A town clerk's compensation may be increased for service on the board of review if the clerk has been designated part-time by the town meeting. 79 Atty. Gen. 176
Board of review proceedings. 70.47(1)(1)
Time and place of meeting.
The board of review shall meet annually at any time during the 45-day period beginning on the 4th Monday of April, but no sooner than 7 days after the last day on which the assessment roll is open for examination under s. 70.45
. In towns and villages the board shall meet at the town or village hall or some place designated by the town or village board. If there is no such hall, it shall meet at the clerk's office, or in towns at the place where the last annual town meeting was held. In cities the board shall meet at the council chamber or some place designated by the council and in cities of the 1st class in some place designated by the commissioner of assessments of such cities. A majority shall constitute a quorum except that 2 members may hold any hearing of the evidence required to be held by such board under subs. (8)
, if the requirements of sub. (9)
At least 15 days before the first session of the board of review, or at least 30 days before the first session of the board of review in any year in which the taxation district conducts a revaluation under s. 70.05
, the clerk of the board shall publish a class 1 notice, place a notice in at least 3 public places and place a notice on the door of the town hall, of the village hall, of the council chambers or of the city hall of the time and place of the first meeting of the board under sub. (3)
and of the requirements under sub. (7) (aa)
. A taxpayer who shows that the clerk failed to publish the notice under this subsection may file a claim under s. 74.37
(2m) Open meetings.
All meetings of the board of review shall be publicly held and open to all citizens at all times. No formal action of any kind shall be introduced, deliberated upon or adopted at any closed session or meeting of a board of review.
At its first meeting, the board of review:
Shall receive the assessment roll and sworn statements from the clerk.
Shall be in session at least 2 hours for taxpayers to appear and examine the assessment roll and other assessment data.
Shall schedule for hearing each written objection that it receives during the first 2 hours of the meeting or that it received prior to the first meeting.
Shall grant a waiver of the 48-hour notice of an intent to file a written or oral objection if a property owner who does not meet the notice requirement appears before the board during the first 2 hours of the meeting, shows good cause for failure to meet the 48-hour notice requirement and files a written objection.
May hear any written objections if the board gave notice of the hearing to the property owner and the assessor at least 48 hours before the beginning of the scheduled meeting or if both the property owner and the assessor waive the 48-hour notice requirement.
The assessor shall be present at the first meeting of the board of review.
For each properly filed written objection that the board receives and schedules during its first meeting, but does not hear at the first meeting, the board shall notify each objector and the assessor, at least 48 hours before an objection is to be heard, of the time of that hearing. If, during any meeting, the board determines that it cannot hear some of the written objections at the time scheduled for them, it shall create a new schedule, and it shall notify each objector who has been rescheduled, at least 48 hours before the objection is to be heard, of the new time of the hearing.
If an objector fails to provide written or oral notice of an intent to object 48 hours before the first scheduled meeting, fails to request a waiver of the notice requirement under par. (a) 4.
, appears before the board at any time up to the end of the 5th day of the session or up to the end of the final day of the session if the session is less than 5 days, files a written objection and provides evidence of extraordinary circumstances; the board of review may waive all notice requirements and hear the objection.
If the assessment roll is not completed at the time of the first meeting, the board shall adjourn for the time necessary to complete the roll, and shall post a written notice on the outer door of the place of meeting stating the time to which the meeting is adjourned.
With respect to the assessment rolls of taxing districts prepared by a county assessor, the board of review as constituted under s. 70.99 (10)
shall schedule a meeting in each taxing jurisdiction on specific dates and shall comply with the provisions of this subsection and sub. (2)
in each taxing district.
The municipal governing body may by ordinance or resolution designate hours, other than those set forth in par. (a)
, during which the board shall hold its first meeting, but not fewer than 2 hours on the first meeting day between 8 a.m. and midnight. Such change in the time shall not become effective unless notice thereof is published in the official newspaper if in a city, or posted in not less than 3 public places if in any other municipality, at least 15 days before such first meeting.
The board may adjourn from time to time until its business is completed. If an adjournment be had for more than one day, a written notice shall be posted on the outer door of the place of meeting, stating to what time said meeting is adjourned.
The clerk shall keep a record in the minute book of all proceedings of the board.
(6) Board's duty.
The board shall carefully examine the roll or rolls and correct all apparent errors in description or computation, and shall add all omitted property as provided in sub. (10)
. The board shall not raise or lower the assessment of any property except after hearing as provided in subs. (8)
A municipality, except a 1st class city or a 2nd class city, shall remove, for the hearing on an objection, a member of the board of review if any of the following conditions applies:
A person who is objecting to a valuation, at the time that the person provides written or oral notice of an intent to file an objection and at least 48 hours before the first scheduled session of the board of review or at least 48 hours before the objection is heard if the objection is allowed under sub. (3) (a)
, requests the removal, except that no more than one member of the board of review may be removed under this subdivision.
