Upon receipt of an objection with respect to the assessment rolls of taxation districts prepared by a county assessor the board of review as constituted under s. 70.99 (10)
may direct such objection to be investigated by the county board of assessors if such board has been established under s. 70.99 (10m)
. If such objection has been investigated by the county board of assessors as provided by s. 70.99 (10m)
, the county board of review may adopt the determination of county board of assessors unless the objector requests or the board of review orders a hearing. At least 2 days' notice of the time fixed for such hearing shall be given to the objector or the objector's attorney and to the corporation counsel. If the county board of review adopts the determination of the county board of assessors and no further hearing is held, the clerk of the board of review shall record the adoption in the minutes of the board and shall correct the assessment roll as provided by s. 70.48
The board shall hear upon oath all persons who appear before it in relation to the assessment. Instead of appearing in person at the hearing, the board may allow the property owner, or the property owner's representative, at the request of either person, to appear before the board, under oath, by telephone or to submit written statements, under oath, to the board. The board shall hear upon oath, by telephone, all ill or disabled persons who present to the board a letter from a physician, osteopath, physician assistant, as defined in s. 448.01 (6)
, or advanced practice nurse prescriber certified under s. 441.16 (2)
that confirms their illness or disability. At the request of the property owner or the property owner's representative, the board may postpone and reschedule a hearing under this subsection, but may not postpone and reschedule a hearing more than once during the same session for the same property. The board at such hearing shall proceed as follows:
The clerk shall swear all persons testifying before it or by telephone in relation to the assessment.
The owner or the owner's representatives and the owner's witnesses shall first be heard.
The board may examine under oath such persons as it believes have knowledge of the value of such property.
It may and upon request of the assessor or the objector shall compel the attendance of witnesses, except objectors who may testify by telephone, and the production of all books, inventories, appraisals, documents and other data which may throw light upon the value of property.
All proceedings shall be taken in full by a stenographer or by a recording device, the expense thereof to be paid by the district. The board may order that the notes be transcribed, and in case of an appeal or other court proceedings they shall be transcribed. If the proceedings are taken by a recording device, the clerk shall keep a list of persons speaking in the order in which they speak.
The clerk's notes, written objections and all other material submitted to the board of review, tape recordings of the proceedings and any other transcript of proceedings shall be retained for at least 7 years, shall be available for public inspection and copies of these items shall be supplied promptly at a reasonable time and place to anyone requesting them at the requester's expense.
All determinations of objections shall be by roll call vote.
The assessor shall provide to the board specific information about the validity of the valuation to which objection is made and shall provide to the board the information that the assessor used to determine that valuation.
The board shall presume that the assessor's valuation is correct. That presumption may be rebutted by a sufficient showing by the objector that the valuation is incorrect.
The board may, at the request of the taxpayer or assessor, or at its own discretion, waive the hearing of an objection under sub. (8)
or, in a 1st class city, under sub. (16)
and allow the taxpayer to have the taxpayer's assessment reviewed under sub. (13)
. For purposes of this subsection, the board shall submit the notice of decision under sub. (12)
using the amount of the taxpayer's assessment as the finalized amount. For purposes of this subsection, if the board waives the hearing, the waiver disallows the taxpayer's claim on excessive assessment under s. 74.37 (3)
and, notwithstanding the time period under s. 74.37 (3) (d)
, the taxpayer has 60 days from the notice of the hearing waiver in which to commence an action under s. 74.37 (3) (d)
From the evidence before it the board shall determine whether the assessor's assessment is correct. If the assessment is too high or too low, the board shall raise or lower the assessment accordingly and shall state on the record the correct assessment and that that assessment is reasonable in light of all of the relevant evidence that the board received. A majority of the members of the board present at the meeting to make the determination shall constitute a quorum for purposes of making such determination, and a majority vote of the quorum shall constitute the determination. In the event there is a tie vote, the assessment shall be sustained.
A board member may not be counted in determining a quorum and may not vote concerning any determination unless, concerning such determination, such member:
Received the transcript of the hearing no less than 5 days prior to the meeting and read such transcript; or
Received a mechanical recording of the evidence no less than 5 days prior to the meeting and listened to such recording; or
Received a copy of a summary and all exceptions thereto no less than 5 days prior to the meeting and read such summary and exceptions. In this subdivision “summary" means a written summary of the evidence prepared by one or more board members attending the hearing of evidence, which summary shall be distributed to all board members and all parties to the contested assessment and “exceptions" means written exceptions to the summary of evidence filed by parties to the contested assessment.
