"Agricultural Forest" and "Undeveloped Land"
Classification and Valuation

Undeveloped Land

  1. If land was classified as "Swamp and Waste", is it now automatically classified as "Undeveloped Land"?
  2. Do road right of ways and fallow agricultural land belong in the undeveloped land class?
  3. Is all property included in class 5 (undeveloped land) to be assessed at 50%?
  4. When does a sparsely treed, cutover parcel become undeveloped, rather than productive forest?
  5. At what point does a new tree plantation become forest? Would it be after two or three years or when the trees are Christmas tree height?
  6. How do assessors distinguish between applying the residential class or the undeveloped class when dealing with smaller parcels of vacant land?

  1. If land was classified as "Swamp and Waste", is it now automatically classified as "Undeveloped Land"?

    Yes. The statutory definition of Swamp and Waste is identical to the Undeveloped Land definition. The only change to sec.70.32(2)(c)4, Wis. Stats., was renaming Swamp and Waste to Undeveloped land.

  2. Do road right of ways and fallow agricultural land belong in the undeveloped land class?

    Yes. All land that qualified for class 5 (swamp and waste) will now be included in class 5 (undeveloped land).

  3. Is all property included in class 5 (undeveloped land) to be assessed at 50%?

    Yes. All property in class 5 (undeveloped land) is to be assessed at 50% of the general level of assessment in the district.

  4. When does a sparsely treed, cutover parcel become undeveloped, rather than productive forest?

    Generally, a sparsely treed cutover parcel is classified as forest land, because its highest and best use is for forestry purposes. It is differentiated from undeveloped land (fallow) in that fallow is generally in transition from agricultural use to its next biological succession, which is wooded growth.

  5. At what point does a new tree plantation become forest? Would it be after two or three years or when the trees are Christmas tree height?

    If the newly planted trees are not Christmas trees, orchards, or nursery stock then the land the trees are growing on would be classified as forest land, and valued at market value the year after planting. If Christmas trees, orchards, or nursery stock have been planted then the land under the trees would be classified and valued according to its agricultural use value.

  6. How do assessors distinguish between applying the residential class or the undeveloped class when dealing with smaller parcels of vacant land?

    The Wisconsin Property Assessment Manual indicates the residential class includes most property where the predominant use is for living purposes. It also includes vacant land where the most likely use would be residential development, if the land in question does not meet the definition of agricultural land.

For more questions concerning Agricultural Forest and Undeveloped Land Classification and Valuation, please contact the appropriate equalization district supervisor.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Division of State and Local Finance
Equalization Bureau
P.O. Box 8971, MS 6-97
Madison, WI 53708-8971
Fax: (608) 264-6897

Page last updated July 10, 2014