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Frequently Used Terms

Agricultural Use Value Conversion:  Conversion charge for farmland converted to different use.

Assessment or Assessed Value: The value that is placed on a property by the local assessor. The assessed value is used to determine the property tax amount. Our Public Access Program has assessment history as far back as 1993.

Average Assessment Ratio:  A ratio determined by the Department of Revenue showing the relationship between the assessed value of all taxable property in a municipality and the equalized value of that property. The average assessment ratio is applied to all property in a municipality regardless of type or location. Assessed value divided by estimated fair market value equals average assessment ratio.

Base Taxes: The amount of property taxes billed on the original property tax bill.

Current Taxes: Current year taxes (After January 1 and until mid December of the prior calendar year.)

Delinquent Taxes: Property taxes that have not been paid on or before the due date. Once taxes become delinquent, 1% interest and .5% penalty accrue on the unpaid balance until paid in full.

DNR: The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

DOA: The Wisconsin Department of Administration.

DOR:The Wisconsin Department of Revenue.                                                                                         

Equalized Value:  The estimated market value of all taxable non-agricultural property, both real and personal, plus the use value of agricultural lands in a municipality. The Department of Revenue each year determines the equalized value.               

Estimated Fair Market Value:  A value calculated by dividing the property's assessed value by the municipality's average assessment ratio. This value may not be the actual market value of a property and is not used in the calculation of taxes. Agricultural property value is based on use, not market, thus the estimated fair market value is not calculated for parcels in the agricultural class.                                                           

Exempt: This is a term that refers to parcels that are not required to pay property taxes. They are still responsible to pay any and all specials and special assessments on the property. 

Improvements:  On a real estate property bill, improvements are buildings assessed as part of the property. On a personal property bill, improvements are machinery, furniture and fixtures used to operate the business or buildings on leased land.   

Interest: Extra charge that is added to a delinquent property tax bill. The amount is 1% per month on the unpaid base tax and specials. It is added to the statement on the first of each month. This accrues as simple interest not compounded interest.

Lottery and Gaming Credit: A credit that is given on a property tax bill. This credit is only allowed on the parcel that contains the owner's primary residence as of January 1 of the current tax year. The credit may be applied to a property tax bill per Wisconsin Statute 79.10  

Mill Rate:  The tax per dollar of assessed value of property. The rate is expressed in  ""mills", where one mill is one-tenth of a cent ($0.001). 

Parcel Number, ID Number, Pin or Tax Key Number: Refers to the unique number that is assigned to each parcel of land in the county.

Penalty: Extra charge that is added to a delinquent property tax bill. The amount is .5% per month on the unpaid base tax and specials. It is added to the statement on the first of each month.                          

Personal Property: This term refers to items such as machinery, furniture and fixtures used to operate a business. It also refers to buildings on leased land when the lessee owns the buildings.

Postponed Taxes: The balance due of current year taxes when prior installment(s) is/are paid on or before the due date.

Real Property: This term refers to the land and the improvements on that land.

School Levy Tax Credit:  A credit towards property taxes that is state-funded by using income, sales and excise (alcohol and cigarette) taxes.

Specials or Special Assessments: These are charges added to the tax bill for services provided by the municipality. They may be in a different amount for each parcel. Some examples are: unpaid sewer or water bills, recycling charges, sidewalks, razing charges, weed or grass cutting charges, etc.

Tax Bill: The original bill for property taxes that is sent to the property owner's mailing address in December of each year. 

Tax Certificate: A tax certificate is issued annually on September 1 for all properties that have unpaid current year taxes. It represents a lien on the property on behalf of the county. 

Tax Deed Process: The legal process that is used by the county to take ownership of tax delinquent properties. Exempt properties are still responsible for any special assessments to the property.

Tax Levy:  The total amount of property tax money that an entity (such as school district, city, county, etc.) needs to raise to provide services.

Tax Roll: A listing of information that appears on tax bills for every property in the county.

Tax Statement: This is a statement that shows the status of unpaid taxes on a specific parcel. The statement shows separate lines by year for taxes, specials and the interest / penalty charges. Interest / penalty charges are calculated monthly and added to the statement on the first day of every month.

Timely Payment: A tax payment that has been paid on or before the due date and therefore has not accrued any interest and penalty. 

Use Value Assessment:  An assessment based on the value of the property as it is currently used, not its market value. This only applies to agricultural land.