Exemptions (FAQ)

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  Can property be partially exempt?

Yes, property can be partially exempt under the right 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 70.1105 contains requirements for partial exemption. Besides the section 70.1105 requirements, owners seeking partial exemption must be aware of the leasing and rent restrictions in section 70.11's preamble. Wisconsin State Statute 70.11

  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.

  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 make an exemption request with the local assessor 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.

  If my organization does not own real estate, must it file an exemption request for its personal property?

Yes. The requirements of state statute section 70.11 apply to both real and personal property.

  Is there a filing deadline?

Yes.  Reqeusts for exemption must be filed with the local assessor on or before March 1 of the year for which exemption is sought.

  What if I miss the deadline?

March 1 is a statutory deadline that must be met to obtain the benefit of property tax exemption. If the deadline is missed, no exemption can be granted for that year.

  Are there any other important dates?

Yes. In Wisconsin, a property's status (taxable or exempt) is determined as of January 1 of each year. January 1 is also important because even if an exemption has been granted for a given year, the assessor may review and even deny the exemption for the following year. The status of the property as of each new January 1 governs whether the property is entitled to exemption for that year.

  Who makes the exemption determination?

While the state legislature created the state statutes creating the exemption categories, the local assessor determines, on a case-by-case basis, whether an owner proved that its property fits within a category and whether the property is thus exempt.

  Is the assessor required to notify me of the determination?

In most cases, the assessor will notify the organization seeking exemption of the determination; however, the assessor is not required to do so.

  What if I disagree with the assessor's exemption determination?

The owner must follow the exclusive procedure set forth in state statute section 74.35. The local Board of Review does not have any authority regarding exemption issues.

  If the exemption is granted, do I have further obligations?

Yes. By March 15 of each year, any organization that owns property that is exempt under section 70.11 (except property of the state or municipality) and that was used in a trade or business for which the owner was subject to tax under sections 511 to 515 of the Internal Revenue Code must file a report with the clerk of the taxation district detailing the activities and a description of the property used in the trade or business (section 70.339). The report form is prescribed by the Department of Revenue and available from the local municipality.

By March 31 of each even-numbered year, owners of property exempt under section 70.11 must file a report with the clerk of the taxation district describing the property, giving the owner's estimate of its fair market value, and indicating if the property was leased in the preceding two years (section 70.337). This report form is also prescribed by the Department of Revenue and available from the local municipality.

City of Milwaukee Department of Administration Director Sharon Robinson 

Steve Miner, Assessment Commissioner


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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