Reminder About Municipal Deadlines for Property Assessment Review & Appeals… in the age of COVID

If you own a commercial property, don’t forget to review your property assessment value. While many owners assume there will be an annual increase to account for inflation and the (previously) sensational real estate market, typically, assessments shouldn’t increase substantially from year to year. However, in the age of COVID, real estate values are fluctuating due to several factors. Whether you’ve lost tenants, you’re experiencing declining rents or defaulting tenants, or your submarket has an increase in vacancies, it is important to have your real estate assessment examined and appeal it when appropriate.

If you need to prepare for an appeal to ensure your real estate is assessed comparably to other properties, and keep your property taxes as low as possible, you have a couple of options. In a more aggressive approach, you can appeal to the Circuit Court, but I suggest that you proactively start the assessment appeal now through your municipality. Every municipality in Wisconsin is required to hold an “Open Book” session at the assessor’s office or other designated location. This is your chance to gather data and have informal discussions with the assessor on the current value of your property and how it compares to the real estate market.

Currently, many assessors’ offices are closed to the public due to COVID. As a result, some municipalities are postponing the “Open Book” session typically held in the month of May, instead for later this Summer, while others are moving full steam ahead with special accommodations. Other municipalities are modifying their electronic rules to conduct this process in a contact free manner. DON’T MISS YOUR MUNICIPALITY’S DEADLINES.

The problem is that at least 25% of Wisconsin municipalities have not published their dates as of the date of this article, so please be sure to look up your municipality’s “Open Book” session date. Below is a list of municipalities with larger inventories of commercial properties that have published their deadlines.

If you are unsatisfied after attending the “Open Book” session, then you need to submit to the Board of Review Clerk’s Office a written or oral notice of intent to file an objection at least 48 hours before the first scheduled Board of Review meeting. You must then fill out a written Objection Form for Real Property Assessment before the Board of Review meeting date.

Good luck!

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