Assessment by board.
If the board has reason to believe, upon examination of the roll and other pertinent information, that other property, the assessment of which is not complained of, is assessed above or below the general average of the assessment of the taxation district, or is omitted, the board shall:
Notify the owner, agent or possessor of such property of its intention to review such assessment or place it on the assessment roll and of the time and place fixed for such hearing in time to be heard before the board in relation thereto, provided the residence of such owner, agent or possessor be known to any member of the board or the assessor.
Fix the day, hour and place at which such matter will be heard.
Subpoena such witnesses, except objectors who may testify by telephone, as it deems necessary to testify concerning the value of such property and, except in the case of an assessment made by a county assessor pursuant to s. 70.99
, the expense incurred shall be a charge against the district.
At the time appointed proceed to review the matter as provided in sub. (8)
In all proceedings before the board the taxation district shall be a party in interest to secure or sustain an equitable assessment of all the property in the taxation district.
Notice of decision.
Prior to final adjournment, the board of review shall provide the objector, or the appropriate party under sub. (10)
, notice by personal delivery or by mail, return receipt required, of the amount of the assessment as finalized by the board and an explanation of appeal rights and procedures under sub. (13)
and ss. 70.85
. Upon delivering or mailing the notice under this subsection, the clerk of the board of review shall prepare an affidavit specifying the date when that notice was delivered or mailed.
Except as provided in s. 70.85
, appeal from the determination of the board of review shall be by an action for certiorari commenced within 90 days after the taxpayer receives the notice under sub. (12)
. The action shall be given preference. If the court on the appeal finds any error in the proceedings of the board which renders the assessment or the proceedings void, it shall remand the assessment to the board for further proceedings in accordance with the court's determination and retain jurisdiction of the matter until the board has determined an assessment in accordance with the court's order. For this purpose, if final adjournment of the board occurs prior to the court's decision on the appeal, the court may order the governing body of the assessing authority to reconvene the board.
In the event the board of review has not completed its review or heard an objection to an assessment on real or personal property prior to the date the taxes predicated upon such assessment are due, or in the event there is an appeal as provided in sub. (13)
and s. 74.37
from the correction of the board of review to the court, the time for payment of such taxes as levied is the same as provided in ch. 74
and if not paid in the time prescribed, such taxes are delinquent and subject to the same provisions as other delinquent taxes.
Nothing herein contained shall be construed to alter or repeal any of the provisions of s. 70.35
First class city, filing objections, proceedings, appeal. 70.47(16)(a)(a)
In 1st class cities all objections to the amount or valuation of real or personal property shall be first made in writing and filed with the commissioner of assessments on or before the 3rd Monday in May. No person may, in any action or proceeding, question the amount or valuation of real or personal property in the assessment rolls of the city unless objections have been so filed. The board may not waive the requirement that objections be in writing. Persons who own land and improvements to that land may object to the aggregate valuation of that land and improvements to that land, but no person who owns land and improvements to that land may object only to the valuation of that land or only to the valuation of improvements to that land. If the objections have been investigated by a committee of the board of assessors under s. 70.07 (6)
, the board of review may adopt the recommendation of the committee unless the objector requests or the board orders a hearing. At least 2 days' notice of the time fixed for the hearing shall be given to the objector or attorney and to the city attorney of the city. The provisions of the statutes relating to boards of review not inconsistent with this subsection apply to proceedings before the boards of review of 1st class cities, except that the board need not adjourn until the assessment roll is completed by the commissioner of assessments, as required in s. 70.07 (6)
, but may immediately hold hearings on objections filed with the commissioner of assessments, and the changes, corrections and determinations made by the board acting within its powers shall be prima facie correct. Appeal from the determination shall be by an action for certiorari commenced within 90 days after the taxpayer receives the notice under sub. (12)
. The action shall be given preference.
In 1st class cities if an assessment valuation for taxes based on the value of real property is the same for the current year as for the preceding year and ownership of the property is unchanged, and if an objection had been filed to the assessment valuation for the preceding year and the assessed valuation by the assessor was sustained by the board of review or the courts, an objection filed under sub. (7)
to the assessment valuation on the same property for the current year shall be subject to a fee not to exceed $10 payable to the city at the time of filing the objection or within 3 days thereafter, and the fee shall be a condition for the hearing of the objection before the board of review.
Summary of proceedings.
