Board of Review

The WI Department of Revenue has received inquiries concerning Board of Review law for 2000. These questions cover portions of Sections 70.45, 70.46, and 70.47, Wis. Stats. We have compiled the questions and their answers and have listed them below.

These questions cover some of the less obvious points of the Board of Review law. In addition to these questions and answers, other references available are the WI state statutes, municipal attorneys, the various Guides published by the WI Department of Revenue, the Wisconsin Property Assessment Manual, and your municipal associations (Wisconsin Towns Association, League of Wisconsin Municipalities, and Alliance of Cities). Please contact the appropriate District Supervisor of Equalization if you need additional information.

The Wi Department of Revenue offers publications that discuss board of review procedures. There are two listed: "Guide for Board of Review Members" and the "Property Assessment Appeal Guide".

Scheduling Objections

  1. If the assessor changed an assessment at open book in the morning, gave the property owner 15 days notice, and the municipality began Board of Review that afternoon, how long would the Board have to be kept open?
  2. Must the property owner always provide an estimate of the length of time for the hearing?
  3. If the property owner is not present during scheduling, how should the Board of Review notify the owner of his/her hearing?
  4. Does the law allow an assessor to hold open books for more than one district at a time?
  5. Must the assessor be present at the meeting within the first 30 days of the second Monday of May if the assessment roll is not complete?
  6. Must the Board of Review provide written notice of determination to the object?
  7. Must the Board of Review adjourn to another day in order for the clerk to physically mail the Notices of Determination if the Board concludes its business at a time the post office is not open?

  1. If the assessor changed an assessment at open book in the morning, gave the property owner 15 days notice, and the municipality began Board of Review that afternoon, how long would the Board have to be kept open?

    After the initial meeting, unless the property owner has been provided and then signed the appropriate waiver, the Board of Review would need to adjourn and reconvene 15 or more days later to give the property owner an opportunity to object to the assessment as revised at open book. By doing so the assessor has met the notice requirements under sec. 70.365, Wis. Stats. Effective beginning in 2008, the law further provides that if the assessor changes the assessment as a result of an open book examination "and the person assessed waives, in writing and on a form prescribed or approved by the department of revenue, the person's right to the 15-day notice of the changed assessment, no additional notice is required under this section." Under this scenario, the assessor would not be required to give an additional 15-day notice and the Board of Review would not be required to be kept open longer than otherwise needed.

  2. Must the property owner always provide an estimate of the length of time for the hearing?

    Yes. Sec 70.47 (7)(ad). Wis. Stats., states "...and the person's reasonable estimate of the length of time that the hearing will take."

  3. If the property owner is not present during scheduling, how should the Board of Review notify the owner of his/her hearing?

    The law does not specify the type of notice, but does require that it be given at least 48 hours prior to hearing the objection. We recommend that the Board provide notice by first class mail, and do an affidavit of mailing. We recommend mailing the notice at least 5 days prior to the hearing, which would allow for the 48-hour notice plus another 3 days for mail delivery.

  4. Does the law allow an assessor to hold open books for more than one district at a time?

    It does not. Holding multiple district open books at the same time would require that a municipality's assessment records be removed from the municipality, and require property owners to travel to another municipality for their open book.

  5. Must the assessor be present at the meeting within the first 30 days of the second Monday of May if the assessment roll is not complete?

    Yes. The assessor must be present at the meeting held during the first 30 days following the second Monday of May. If the assessment roll is not complete, the assessor must attend to inform the Board as to when the roll will be completed.

  6. Must the Board of Review provide written notice of determination to the objector?

    Written notice of determination is mandatory and must be served by personal delivery or by certified mail return receipt requested. The state-prescribed form PR-302 includes the amount of the assessment as finalized by the Board of Review, as well as the required explanation of appeal rights.

  7. Must the Board of Review adjourn to another day in order for the clerk to physically mail the Notices of Determination if the Board concludes its business at a time the post office is not open?

    The law specifies the notices will be delivered or mailed prior to final adjournment of the Board of Review. While it is cumbersome to adjourn the board and reconvene after the notices have been mailed, that is the required procedure.

    It would be theoretically possible for the clerk to, before adjournment, at a time when the post office is closed, mail the notices in a U.S. Post Office mailbox, execute the affidavit, and return to the BOR for adjournment. By doing so, it would be possible to get a return receipt, but it would not be possible to obtain proof of mailing in the form of a U.S. Postal Service Receipt for Certified Mail, PS Form 3800. It would be preferable for the clerk to obtain proof of certified mailing in the form of the U.S. Postal Service Receipt for Certified Mail which is only available when the Post Office is open. Whether or not an article of certified mail is actually delivered, the return receipt cards are often not returned to the sender. If the clerk has not obtained proof of mailing (available only when the Post Office is open) and if the return receipt card is not returned, the Board will have no proof of complying with sec. 70.47(12), Wis. Stats.

Last updated February 23. 2009