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Tax — property taxes — burden of proof

Wisconsin Supreme Court


Tax — property taxes — burden of proof

The taxpayer challenging an assessment and classification has the burden of proving at the board hearing that the assessment and classification of property are erroneous.

“Although Wis. Stat. §70.47(9)(a) is silent about whether the taxpayer has the burden of proof in challenging the correctness of the classification, Wis. Stat. §70.47(9)(a) explicitly states that if the vote at the board is a tie vote on the objection to the assessment, the assessment will be sustained. The legislature has thus declared that if the party who seeks to raise or lower the assessment fails to persuade a majority of the board that the assessment is incorrect, that party loses. In this way, §70.47(9)(a) makes it absolutely clear that the burden of persuasion is on the taxpayer to show that an assessor’s assessment is erroneous. Because an assessment depends on a valuation and a classification, it makes sense to apply the same burden of proof to a taxpayer’s challenge to a classification as is applied to a taxpayer’s challenge to an assessment.”


2010AP3015 Sausen v. Town of Black Creek

Abrahamson, C.J.

Attorneys: For Appellant: Burnett, R. George, Green Bay; Schmidt, T. Wickham, Green Bay; For Respondent: Hamer, Paula Ann, Appleton; Menghini, Michael C., Appleton

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