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
The taxpayer challenging an assessment and classification has the burden of proving at the board hearing that the assessment and classification of property are erroneous; that the taxpayer did not meet his burden of proof; and that the board's determination to maintain the assessment is 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
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.
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.
If the reviewing authority reduces the value of the property in question, or determines that manufacturing property is exempt, the taxpayer may file a claim for refund of taxes resulting from the reduction in value or determination that the property is exempt. If claim for refund is filed with the clerk of the municipality on or before the November 1 following the decision of the reviewing authority, the claim shall be payable to the taxpayer from the municipality no later than January 31 of the succeeding year. A claim filed after November 1 shall be paid to the taxpayer by the municipality no later than the 2nd January 31 after the claim is filed. Interest on the claim shall be paid to the taxpayer when the claim is paid at the average annual discount rate determined by the last auction of 6-month U.S. treasury bills before the objection per day for the period of time between the time when the tax was due and the date that the claim was paid. If the taxpayer requests a postponement of proceedings before the reviewing authority, interest on the claim shall permanently stop accruing at the date of the request. If the hearing is postponed at the request of the taxpayer, the reviewing authority shall hold a hearing on the appeal within 30 days after the postponement is requested unless the taxpayer agrees to a longer delay. If the reviewing authority postpones the hearing without a request by the taxpayer, interest on the claim shall continue to accrue. No interest may be paid if the reviewing authority determines under s. 70.995 (8) (a)
that the value of the property was reduced because the taxpayer supplied false or incomplete information. If taxes are refunded, the municipality may proceed under s. 74.41
No later than July 1 of each year, each municipality that pays a refund under par. (b)
for property that is assessed under s. 70.995
shall notify the department of administration of the amount of all such refunds paid by the municipality in the previous fiscal year. Annually, no later than the 3rd Monday in November, from the appropriation account under s. 20.835 (2) (br)
, the department of administration shall pay to each municipality that pays a refund under par. (b)
for property that is assessed under s. 70.995
an amount that is equal to 20 percent of the interest on such refunds paid by the municipality in the previous fiscal year and that has accrued up to the date of the determination by the tax appeals commission of the municipality's obligation.
If the reviewing authority increases the value of the property in question, the increase in value shall in the case of manufacturing property assessed by the department of revenue under s. 70.995
be assessed as omitted property as prescribed under s. 70.995 (12)
. In the case of all other property s. 70.44
Clerks to examine and correct rolls.
Each city, village, and town clerk upon receipt of the assessment roll shall carefully examine the roll. The clerk shall correct all double assessments, imperfect descriptions, and other errors apparent on the roll, and correct the value of parcels of real property not liable to taxation. The clerk shall add to the roll any parcel of real property not listed on the assessment roll or item of personal property omitted from the roll and immediately notify the assessors of the additions and omissions. The assessors shall immediately view and value the omitted property and certify the valuation to the clerk. The clerk shall enter the valuation and property classification on the roll, and the valuation shall be final. To enable the clerk to properly correct defective descriptions, the clerk may request aid, when necessary, from the county surveyor, whose fees for the services rendered shall be paid by the city, village, or town.
A municipality is entitled to rely on the address provided on the transfer tax return until it is provided with information reasonably calculated to inform of a new address. Pocius v. Kenosha County, 231 Wis. 2d 596
, 605 N.W.2d 915
(Ct. App. 1999), 98-3176
Statement of assessment and exemptions. 70.53(1)(1)
Upon the correction of the assessment roll under s. 70.52
, each city, village, and town clerk shall prepare and, on or before the 2nd Monday in June, transmit to the department of revenue all of the following:
A detailed statement of the aggregate of each of the several items of taxable property specified in s. 70.30
A detailed statement of each of the several classes of taxable real estate, entering land and improvements separately, as prescribed in s. 70.32 (2)
A detailed statement of the aggregate of all taxable property by elementary and high school district and by technical college district.
