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Appealing an Assessment (FAQ)

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  What if I don't agree with my assessment?
Talk with the assessor. During this informal session you can learn how your assessment was made, what factors were considered, and what type of records are kept regarding your property. After this review, if I still think the assessment is incorrect, what can I do? The next step is to file an objection with the Assessor's Office. Your objection must be written and must be filed on or before the third Monday in May. Forms are available in the Assessor's Office. When you receive your tax bill in December, it is too late to file an objection. Paying your taxes under protest does not constitute an assessment objection unless you have first filed an appeal with the Board of Review.
  What happens if I file an objection?
Your appeal will be assigned to an assessor from our office. To properly review the assessment, the assessor will need to go through your property. During the inspection, you can provide any information you feel will be helpful in reviewing the assessment. After the review, the assessor will recommend a value to the Board of Assessors, a group of supervisors responsible for reviewing all assessment objections. You will receive written notification of the Board's decision.
  What is the 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.

  What evidence do I need to present to the Board of Review?
  • 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.
  Does the Board of Review have the final say?

Appeals can be withdrawn or settled at any stage in the process. If you don't agree with the Board of Review’s decision, you have the option of appealing to the Circuit Court.

  How do I appeal my assessment to court?

An appeal to the circuit court must be made within 90 days after notification of the Board of Review’s determination. The circuit court’s decision is based solely on the evidentiary record that was presented to the Board of Review.  See Wis. Stat. Section 70.47(13).

The processes and time frames for appealing to the Wisconsin DOR are different than those for a circuit court appeal.  See Wis. Stat. Section 70.85.  

Nicole F. Larsen

Commissioner of Assessments

2024 Assessment Assistance

General Information

Web Request: Ask the Assessor

  [email protected] 

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

 Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM - 4:45 PM


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