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Frequently Asked Questions

About Property Tax Exemptions

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  What state law governs property tax exemptions?
  Can an individual person request property tax exemption status for their personal home?

No.  Wis. Stat. §70.11 only addresses property tax exemption for qualifying organizations and qualifying uses.

  Can an exempt property be taxed in part?
  • Yes, an exempt property can be taxed in part under the certain circumstances. Property used in part for exempt purposes and in part for an unrelated trade or business for which the owner is subject to income tax under the Internal Revenue Code may be partially taxed on the portion that is attributable to the unrelated trade or business.
  • State statute section Wis. Stat. §70.1105 contains requirements for partial exemption. Besides the section Wis. Stat. §70.1105 requirements, owners seeking partial exemption must be aware of the leasing and rent restrictions in section Wis. Stat. §70.11's preamble.
  If we are a tax-exempt organization for federal income tax purposes, do we automatically qualify for a property tax exemption?

No. Federal income tax exemption (such as 501(c)(3) status) does not guarantee property tax exemption. Income tax exemption is governed by federal law and Internal Revenue Code requirements. Property tax exemption is governed by separate state law concepts and requirements.

Wis. Stat. §70.109 provides that exemptions to taxation shall be strictly construed in every instance with a presumption that the property in question is taxable. The burden of proof to qualify is on the organization who claims the exemption.

  If my organization currently owns property that is exempt, does additional property acquired by my organization automatically qualify for exemption?

No.  An organization acquiring additional property must submit a Property Tax Exemption Request form (PR-230) for the new property with the City of Milwaukee Assessor's Office by the March 1 deadline for exemption on that new property. Exemption determinations are made annually. When use or ownership changes so that property may qualify for exemption, an exemption request must be timely filed. Be aware that newly acquired property may cause an owner to exceed statutory acreage limitations on exemption.

  Is there a filing deadline?

Yes.  The Property Tax Exemption Request form (PR-230) must be filed with the City of Milwaukee Assessor's Office on or before March 1 of the year for which exemption is sought.

  What if I miss the deadline?

March 1 is a strict statutory deadline. If the deadline is missed, no exemption can be granted for that year.

  Who makes the exemption determination?

Wis. Stat. §70.11 defines the criteria for exemption.  The Office of the City Assessor determines whether an individual request meets the criteria set forth in the statute.

  Why might my exemption application be denied?
  1. Request received after March 1st deadline
  2. Applicant not owner as of January 1st
  3. Ownership in a personal name instead of an organization
  4. Ownership not clear
  5. Application not completed in full
  6. Property use not permissible per zoning code
  7. Over acreage limit
  8. Property use and statutory reference not provided on the form (7a and 7b)
  9. The lessee does not meet exemption requirements
  10. No explanation for reasons for the exemption provided (27) 
  11. Supporting documents not provided with the application (31) 
  12. Bylaws not provided (31) 
  13. Dissolution clause not included in Bylaws (31) 
  14. Application not dated, signed, or notarized

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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