A detailed statement of the aggregate of each of the several items of exempt real property as specified by the department of revenue, entering land and improvements separately.
The city, village, or town clerk shall make available to the department of revenue at its request a copy of the corrected assessment roll from which the statements required under sub. (1)
are prepared. Failure to comply with this section subjects the taxation district to the penalty provisions under s. 73.03 (6)
. The department of revenue shall review and correct the statements.
Every county clerk shall, at the expense of the county, annually procure and furnish to each city, village, and town clerk forms for the statements required under sub. (1)
, the form of which shall be prescribed by the department of revenue.
Whenever any town, city or village clerk shall have failed to transmit any such statement within the time fixed as aforesaid, the county treasurer or the department of revenue shall send a messenger therefor, who shall be paid and the expenses charged back as provided in s. 69.67
or 73.03 (6)
, respectively; and whenever any county treasurer shall have failed to transmit any such statement, within the time fixed as aforesaid, the department of revenue may send a messenger therefor, who shall be paid and the expenses therefor charged back to the county.
History: 1975 c. 295
; 1991 a. 39
The directions herein given for the assessing of lands and personal property and levying and collecting taxes shall be deemed directory only, and no error or informality in the proceedings of any of the officers entrusted with the same, not affecting the substantial justice of the tax, shall vitiate or in anywise affect the validity of such tax or assessment.
Whenever the assessment roll of any assessment district shall be lost or destroyed before the second Monday of October in any year and before the tax roll therefrom has been completed the assessor of such district shall immediately prepare a new roll and as soon thereafter as practicable make a new assessment of the property in the assessor's district. If the board of review for such district shall have adjourned without day before such new assessment is completed such board shall again meet at a time fixed by the clerk of the town, city or village, not later than the fourth Monday in October, and like proceedings shall be had, as near as may be, in reference to such new assessment and assessment roll as in case of other assessments, and such clerk shall give notice of the time and place of such meeting of the board of review as is provided in s. 70.47 (2)
. Such new assessment and assessment roll shall be deemed the assessment and assessment roll of such assessment district to all intents and purposes. In case the assessor shall fail to make such new assessment or the board of review shall fail to meet and review the same, or any assessment roll is lost or destroyed after the second Monday in October in any year and before the tax roll therefrom is completed, or both the assessment roll and tax roll are lost or destroyed, then the county clerk shall make out and deliver a tax roll in the manner and with like effect as provided in s. 70.71
Whenever a tax roll in any town, city or village shall be lost or destroyed before it has been returned by the treasurer or sheriff holding the same, a new roll shall be prepared in like manner as the first, and delivered to such treasurer or sheriff, who shall complete the collection of the taxes and return such new tax roll in the manner provided for the original tax roll.
Assessment of counties and taxation districts by department. 70.57(1)(a)
The department of revenue before August 15 of each year shall complete the valuation of the property of each county and taxation district of the state. From all the sources of information accessible to it the department shall determine and assess by class the value of all property subject to general property taxation in each county and taxation district. If the department is satisfied that the assessment by a county assessor under s. 70.99
is at full value, it may adopt that value as the state's full value.
The department shall set down a list of all the counties and taxation districts and opposite to the name of each county and taxation district the valuation determined by the department, which shall be the full value according to its best judgment.
There shall also be prepared a list of all the counties of the state with the valuation determined for each county listed opposite the name of the county. The list shall be certified by the secretary of revenue as the assessment of the counties of the state made by the department and be delivered to the department of administration.
In any case where the department, through mistake or inadvertence, has assessed to any county or taxation district, in the current year or in the previous year, a greater or less valuation for any year than should have been assessed, it shall correct the error. The department shall add or subtract, as the case may be, from the valuation of the county or taxation district, as determined by the department at the assessment in the year after the error is discovered, the amount omitted from or added to the true valuation of the county in the former assessment in consequence of the error. The result shall be taken as the full value of the county for the latter year and a final correction of the error.