After the board of review has completed its determinations, the clerk shall prepare a summary of the proceedings and determinations, on forms prescribed by the department of revenue, which shall include the following information:
Description or designation of the property subject to the objection;
Amount of the assessment about which taxpayer objected;
Names of any persons who appeared on behalf of taxpayer; and
Board's determination on taxpayer's objection.
Whoever with intent to injure or defraud alters, damages, removes or conceals any of the items specified under subs. (8) (f)
is guilty of a Class I felony.
Whoever intentionally alters, damages, removes or conceals any public notice, posted as required by sub. (2)
, before the expiration of the time for which the notice was posted, may be fined not more than $200 or imprisoned not more than 6 months or both.
History: 1973 c. 90
; 1975 c. 151
; 1977 c. 29
, 1647 (8)
; 1977 c. 273
; 1977 c. 300
; 1977 c. 414
; 1979 c. 34
, 2102 (46) (b)
; 1979 c. 95
; 1981 c. 20
; 1983 a. 192
; 1985 a. 39
; 1985 a. 120
, 3202 (46)
; 1985 a. 188
; 1987 a. 27
; 1989 a. 31
; 1991 a. 39
; 1993 a. 82
; 1997 a. 237
; 2001 a. 109
; 2005 a. 187
; 2007 a. 86
; 2011 a. 161
; 2013 a. 228
; 2017 a. 68
Judicial Council Note, 1981: References in subs. (13) and (16) (a) to “writs" of certiorari have been removed because that remedy is now available in an ordinary action. See s. 781.01, stats., and the note thereto. [Bill 613-A]
A board of review may deny a taxpayer a hearing if the taxpayer's objections are not stated on an approved form; the board is not required to accept information submitted in a different form. Certiorari review under this section is limited to the action of the board. Bitters v. Newbold, 51 Wis. 2d 493
, 187 N.W.2d 339
Board of review consideration of testimony by the village assessor at an executive session subsequent to the presentation of evidence by the taxpayer was contrary to the open meeting law, s. 66.77 [now ss. 19.81 to 19.98]. Although it was permissible for the board to convene a closed session for the purpose of deliberating after a quasi-judicial hearing, the proceedings did not constitute mere deliberations but were a continuation of the hearing without the presence of or notice to the objecting taxpayer. Dolphin v. Butler Board of Review, 70 Wis. 2d 403
, 234 N.W.2d 277
A circuit court's retained jurisdiction in board of review certiorari actions under s. 70.47 (13) does not affect the finality of an order for appeal purposes. Steenberg v. Town of Oakfield, 157 Wis. 2d 674
, 461 N.W.2d 148
(Ct. App. 1990).
On certiorari review of a board of review decision only whether the board acted: 1) within its jurisdiction; 2) according to law; 3) arbitrarily, oppressively, or unreasonably; or 4) without evidence to make the order or determination in question is considered. Metropolitan Holding Co. v. Milwaukee Board of Review, 173 Wis. 2d 626
, 495 N.W.2d 314
When a board disregards uncontroverted evidence, its determination must be set aside. Campbell v. Town of Delavan, 210 Wis. 2d 239
, 565 N.W.2d 209
(Ct. App. 1997), 96-1291
Approving an increased assessment for only one property, despite evidence that it and other properties had recent sales at a price above prior assessments, violated the law; its approval by the board of review was arbitrary. Noah's Ark Family Park v. Village of Lake Delton, 210 Wis. 2d 301
, 565 N.W.2d 230
(Ct. App. 1997), 96-1074
A board's across the board 3 percent assessment reduction of all lots in a developer's subdivision was not arbitrary and capricious when the board was presented with conflicting credible evidence. Whitecaps Homes v. Kenosha County Board of Review, 212 Wis. 2d 714
, 569 N.W.2d 714
(Ct. App. 1997), 96-1913
Sections 70.47 (13), 70.85, and 74.37 provide the exclusive methods to challenge a municipality's bases for assessment of individual parcels. All require appeal to the board of review prior to court action. There is no alternative procedure to challenge an assessment's compliance with the uniformity clause. Hermann v. Town of Delavan, 215 Wis. 2d 370
, 572 N.W.2d 855
It was not improper for an assessor to testify as a witness and also to ask questions of other witnesses at a board of review hearing. Rite-Hite Corp. v. Brown Deer Board of Review, 216 Wis. 2d 189
, 575 N.W.2d 721
(Ct. App. 1997), 96-3178
A landowner who has in the immediately previous year already objected to the board regarding an unchanged assessment is relieved from filing another objection to the current assessment prior to commencing an action. Duesterbeck v. Town of Koshkonong, 2000 WI App 6
, 232 Wis. 2d 16
, 605 N.W.2d 904
When after hearing a taxpayer's complaint the board approved the assessor's valuation by giving notice affirming the assessment under sub. (1), the board waived the requirement under sub. (7) (a) that the taxpayer's objection be in writing. Fee v. Town of Florence Board of Review, 2003 WI App 17
, 259 Wis. 2d 868
, 657 N.W.2d 112
Neither sub. (7) nor Hermann
stand for the proposition that a property owner may not raise any issue with the trial court that was not fully argued before the board of review. Rather, Hermann
explains that under sub. (7) any property owner wishing to challenge a property tax assessment, whether via certiorari review, written complaint to the department of revenue, or a claim filed under s. 74.37, must first file an objection before the board of review. U.S. Oil Co., Inc. v. City of Milwaukee, 2011 WI App 4
, 331 Wis. 2d 407
, 794 N.W.2d 904
makes clear that exhaustion of remedies before the board of review is required unless the property taxed is exempt or lies outside of the taxing district. An assertion that a city's assessment process was flawed and unconstitutional, if true, would make the levy merely voidable, not void ab initio.
Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc. v. City of Milwaukee, 2011 WI App 117
, 336 Wis. 2d 707
, 805 N.W.2d 582
A taxpayer who objects to an assessment on the basis of the classification of the property has the burden of proving that the classification is erroneous. In this case, the taxpayer did not meet his burden of proof, and the board of review's determination to maintain the assessment was supported by a reasonable view of the evidence. Sausen v. Town of Black Creek Board of Review, 2014 WI 9
, 352 Wis. 2d 576
, 843 N.W.2d 39
. See also Thoma v. Village of Slinger, 2018 WI 45
, 381 Wis. 2d 311
, 912 N.W.2d 56
A property owner is absolved from complying with sub. (7)'s objection requirements when: 1) the property owner has filed a procedurally correct sub. (7) objection to the property's assessment in the prior year; 2) the assessment has not changed between the prior year and the current year; and 3) the prior year's objection is still unresolved as of the date of the first meeting of the board of review for the current year's assessments. Walgreen Co. v. City of Oshkosh, 2014 WI App 54
, 354 Wis. 2d 17
, 848 N.W.2d 314
The plaintiffs were entitled to a hearing to contest their tax assessment even though they did not permit a tax assessor to enter the interior of their home. Milewski v. Town of Dover, 2017 WI 79
, 377 Wis. 2d 38
, 899 N.W.2d 303
Boards of review cannot rely on exemptions in s. 19.85 (1) to close any meeting in view of explicit requirements in s. 70.47 (2m). 65 Atty. Gen. 162.
Wisconsin's Property Tax Assessment Appeal System. Ardern. Wis. Law. March 1996.
Over Assessed? Appealing Home Tax Assessments. McAdams. Wis. Law. July 2011.
Boards of Review: How to Contest Property Taxes. Drea. Wis. Law. May 2018.
Assessor to attend board of review.
The assessor or the assessor's authorized representative shall attend without order or subpoena all hearings before the board of review and under oath submit to examination and fully disclose to the board such information as the assessor may have touching the assessment and any other matters pertinent to the inquiry being made. All part-time assessors shall receive the same compensation for such attendance as is allowed to the members of the board but no county assessor or member of a county assessor's staff shall receive any compensation other than that person's regular salary for attendance at a board of review. The clerk shall make all corrections to the assessment roll ordered by the board of review, including all changes in the valuation of real property. When any valuation of real property is changed the clerk shall enter the valuation fixed by the board in red ink in the proper class above the figures of the assessor, and the figures of the assessor shall be crossed out with red ink. The clerk shall also enter upon the assessment roll, in the proper place, the names of all persons found liable to taxation on personal property by the board of review, setting opposite such names respectively the aggregate valuation of such property as determined by the assessor, after deducting exemptions and making such corrections as the board has ordered. All changes in valuation of personal property made by the board of review shall be made in the same manner as changes in real estate.
History: 1991 a. 316
Affidavit of assessor. 70.49(1)(1)
Before the meeting of the board of review, the assessor shall attach to the completed assessment roll an affidavit in a form prescribed by the department of revenue.
The value of all real and personal property entered into the assessment roll to which such affidavit is attached by the assessor shall, in all actions and proceedings involving such values, be presumptive evidence that all such properties have been justly and equitably assessed in proper relationship to each other.
