Residential Property Valuation
Residential property is assessed as it existed on January 1. For valuation, the assessor estimates the fair market value of the property. This is done by performing a physical inspection of the property, analyzing sales data, and making any necessary market adjustments. Some of the characteristics that determine the value of a residential structure are:
- Square footage
- Grade of materials used
Commercial Property Valuation
Commercial properties include those in which the primary use is the selling of merchandise or service. In addition, apartment homes with greater than three units and office buildings are considered commercial property. For vacant parcels, this classification may apply if its highest and best use is considered commercial. Commercial properties are also assessed as they existed on January 1. Properties that are defined as 'manufacturing' are not assessed at the local level, but rather by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
When valuing commercial property, factors taken into consideration are location and analysis of comparable sales. Incomes and expenses and the costs of construction may also be examined. In any case, the goal is to determine the property’s estimated market value.
Certain financial records provided to the city assessor are considered confidential. See City of Fitchburg Code of Ordinance Sec. 12-61 and Wisconsin Statute 70.47 (7)(af).
Business Personal Property
Personal property includes all property that is not considered real property, and not listed as exempt under Wisconsin Statute 70.111. Personal property is assessed as of the January 1 assessment date. Every person, firm, or corporation operating a business in the City of Fitchburg should file a Statement of Personal Property with the local assessor each year on or before the March 1 deadline. This form contains schedules of various types of personal property, and the assessor determines an assessment based on the reported value. A 'doomage' (estimate) assessment is assigned if a Statement of Personal Property is not received at the Assessor’s Office.
New business owners who do not have an existing account may contact the Assessor’s Office to establish a new account. Another option is to complete a Statement of Personal Property and submit it to the local assessor by the March 1 deadline.
Agricultural Property Valuation
The Budget Act of 1995-1997 changed the standard for assessing farmland in Wisconsin in order to protect Wisconsin’s farm economy and to keep urban sprawl in check. The city assessor assigns a value on farmland based on its 'use value' rather than market value. This means that the use of agricultural land is the most important factor in determining its assessment classification. Land qualifying for use value assessment must be devoted primarily to agricultural use. However, neither a residence nor agricultural buildings on the farm property qualify for use value assessment. More information on this subject can be found in Wisconsin Department of Revenue’s Agricultural Assessment Guide.