Appealing the property tax in Milwaukee

6 Replies

I bought a SFR in auction. Property tax bill that i see online (not yet received the papers though) is almost double the value of what i purchased for. I dont see any comparables in this area for that assessed value. Anyone successfully appealed the property tax and won ?

Any help on the steps to take is greatly appreciated.

@Pari Thiagasundaram

You will need to appeal the assessed value of the property.  Its only allowed during a certain period each year after assessment letters have been mailed out.  You most likely can't do anything about the 2015 tax bill but should be able to appeal the assessed value which if won will make an impact on the 2016 tax bill.

First step is figuring out the appeals period, usually around April and May.  Then you'll need to request an objection form from the city, complete the form and hope they agree with your objection.

If you win you'll see the change in assessed value on the next tax bill.

I have appealed commercial property successfully.  You're best weapon will be an appraisal, when I challenged it was for a portfolio that we were refinancing so we had recent appraisals.  Second best is recent comps that are similar to you're property.

Also do your best to get comps that were a more traditional sale, private party to private party. I knows some municipalities get weird when pulling comps and don't like to include REO sales or auction sales.

Just don't expect any sort of wonderfully large reduction in your tax bill, you may get a bump down somewhat, but guess what, a LOT of properties are in the same boat and one way or another, the city has to pay its bills and though they make a valiant effort handing out parking tickets (and raise quite a bit that way as well) property taxes are still the main source and for every idea that pops up to cut spending, we have 100 or maybe 1000 more to increase it. It is just common sense, they aren't going to cut their own throats by slashing valuations and if they did, then they'd simply raise the % you're paying on that assessed value! 

I'd highly recommend you do a personal analysis of the time and effort required to go through the process vs what else you could spend that time doing. Sure, getting your tax bill "slashed" from say $4,000 year to $3,500 is a victory, but if in that time spent doing so you miss out on some other investment, etc that could've netted you a $10k, $50k, $100k profit, it looks a lot more like a large net loss to me!