A member of the board of review has a conflict of interest under an ordinance of the municipality in regard to the objection.
A member of the board of review has a bias in regard to the objection and, if a party requests the removal of a member for a bias, the party submits with the request an affidavit stating that the party believes that the member has a personal bias or prejudice against the party and stating the nature of that bias or prejudice.
A member of a board of review who would violate s. 19.59
by hearing an objection shall recuse himself or herself from that hearing. The municipal clerk shall provide to the department of revenue an affidavit declaring whether the requirement under this paragraph is fulfilled.
If a member or members are removed under par. (a)
or are recused under par. (b)
, the board may replace the member or members or its remaining members may hear the objection, except that no fewer than 3 members may hear the objection.
Any person may provide to the municipal clerk written comments about valuations, assessment practices and the performance of an assessor. The clerk shall provide all of those comments to the appropriate municipal officer.
The board of review may not hear an objection to the amount or valuation of property unless, at least 48 hours before the board's first scheduled meeting, the objector provides to the board's clerk written or oral notice of an intent to file an objection, except that, upon a showing of good cause and the submission of a written objection, the board shall waive that requirement during the first 2 hours of the board's first scheduled meeting, and the board may waive that requirement up to the end of the 5th day of the session or up to the end of the final day of the session if the session is less than 5 days with proof of extraordinary circumstances for failure to meet the 48-hour notice requirement and failure to appear before the board of review during the first 2 hours of the first scheduled meeting. Objections to the amount or valuation of property shall first be made in writing and filed with the clerk of the board of review within the first 2 hours of the board's first scheduled meeting, except that, upon evidence of extraordinary circumstances, the board may waive that requirement up to the end of the 5th day of the session or up to the end of the final day of the session if the session is less than 5 days. The board may require such objections to be submitted on forms approved by the department of revenue, and the board shall require that any forms include stated valuations of the property in question. 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. No person shall be allowed in any action or proceedings to question the amount or valuation of property unless such written objection has been filed and such person in good faith presented evidence to such board in support of such objections and made full disclosure before said board, under oath of all of that person's property liable to assessment in such district and the value thereof. The requirement that it be in writing may be waived by express action of the board.
No person shall be allowed to appear before the board of review, to testify to the board by telephone or to contest the amount of any assessment of real or personal property if the person has refused a reasonable written request by certified mail of the assessor to enter onto property to conduct an exterior view of the real or personal property being assessed.
For the purpose of this section, the managing entity, as defined in s. 707.02 (15)
, or its designees, may be considered the taxpayer as an agent for the time-share owner, as defined in s. 707.02 (31)
, and may file one objection and make one appearance before the board of review concerning all objections relating to a particular real property improvement and the land associated with it. A time-share owner may file one objection and make one appearance before the board of review concerning the assessment of the building unit in which he or she owns a time share.
After the first meeting of the board of review and before the board's final adjournment, no person who is scheduled to appear before the board of review may contact, or provide information to, a member of the board about that person's objection except at a session of the board.
No person may appear before the board of review, testify to the board by telephone or contest the amount of any assessment unless, at least 48 hours before the first meeting of the board or at least 48 hours before the objection is heard if the objection is allowed under sub. (3) (a)
, that person provides to the clerk of the board of review notice as to whether the person will ask for removal under sub. (6m) (a)
and if so which member will be removed and the person's reasonable estimate of the length of time that the hearing will take.
When appearing before the board, the person shall specify, in writing, the person's estimate of the value of the land and of the improvements that are the subject of the person's objection and specify the information that the person used to arrive at that estimate.
No person may appear before the board of review, testify to the board by telephone or object to a valuation; if that valuation was made by the assessor or the objector using the income method; unless no later than 7 days before the first meeting of the board of review the person supplies to the assessor all of the information about income and expenses, as specified in the manual under s. 73.03 (2a)
, that the assessor requests. The municipality or county shall provide by ordinance for the confidentiality of information about income and expenses that is provided to the assessor under this paragraph and shall provide exceptions for persons using the information in the discharge of duties imposed by law or of the duties of their office or by order of a court. The information that is provided under this paragraph is not subject to the right of inspection and copying under s. 19.35 (1)
unless a court determines before the first meeting of the board of review that the information is inaccurate.
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.
(8m) Hearing waiver.
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.
(10) 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.
(12) 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.
(14) Tax payments.
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.
(15) Saving clause.
Nothing herein contained shall be construed to alter or repeal any of the provisions of s. 70.35
(16) 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.
(17) 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