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Board of Review

The City of Milwaukee Board of Review (“Board”) is an independent board of citizens appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Common Council to hear assessment objections.

The Board is responsible for correcting any assessment errors. It meets regularly throughout the year and conducts its hearings in a manner similar to a court.  Hearing dates are dependent on the number of appeals brought to the Board, among other factors.

PLEASE READ ALL OF THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION CAREFULLY.  THOUGH THE BOARD CANNOT PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE, PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT EVIDENCE MUST SUPPORT THE PROPERTY’S ESTIMATED FAIR MARKET VALUE FOR ASSESSMENT PURPOSES AS OF JANUARY 1, OF THE APPLICABLE TAX YEAR.

General information to assist taxpayers with hearing preparation can be found on the Wisconsin Department of Revenue’s Board of Review website.

Taxpayers are particularly directed to the “Guide for Property Owners” and “Property Assessment Appeal Guide” links under the “Resources” section of the above website.

Board of Review Rules of Procedures (PDF)

While hearings are usually held in-person at City Hall, the Board has adapted its procedures in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic.  The Board will continue to permit in-person attendance at hearings, with appropriate social distancing measures in place.  Alternatively, the Board will accommodate hearing participants who prefer to appear remotely via GoTo Meeting online videoconferencing or telephone.  Board members and/or staff may participate in hearings remotely.

The hearing process is similar to a court proceeding in many respects, and is as follows:

  1. Board Clerk introduces the matter and Chairperson makes initial/explanatory remarks.
  2. Objecting party presents witness testimony and/or documentary evidence supporting their position, after which Board members and the Assessor’s Office representative have the opportunity to question the objecting party.
  3. Assessor’s Office representative presents testimony and/or documentary evidence supporting the assessed value, after which Board members and/or the objecting party have the opportunity to question the Assessor’s Office representative. 
  4. Objecting party is permitted a brief concluding statement or summary. 
  5. Assessor’s Office representative is permitted a brief concluding statement or summary. 
  6. Board deliberates on the matter in open session.  Parties may listen but may not participate in this discussion.
  7. Board votes on whether to affirm or deny the objection.

Please also note that pursuant to Wisconsin law the Board must presume that the assessor’s valuation as of January 1 of the applicable tax year is correct.  The law presumes that the assessor has properly performed his/her duties and has assessed all properties fairly and upon an equal basis at full market value. The effect of this presumption is to impose upon the taxpayer the burden of proving that the property in question has not been correctly assessed. The law requires the taxpayer to present sufficient relevant evidence regarding the taxpayer's estimated fair market value of the property for assessment purposes as of January 1 of the applicable tax year.

I. Confirmation of Attendance

  • Objecting parties must confirm participation in the scheduled hearing at least 10 business days in advance by contacting the Clerk, Board of Review, either by email at BoardReview@milwaukee.gov or by telephone at (414)286-3742.
  • When confirming, objecting parties should inform the Clerk whether they plan to attend the meeting in person, remotely via the GoToMeeting online videoconferencing application, or remotely by telephone.
  • If an objecting party is unable to attend at the scheduled time, the Board of Review has the discretion to grant only one postponement. Requests for postponement should be directed to the Clerk by email or telephone at least two business days prior to the hearing. The Board reserves its right to accommodate a shorter time period in its sole discretion. Section 70.511(2) of the Wisconsin Statutes provides, in part:
    “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.”
  • Objecting parties who planned to attend in-person but are not feeling well, have symptoms of COVID-19, or have tested positive for COVID-19, should immediately contact the Clerk by email or telephone to request a postponement.  Parties are discouraged from sharing personal medical information with the Clerk or the Board.  As noted above, one hearing postponement is permitted as a matter of course, without need for an explanation. 
  • If a party does not confirm and/or appear, the Board of Review will sustain the Assessor’s valuation.

II. In-Person Hearing Appearance

  • In-person hearings will occur at Milwaukee City Hall.  Objecting parties will receive a hearing notice specifying the room number prior to a scheduled hearing. 
  • Hearing rooms will be arranged so as to minimize interpersonal contact and comply with social distancing guidelines. 
  • Consistent with Milwaukee Common Council File No. 200246 and Milwaukee Code of Ordinances Sections 62-1-11 and 62-1-12, all in-person hearing attendees must wear face coverings (masks) to minimize risk unless they are unable to do so due to a disability or health condition.  To the extent that face coverings may interfere with the Board’s ability to evaluate witness credibility, the Board reserves the discretion to request that witnesses remove face coverings when testifying and/or addressing the Board in person. 
  • Parties are expected to keep presentations to 30 minutes total.  Due to COVID-19 and other factors, the Board is facing an unprecedented hearing volume and thus must conduct hearings as efficiently as possible.  The Board reserves the right to limit irrelevant or repetitive testimony.

