 99 Wis. 2d 561
, 299 N.W.2d 626
(Ct. App. 1980).
The lease of comparable property constituted the “best information" regarding fair market value of leasehold improvements. State ex rel. Keane v. Board of Review, 99 Wis. 2d 584
, 299 N.W.2d 638
(Ct. App. 1980).
Sub. (1) requires the use of a cash equivalency adjustment in assessing property based upon the sale of comparable properties. State ex rel. Flint Building Co. v. Kenosha County Board of Review, 126 Wis. 2d 152
, 376 N.W.2d 364
(Ct. App. 1985).
An assessment largely based upon consideration of equalized value was invalid. The court erred by remanding with the requirement that a new assessment consider the actual subsequent sale of the subject property. State ex rel. Kesselman v. Board of Review, 133 Wis. 2d 122
, 394 N.W.2d 745
(Ct. App. 1986).
The board of review erred as a matter of law by basing an assessment on “market" rental income when there was a recent arms-length sale of the property. Darcel, Inc. v. City of Manitowoc, 137 Wis. 2d 623
, 405 N.W.2d 344
In determining market value under sub. (1), the board of review must determine whether financing arrangements between the seller and buyer affected the sale price; sub. (1) prohibits assessment exceeding market value. Flood v. Village of Lomira, 153 Wis. 2d 428
, 451 N.W.2d 422
A tax assessment under sub. (1) may include as a component of value the property's transferable income-producing capacity that is reflected by a recent sale. The key of the analysis is whether the value is appended to the property and is thus transferable with the property or whether it is, in effect, independent of the property so that the value either stays with the seller or dissipates upon sale. In this case, a shopping mall's reason for existence—namely, the leasing of space to tenants and related activities such as trash disposal, baby stroller rentals, etc.—was a transferable value that was inextricably intertwined with the land, just as the transferable value of a farm—the growing of crops—is inextricably intertwined with the property from which the farm operates. State ex rel. N/S Associates v. Board of Review, 164 Wis. 2d 31
, 473 N.W.2d 554
(Ct. App. 1991).
This section establishes a unitary taxing scheme; mineral rights are taxed as an element of the real estate and not separately. Cornell University v. Rusk County, 166 Wis. 2d 811
, 481 N.W.2d 485
(Ct. App. 1992).
The capitalization of income method, based on estimated market rents rather than on actual rent, was an improper method of assessing subsidized rental property. Metropolitan Holding Co. v. Board of Review, 173 Wis. 2d 626
, 495 N.W.2d 314
Compliance with the s. 73.03 (2a) assessment manual is not a defense when the method of assessment violates sub. (1). Metropolitan Holding Co. v. Board of Review, 173 Wis. 2d 626
, 495 N.W.2d 314
When an assessor disavows the correctness of a valuation of comparable property shown on the tax roll, the burden is on the assessor to explain why the assessment is incorrect. State ex rel. Brighton Square Co. v. City of Madison, 178 Wis. 2d 577
, 504 N.W.2d 436
(Ct. App. 1993).
A taxpayer challenging an assessment has the burden of proving that a sale was an arm's-length transaction. The taxpayer has the burden of proof on each assessment manual condition that must be met. Doneff v. City of Two Rivers, 184 Wis. 2d 203
, 516 N.W.2d 383
The use of owner-operator income to value property is allowed if the net income reflects the property's chief source of value, the income is produced without skill of the owner, or the owner's skill and labor are factored out and other valuation approaches are considered. Waste Management of Wisconsin, Inc. v. Kenosha County Board of Review, 184 Wis. 2d 541
, 516 N.W.2d 695
There is no bright line rule for the number of comparable properties that must be shown to prove that the rule of uniformity is being violated. Assessments that are discriminatory and made based on arbitrary and improper considerations cannot stand. Levine v. Fox Point Board of Review, 191 Wis. 2d 363
, 528 N.W.2d 424
Property that is encumbered by a bundle of rights must be appraised at its value using the current value of that bundle of rights. City of West Bend v. Continental IV Fund, 193 Wis. 2d 481
, 535 N.W.2d 24
(Ct. App. 1995).
Real property shall be valued based on the best information available. The best information is a recent arms-length sale of the property, followed by recent sales of comparable property. If either of those are not available the assessor may look to all factors that collectively have a bearing on the value of the property. Campbell v. Town of Delavan, 210 Wis. 2d 239
, 565 N.W.2d 209
(Ct. App. 1997), 96-1291