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June 6, 2016Published Article

Wisconsin Tax Appeals Commission Issues Major Decision Rejecting the Department of Revenue's Method for Assessing Manufacturing Property

American Property Tax Counsel

In a major decision issued on April 12, 2016, Thermo Electron v. Wisconsin Department of Revenue, the Wisconsin Tax Appeals Commission rejected the method the Wisconsin Department of Revenue has used for decades to value manufacturing property, concluding that it was insupportable under either Wisconsin law or professionally acceptable appraisal practices.

Under that unorthodox method, which the Department called the “building residual” method, sales which the Department determined to be valid were placed into the Department’s database, after first being “fielded” by a Department assessor. The “fielding” assessor would allocate the overall sale price into land and improvements components, but with no indication of how the allocation was made or how either component of the overall sale price was derived.

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