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".

Hearings/Proceedings

  1. Is the chief executive officer or their designee, who is the only Board member required to attend training, also the Board of Review chair?
  2. What is the minimum number of Board members required to hear objections?
  3. What if the assessor did not change the value at open book and the case went to the Board of Review where the assessor agreed with what the property owner presented?
  4. What is the impact on a Board of Review if the municipality does not pass an income information confidentiality ordinance?
  5. Does the Board of Review need to record deliberations?
  6. What should the board do if a property owner refused a written request by certified mail for the assessor to view the property?
  7. What should the Board of Review do if the property owner fails to answer question number 5 on the objection form, "What is the taxable value of the property as of January 1"?

  1. Is the chief executive officer or their designee, who is the only Board member required to attend training, also the Board of Review chair?

    No. There is no requirement that the person receiving the required board of review training be the chair of the Board of Review.

  2. What is the minimum number of Board members required to hear objections?

    As few as 2 members may hold a hearing of the evidence if the requirements of sec. 70.47(9), Wis. Stats., are met. However, if one or more members are removed, then 3 or more board of review members must hear the objection in order to issue a determination.

  3. What if the assessor did not change the value at open book and the case went to the Board of Review where the assessor agreed with what the property owner presented?

    If the assessor agrees with the property owner at open book, the value should be changed at that time before the assessor's affidavit is signed. Once the affidavit is signed, the assessor is compelled to defend the value in the roll unless an obvious palpable error has been made. In all cases the Board of Review must decide based on the evidence presented to it.

  4. What is the impact on a Board of Review if the municipality does not pass an income information confidentiality ordinance?

    There would be no impact on the Board of Review in its attempt to obtain information needed to make a decision. The assessor can request income and expense information from the property owner without an ordinance; however, a confidentiality ordinance would help the assessor obtain the information.

  5. Does the Board of Review need to record deliberations?

    Yes, all proceedings of the Board of Review must be recorded in the clerk's minute book, and either by a stenographer or by a recording device. This includes both the evidentiary hearing and the deliberative sessions.

  6. What should the board do if a property owner refused a written request by certified mail for the assessor to view the property?

    The board should conduct a prehearing and establish whether entry was or was not permitted. If it is found that the written request by certified mail to view the property was refused, then under sec. 70.47(7)(aa), Wis. Stats., the property owner or his/her agent is not allowed to appeal before the Board of Review. The board should not issue a "Notice of Board of Review Decision."

  7. What should the Board of Review do if the property owner fails to answer question number 5 on the objection form, "What is the market value of the property as of January 1"?

    Before swearing in the property owner the clerk should ask the property owner to submit a completed form with this question answered. If the property owner still refuses to properly complete the question, the board should conduct a pre-hearing and determine that the Board of Review will not hear the case. Under sec 70.47(7) Wis. Stats., the written objection is required and states that: “…the board shall require that any forms include stated valuations of the property in question.” A Board of Review determination notice should not be issued. When the value being appealed is based on a market value class, case law is well-established regarding the necessity of the appellant providing an opinion of value on the objection form. If the appeal is of a non-market value class, the clerk should ask for the approximate acres and an estimate of the correct assessed value of those acres.

Page last updated February 12, 2014