Wisconsin law requires that any owner, or tenant, of real property seeking a statutory exemption from property taxation must complete and file with the local assessor an application for exemption on or before March 1st in order to be eligible for exemption in the current year. Don’t worry, if your property is already classified as exempt and the use and ownership of the property has not changed since the prior year, a new application is not necessary. However, if property was not exempt in the prior year and should be exempt as of January 1st this year, the application must be submitted by March 1st.

Although, as a general rule, all real property in the state is taxable, the Wisconsin Legislature has carved out nearly 40 different categories of specific exemptions under Wis. Stat. § 70.11, such as an exemption for colleges and universities under § 70.11(3). Depending upon the entity or organization that owns or occupies the property and the specific use of that property, it is possible that you may be eligible to save all or some of your current tax burden in 2019. In fact, under the right circumstances, property can be partially exempt. A portion of a parcel might be used for an exempt purpose and other parts might be used for a non-exempt purpose. Under this situation the portion of the property used for an exempt purpose might be exempt from property taxation. This is common in the healthcare industry where a campus might have physician office space, clinics and also exempt hospital functions all in one property. There are also circumstances where the owner of a property may not qualify for exempt status, but the tenant, as the “beneficial owner” of the property, could still qualify the property for an exemption.

Whether or not property legally qualifies for exempt status, if the property is not currently classified as exempt, an application must be submitted by March 1st, otherwise the property will remain taxable for the entire year.

The required application can be found here.