III. Remote Hearing Appearance

  • Hearings will be accessible remotely via GoToMeeting link and telephone. GoToMeeting access is preferable but not required.   
  • Parties should check the equipment they will use to access the hearing (laptop, desktop, tablet, smartphone, etc.) ahead of time to be sure they are able to connect.  If a party experiences technical problems with the videoconferencing app prior to or during a hearing, that party should consider dialing in by telephone as an alternative.
  • Parties are expected to keep presentations to 30 minutes total.  Due to COVID-19 and other factors, the Board is facing an unprecedented hearing volume and thus must conduct hearings as efficiently as possible.  The Board reserves the right to limit irrelevant or repetitive testimony.
  • When not speaking, meeting participants are encouraged to turn their cameras and microphones off to preserve bandwidth during the hearing.
  • Compliance with the Board of Review “Hearing Code of Conduct,” a copy of which is enclosed with all hearing notices, is expected at all hearings, whether in-person or virtual.

IV. Evidence

  • Taxpayers must be prepared to demonstrate to the Board clearly and concisely what their property is worth (the estimated fair market value for assessment purposes) as of January 1 of the applicable tax year.  Evidence must be convincing enough to overcome the law’s presumption that the assessor’s valuation is correct.
  • Evidence of market value may include:
    • Documentation of a recent valid sale of the subject property, such as a closing statement or real estate transfer return.
    • Documentation of recent valid sales of properties reasonably comparable to the subject property. 
    • Documentation of a recent appraisal of the subject property reflecting its estimated fair market value for assessment purposes.  Please note that if an appraisal or other document prepared by a third party is submitted as documentary evidence, the party submitting that evidence must ensure that the individual who prepared the document is available to testify at the hearing. Without that individual’s hearing testimony, the Board has the discretion to assign limited or no evidentiary value to the document.
    • NOTE - A “recent” valid sale or appraisal is one that will provide evidence of the subject property’s estimated fair market value for assessment purposes as of January 1 of the applicable tax year.  Valid sales or appraisals occurring close in time to January 1 of the applicable tax year generally will receive greater evidentiary consideration.
  • Taxpayers who present evidence regarding recent valid sales of reasonably comparable properties should be prepared to explain how the comparators are similar; for example, in style, square footage of house, lot size, number of rooms, condition, exterior wall constructions, etc.  Please note that the presentation of such evidence may not be sufficient to overcome the law’s presumption of correctness.

V. Document Submission

  • Parties (including Assessor’s Office representatives) are expected to provide the Clerk with copies of any documents to be used at the hearing at least two business days prior to the scheduled hearing.  As soon as possible following receipt, the Clerk will share submitted documents with the opposing party.  Emailing documents to the Clerk is strongly preferred, though documents can also be sent via U.S. mail or dropped off in the Assessor’s Office secure lock box (located on the Fifth Floor of City Hall to the left of Room 507).  Documents must be clearly labeled/identified so that the Clerk can associate them with the correct appeal hearing and distribute them to Board members.  All pages of submitted documents should be numbered.  The Board reserves the discretion to disregard documents that do not comply with these guidelines.

VI. Witnesses

  • When they contact the Clerk to confirm attendance, objecting parties who plan to call witnesses other than themselves must tell the Clerk whether those witnesses will testify in-person or remotely.  Parties are responsible for ensuring that their witnesses appear at the scheduled hearing time and that they are able to participate remotely, if that is their preference.
  • Witnesses should only be called if they can provide factual testimony regarding the subject property’s estimated fair market value for assessment purposes as of January 1 of the applicable tax year.  The Board may, at its discretion, disregard non-expert opinion testimony or anecdotal evidence.
     

City of Milwaukee Department of Administration Director Sharon Robinson 

Steve Miner, Assessment Commissioner


 414-286-3651


Web Request: Ask the Assessor


@ Assessor@milwaukee.gov


 City Hall, 200 E. Wells Street, Room 507, Milwaukee, WI 53202


 Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM - 4:45 PM


 

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