74.37 74.37 Claim on excessive assessment.
74.37(1)(1)Definition. In this section, a “claim for an excessive assessment" or an “action for an excessive assessment" means a claim or action, respectively, by an aggrieved person to recover that amount of general property tax imposed because the assessment of property was excessive.
74.37(2) (2)Claim.
74.37(2)(a) (a) A claim for an excessive assessment may be filed against the taxation district, or the county that has a county assessor system, which collected the tax.
74.37(2)(b) (b) A claim filed under this section shall meet all of the following conditions:
74.37(2)(b)1. 1. Be in writing.
74.37(2)(b)2. 2. State the alleged circumstances giving rise to the claim.
74.37(2)(b)3. 3. State as accurately as possible the amount of the claim.
74.37(2)(b)4. 4. Be signed by the claimant or his or her agent.
74.37(2)(b)5. 5. Be served on the clerk of the taxation district, or the clerk of the county that has a county assessor system, in the manner prescribed in s. 801.11 (4) by January 31 of the year in which the tax based upon the contested assessment is payable.
74.37(3) (3)Action on claim.
74.37(3)(a) (a) In this subsection, to “disallow" a claim means either to deny the claim in whole or in part or to fail to take final action on the claim within 90 days after the claim is filed.
74.37(3)(b) (b) The taxation district or county that has a county assessor system shall notify the claimant by certified or registered mail whether the claim is allowed or disallowed within 90 days after the claim is filed.
74.37(3)(c) (c) If the governing body of the taxation district or county that has a county assessor system determines that a tax has been paid which was based on an excessive assessment, and that the claim for an excessive assessment has complied with all legal requirements, the governing body shall allow the claim. The taxation district or county treasurer shall pay the claim not later than 90 days after the claim is allowed.
74.37(3)(d) (d) If the taxation district or county disallows the claim, the claimant may commence an action in circuit court to recover the amount of the claim not allowed. The action shall be commenced within 90 days after the claimant receives notice by registered or certified mail that the claim is disallowed.
74.37(4) (4)Conditions.
74.37(4)(a) (a) No claim or action for an excessive assessment may be brought under this section unless the procedures for objecting to assessments under s. 70.47, except under s. 70.47 (13), have been complied with. This paragraph does not apply if notice under s. 70.365 was not given.
74.37(4)(b) (b) No claim or action for an excessive assessment may be brought or maintained under this section unless the tax for which the claim is filed, or any authorized installment of the tax, is timely paid under s. 74.11 or 74.12. This paragraph does not apply to taxes due and payable in 2020 if paid by October 1, 2020, or by any installment date for which taxes are due after October 1, 2020, nor to taxes due and payable in 2021 if paid by October 1, 2021, or by any installment date for which taxes are due after October 1, 2021.
74.37(4)(c) (c) No claim or action for an excessive assessment may be brought or maintained under this section if the assessment of the property for the same year is contested under s. 70.47 (13) or 70.85. No assessment may be contested under s. 70.47 (13) or 70.85 if a claim is brought and maintained under this section based on the same assessment.
74.37(5) (5)Interest. The amount of a claim filed under sub. (2) or an action commenced under sub. (3) may include interest 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.
74.37(7) (7)Compensation. If taxes are refunded under sub. (3), the governing body of the taxation district or county that has a county assessor system may proceed under s. 74.41.
74.37 Annotation This section and ss. 70.47 (13) and 70.85 provide the exclusive method 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 (1998), 96-0171.
74.37 Annotation Claimants who never received notice of a changed assessment under s. 70.365 were exempt from the obligation to proceed before the board of review. However, they were required to meet the January 31 filing date in sub. (2), regardless of the fact that they never received the notice. Reese v. City of Pewaukee, 2002 WI App 67, 252 Wis. 2d 361, 642 N.W.2d 596, 01-0850.
74.37 Annotation While certiorari review of an assessment is limited to the review of the board of assessment's record, sub. (3) (d) allows the court to proceed without regard to any determination made at an earlier proceeding. The assessor's assessment is presumed correct only if the challenging party does not present significant contrary evidence. The court may hear new evidence and can enter a judgment if it is in the best interest of the parties. Bloomer Housing Ltd. Partnership v. City of Bloomer, 2002 WI App 252, 257 Wis. 2d 883, 653 N.W.2d 309, 01-3495.