No assessor shall be allowed in any court or place by oath or testimony to contradict or impeach any affidavit or certificate made or signed by the assessor as assessor.
In this section “assessor" means an assessor or any person appointed or designated under s. 70.055
History: 1991 a. 316
; 1993 a. 307
Delivery of roll.
Except in counties that have a county assessment system under s. 70.99
and in cities of the 1st class and in 2nd class cities that have a board of assessors under s. 70.075
the assessor shall, on or before the first Monday in May, deliver the completed assessment roll and all the sworn statements and valuations of personal property to the clerk of the town, city or village, who shall file and preserve them in the clerk's office. On or before the first Monday in April, a county assessor under s. 70.99
shall deliver the completed assessment roll and all sworn statements and valuations of personal property to the clerks of the towns, cities and villages in the county, who shall file and preserve them in the clerk's office.
Fraudulent valuations by assessor.
Any assessor, or person appointed or designated under s. 70.055
, who intentionally fixes the value of any property assessed by that person at less or more than the true value thereof prescribed by law for the valuation of the same, or intentionally omits from assessment any property liable to taxation in the assessment district, or otherwise intentionally violates or fails to perform any duty imposed upon that person by law relating to the assessment of property for taxation, shall forfeit to the state not less than $50 nor more than $250.
History: 1991 a. 316
Fraud by member of board of review.
Any member of the board of review of any assessment district who shall intentionally fix the value of any property assessed in such district, or shall intentionally agree with any other member of such board to fix the value of any of such property at less or more than the true value thereof prescribed by law for the valuation of the same, or shall intentionally omit or agree to omit from assessment, any property liable to taxation in such assessment district, or shall otherwise intentionally violate or fail to perform any duty imposed upon the member by law relating to the assessment of property for taxation, shall forfeit to the state not less than $50 nor more than $250.
History: 1991 a. 316
Civil liability of assessor or member of board of review.
If any assessor, or person appointed or designated under s. 70.055
, or any member of the board of review of any assessment district is guilty of any violation or omission of duty as specified in ss. 70.501
, such persons shall be liable in damages to any person who may sustain loss or injury thereby, to the amount of such loss or injury; and any person sustaining such loss or injury shall be entitled to all the remedies given by law in actions for damages for tortious or wrongful acts. This section does not apply to the department of revenue or its employees when appointed or designated under s. 70.055
History: 1977 c. 29
Assessment review and tax roll in first class cities. 70.51(1)(1)
The board of review in all 1st class cities, after they have examined, corrected and completed the assessment roll of said city and not later than the first Monday in November, shall deliver the same to the commissioner of assessments, who shall thereupon reexamine and perfect the same and make out therefrom a complete tax roll in the manner and form provided by law. All laws applicable to any such city relating to the making of such tax rolls shall apply to the making of the tax roll by said commissioner of assessments, except that the work of making said rolls shall be performed by the assessors and such other employees in the commissioner of assessments' office as the commissioner of assessments shall designate. After the completion of said tax roll in the manner provided by law, the commissioner of assessments shall deliver the tax roll to the city treasurer of such city on the 3rd Monday of December in each year.
If the board of review has not completed its work within the time limited by the first Monday in November, it shall nevertheless deliver the assessment roll to the commissioner of assessments as therein required, and the commissioner of assessments shall thereupon perfect the same as though the board of review had fully completed its work thereon. In any case wherein the board of review alters the assessment after the first Monday of November and before the treasurer is required to make the return of delinquent taxes, the assessment roll and the tax roll may be corrected accordingly in the manner provided in s. 74.05
, except that the consent of the treasurer shall not be required.
The county clerk of any county having a population of 750,000 or more and containing a city of the 1st class shall deliver the county clerk's certificates of apportionment of taxes to the commissioner of assessments instead of the city clerk of such city.
Delayed action of reviewing authority. 70.511(1)(1)
Value to be used in setting tax rate.
If the reviewing authority has not completed its work prior to the time set by a municipality for establishing its current tax rate, the municipality shall use the total value, including contested values, shown in the assessment roll in setting its tax rate.
If the reviewing authority has not made a determination prior to the time of the tax levy with respect to a particular objection to the amount, valuation or taxability of property, the tax levy on the property or person shall be based on the contested assessed value of the property. A tax bill shall be sent to, and paid by, the person subject to the tax levy as though there had been no objection filed, except that the payment shall be considered to be made under protest. The entire tax bill shall be paid when due under s. 74.11
even though the reviewing authority has reduced the assessment prior to the time for full payment of the tax billed.