“Despite billions of federal dollars being distributed across the state, billions more on the way, moratoriums on utility bills, evictions, and even multiple changes to income tax deadlines, to date, there have been absolutely no property tax relief efforts by the state – the very tax that funds our local communities,” said John Jacobson, director of government and member relations. “And despite property taxpayer-funded local governments already receiving hundreds of millions of dollars through CARES Act funding, also with billions more on the way from the American Rescue Plan Act, to my knowledge, very few have provided any local relief or flexible options to assist property taxpayers. And now we are beginning to see why.”
Wisconsin Statute 70.31 (1) states; “In determining the value, the assessor shall consider…all factors that, according to professionally acceptable appraisal practices, affect the value of the property to be assessed.” If the financial performance of an income-producing property experiences a significant drop in revenue or operates at a financial loss for a year, for example, that adversely impacts the market value of the real estate and could be considered by an assessor.
Despite the law, the Department of Revenue recently instructed local assessors to “not make changes for market conditions” relating to COVID-19, but only for new construction, demolition and changes in classification. The document then goes on to coach assessors on how to “respond to municipal officials and the public, when asked why assessors are not recognizing the impacts of COVID-19…”