Municipalities FAQ

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What regulates the assessment process?

Chapter 70 of the Wisconsin State Statutes establishes law for the collection of property taxes. Included in these statutes are regulations covering assessment practices. In addition, the Department of Revenue maintains the Wisconsin Property Assessment Manual providing detailed instruction on all aspects of assessment practices. The Department of Revenue also establishes, administers and tests for the certification requirements necessary to perform assessment work.

Does the assessor need to be an employee of the municipality?

Wisconsin state law generally provides for the assessor to be an elected or appointed position. If the assessor is appointed, an individual or a qualified corporation may serve as the assessor.

What is annual maintenance?

Each year the assessor must establish a value for properties that are new or have significantly changed. These properties include newly constructed buildings, building improvements, changes in agricultural land values, land parcel splits and land classification changes. For each change in the assessed value, a notice of change must be sent to the property owner, and “Open Book” and “Board of Review” meetings must take place as part of the appeal process.

What is a revaluation?

Generally a revaluation is the process of reviewing all taxable property in the municipality to establish their current market value. This review usually includes a physical interior and exterior inspection of all buildings, and an evaluation of land classification.

What causes a revaluation?

The need for a revaluation is usually established by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, based on the relationship between the assessed value established by the assessor, and the equalized value established by the state. When the state determines a revaluation is necessary, the municipality will receive a series of notices with an established deadline for a revaluation. Failure on the municipality’s part to perform a timely revaluation will result in the state taking responsibility for performing the revaluation.

When should a revaluation take place?

The need for a revaluation is usually established by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, based on the relationship between the assessed value established by the assessor, and the equalized value established by the state. When the state determines a revaluation is necessary, the municipality will receive a series of notices with an established deadline for a revaluation. Failure on the municipality’s part to perform a timely revaluation will result in the state taking responsibility for performing the revaluation.

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