74.37 Annotation After Nankin, 2001 WI 92, the state-wide application of this section must prevail over any statutes that would defeat its implementation. Special rules help harmonize provisions that were once fully compatible with this section but, as a result of Nankin, conflict with this section. U.S. Bank National Ass'n v. City of Milwaukee, 2003 WI App 220, 267 Wis. 2d 718, 672 N.W.2d 492, 03-0724.
74.37 Annotation When a taxpayer brings an action to recover excessive taxes under this section, the least favorable outcome for the taxpayer, and the best possible outcome for the taxation authority, is for the court to conclude there were no excessive taxes. The court cannot impose a greater tax burden than the one the taxation authority already agreed to when it accepted the taxpayer's payment. Although the court need not defer to the board of review's determination, and there is a statutory presumption that the assessor's determination is correct, when the board of review reduces the original assessment, the court cannot reinstate the assessor's original assessment. Trailwood Ventures, LLC v. Village of Kronenwetter, 2009 WI App 18, 315 Wis. 2d 791, 762 N.W.2d 841, 08-1221.
74.37 Annotation When a city assessor correctly applies the Property Assessment Manual and statutes, and there is no significant evidence to the contrary, courts will reject a party's challenge to the assessment. Allright Properties, Inc. v. City of Milwaukee, 2009 WI App 46, 317 Wis. 2d 228, 767 N.W.2d 567, 08-0510.
74.37 Annotation Under s. 70.49 (2), each assessment shall, in all actions and proceedings involving such values, be presumptive evidence that all such properties have been justly and equitably assessed. For a taxpayer to challenge the assessment, the taxpayer is required to present sufficient evidence to persuade the circuit court that the assessed value is probably not the fair market value of the property. A failure to provide that persuasive evidence would entitle the city to judgment based on the statutory presumption. Bonstores Realty One, LLC v. City of Wauwatosa, 2013 WI App 131, 351 Wis. 2d 439, 839 N.W.2d 893, 12-1754.
74.37 Annotation Under sub. (4), a taxpayer must challenge an assessment in front of the board of review before filing an excessive assessment claim, unless the taxing authority fails to provide a notice of assessment under circumstances in which notice is required. Under s. 70.365, a notice of assessment is required only when the property's assessed value has changed. After reading these statutes, it should have been clear to the taxpayer that: 1) because it did not receive a notice of assessment, its property's assessed value for 2011 would be unchanged from 2010; and 2) if the taxpayer wanted to challenge the 2011 assessment, it needed to object before the board of review. These requirements did not violate the taxpayer's rights to due process. Northbrook Wisconsin, LLC v. City of Niagara, 2014 WI App 22, 352 Wis. 2d 657, 843 N.W.2d 851, 13-1322.
74.37 Annotation Under sub. (3) (b), a taxing district has 90 days after a claim for excessive assessment has been filed to either allow it or disallow it. If the taxing authority fails to act on the claim within 90 days, the claim is deemed disallowed under sub. (3) (a). A statutory limitation period does not commence once a claim is deemed disallowed under a statute that requires receipt of notice of the disallowance to trigger the limitation period. As the claimant in this case never received notice of the disallowance of its claim by certified or registered mail, the 90-day limitation period was not triggered and the action was timely commenced. Walgreen Co. v. City of Oshkosh, 2014 WI App 54, 354 Wis. 2d 17, 848 N.W.2d 314, 13-1610.
74.37 Annotation 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, 15-1523.
74.37 Annotation Property owners have the option of challenging an excessive tax under certiorari review or de novo review, and each avenue has associated advantages and disadvantages for the property owner. A property owner does not need to pay the challenged property tax before filing a certiorari action for an excessive tax under s. 70.47 (13). In addition, an action for certiorari review under s. 70.47 (13) for an excessive tax receives scheduling preference in the circuit court, while reviews under sub. (3) (d) do not. North Central Conservancy Trust, Inc. v. Town of Harrison, 2023 WI App 64, 410 Wis. 2d 284, 1 N.W.3d 707, 22-0185.
74.37 Annotation Over Assessed? Appealing Home Tax Assessments. McAdams. Wis. Law. July 2011.
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2021-22 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2023 Wis. Act 272 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on June 19, 2024. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after June 19, 2024, are designated by NOTES. (Published 6-19-24)