Even though Forms M-P and M-R were filed by April 1, the formal notices usually are not issued until early June. In April and May, the state assessors are desk auditing the return data and reviewing real estate sales and comparables. When the formal notice is issued, the property owner has 60 days to formally appeal to the State Board of Assessors.
If you miss this deadline, it is virtually impossible to adjust the value when the actual tax bill is issued in December. Unfortunately, there have been a handful of times that my clients have found this out the hard way.
I recommend doing the following when you receive your notice:
- Compare the personal property tax notice to the Form M-P amounts. If the amount on the notice of assessment is higher, determine in which category there is a difference and discuss it informally with your state assessor.
- On the real property side, compare your current-year value to the prior year’s value. Many companies maintain a history of the real estate values to determine percentage changes over time.
- If you have had any recent property valuations for business or financing purposes, compare those values to the value on the notice. If you intend to contest the value, you will need to disclose and provide any valuations as part of the appeal process.
- There is a significant amount of data available on the Department’s website about other Wisconsin manufacturers. Companies may want to review other properties in their assessment jurisdiction and/or competitors’ properties throughout Wisconsin.
If you file a formal appeal, the burden will be on you as the taxpayer to prove that the Department’s value is erroneous. Therefore, it is wise to utilize both internal resources and external specialists to gather support to contest the assessed value. Wipfli has a number of professionals who have extensive property tax experience to assist companies with this process.