On or before August 1 of each year, the department of revenue shall publish on its Internet site for each county and taxation district a preliminary determination of its equalized value, tax incremental finance district values as provided under s. 66.1105 (5) (g)
, and net new construction value as provided under ss. 66.0602
. If a county or taxation district discovers a clerical, arithmetic, transpositional, or similar error in the department's determination that would result in the overvaluation or undervaluation of the property located in the county or taxation district, the county or taxation district shall notify the department of the error no later than August 7. The department shall correct, as provided in sub. (1) (d)
, any error reported and verified by the department under this subsection that results in an overvaluation or undervaluation of the property located in the taxation district greater than 2 percent. The correction shall be reflected in the equalized value provided to the county or taxation district under sub. (1m)
, except that amended assessment reports filed after the 2nd Monday in June shall not be subject to correction by the department as provided in this subsection.
On August 15 the department of revenue shall notify each county and taxation district of its equalized value. The department of revenue shall make available to each taxation district a list of sales within the taxation district and shall indicate whether or not those sales were used or rejected in establishing equalized value. If insufficient residential and agricultural sales in a taxation district require the department to use sales information from other taxation districts in establishing equalized value, the department shall so notify the affected taxation district and, upon written request from that taxation district, shall make available to the taxation district the sales information from other taxation districts and other information used to establish the equalized value. Upon resolution by the governing body of a county or taxation district, the department shall review the equalized value established for the county or taxation district.
If the state board of assessors, the tax appeals commission or a court makes a final redetermination on the assessment of property subject to taxation under s. 70.995
that is higher or lower than the previous assessment, the department of revenue shall recertify the equalized value of the school district in which the property subject to taxation under s. 70.995
If a court makes a final redetermination on the assessment of telephone company property subject to taxation under s. 70.112 (4)
and subch. IV of ch. 76
that is lower than the previous assessment, the department of revenue shall recertify the equalized value of the school district in which such property is located.
In determining the value of agricultural land under sub. (1)
, the department shall fulfill the requirements under s. 70.32 (2r)
From the appropriation under s. 20.566 (2) (b)
, the department shall provide payments to any taxation district that certifies to the department, in the manner prescribed by the department, that the most recent valuation of the taxation district's property under this section is greater than it should be because of a clerical, arithmetic, transpositional, or similar error made by the department, as confirmed by the department, and that the amount of the overvaluation represents 7.5 percent or more of the taxation district's valuation under this section in the year prior to the year in which the error occurred.
If property tax bills for the assessment year in which the error relates have been distributed to property owners, the taxation district receiving payments under par. (a)
shall use the payments to make loans to persons who own property located in the taxation district and who are paying more property taxes than they should be as a result of the error. A person may receive a loan by applying, in the manner prescribed by the department, to the taxation district in which the person's property is located no later than June 15 of the year following the error. The state shall collect the amount of any loan issued under this paragraph as a state special charge against the taxation district for the year after the year in which the error occurred and the special charge shall not be included in the taxation district's levy. The taxation district shall assess the loan amount as a special charge against the property for which the loan was made on the property tax bill succeeding the loan, as provided under ch. 74
and s. 66.0627 (1) (c)
. Except for interest and penalties, as provided under s. 74.47
, that apply to any delinquent special charge based on the loan amount, neither the department nor the taxation district may charge interest on any loan issued under this paragraph. The maximum loan amount that a person may receive under this paragraph shall be calculated by multiplying the assessed value of the person's property by a decimal determined by the department as follows:
For the year in which the error occurred, apportion county, school district, technical college district, and metropolitan sewerage district property taxes to the taxation district using the taxation district's erroneous valuation.
For the year in which the error occurred, apportion county, school district, technical college district, and metropolitan sewerage district property taxes to the taxation district using the taxation district's correct valuation.
Subtract the amount determined under subd. 2.
from the amount determined under subd. 1.