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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the duties of the Assessor?
What is market value? 
What is assessed value? 
How does the Assessor value property? 
What if I don't let the Assessor inspect my property? 
What happens if I make changes to my property?
How can my assessment change when I haven't done anything to my property?
Will I be notified if there is a change in my assessed value? 
What is a revaluation? 
How will my taxes change as a result of a changed assessed value? 
What is the tax base?
What are taxing bodies? 
What is the tax rate? 
How do I know if my assessment is correct?
If I don't agree with the value, how can I appeal the assessed value?
What is the open book process?
What is the Board of Review? 
What if I'm still not satisfied after Board of Review?
What property qualifies for property tax exemption? 
If we are exempt for federal income tax purposes (example: 501(c)(3) corporation),
do we automatically qualify for property tax exemption?
What do I do if I think my property qualifies for property tax exemption?

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What are the duties of the Assessor?
Under the authority of Wisconsin Law, the City of Marshfield Assessor must discover, list, and value all taxable property within the city limits. These valuations must be performed on an annual basis and must be in accord with Wisconsin State Statutes, in order to provide for the uniform and fair distribution of the property tax burden.

Discovery involves maintaining accurate maps which identify each land parcel in the city limits. These maps must be kept up to date with all changes that occur to each parcel. The assessor maintains contact with other city offices to keep informed of building and remodeling activity in an ongoing basis. Constant attention is also paid to businesses which sell, move, or come into the city to insure that all property receives an equitable assessment.


Listing includes keeping up to date records of all of the features of all taxable property on an individual basis. Accurate records of ownership, property details and condition, legal descriptions, and anything which might influence value must be maintained in order to insure fair and equitable assessments. The accurate listing of specific property features is accomplished through the field review process, in which the assessing staff make on-site visits to the property to verify all pertinent details.


Valuing property proceeds from the two prior stages of discovery and listing. Assessments are estimates of the market value of property based on the activity in the market place. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THE ASSESSOR DOES NOT CREATE OR ANTICIPATE THESE VALUES IN ANY WAY, BUT RATHER INTERPRETS WHAT IS CURRENTLY HAPPENING IN THE MARKET PLACE.

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What is market value?

Market value is defined as the amount a typical, well-informed buyer would be willing to pay for a property under typical market conditions.  Typical conditions include: buyer and seller being unrelated, seller willing to sell but not under undue pressure to sell, buyer willing to buy but not under obligation to buy, property must be on the open market for a reasonable length of time, payment must be in cash or its equivalent with typical market-place financing.  If these conditions are present, this could be an arms-length sale and be representative of actual market value.

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What is assessed value?

Assessed value is an estimate of value assigned to taxable property by the Assessor for purposes of property taxation. State law requires all assessments to be at 100% of market value. Assessed values must closely reflect actual market value following a revaluation. In non-revaluation years, assessments typically reflect a percent of market value due to changing market conditions.

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How does the Assessor value property?

By keeping accurate records of each property within the city limits, the Assessor is able to estimate value for all properties based on sales of those or similar properties for any given assessment year. Some of the factors the Assessor considers: sales of the subject property, sales of similar or comparable properties, what it would cost to replaces the property, the income a property earns, and any other factors effecting the marketability of each property. These factors are typically broken down into three approaches to valuing property.


The Market Approach: This method of valuing property involves obtaining sales data of the subject property or sales data from similar properties.  The selling price of subject or comparable properties must then be analyzed for accuracy and for applicability. These selling prices must then be adjusted for differences between the subject data and data from comparable properties.


The Cost Approach: This method involves considering how much money it would cost, at current material and labor costs, to replace your property with one like it. If your property is not new, the Assessor must further determine how much depreciation has taken place.


The Income Approach: This method is used and especially applicable if there is rental income associated with your property. Examples would include: apartment houses, stores, office buildings, etc. The Assessor must consider such factors as operating expenses, taxes, insurance, maintenance and financial risk, and the desired profit associated with the income from the property. This approach is not typically applied to home ownership unless the house is rented to others.

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What if I don't let the Assessor inspect my property?
When an interior inspection is not allowed during the field review process, the Assessor will attempt to update the records by using any and all available information. Observation from the exterior, and any other indications of condition will be considered. In order to ensure an accurate assessment, it is to your advantage to allow the Assessor inside your property when an inspection is requested. By denying an interior inspection, you may lose the right to appeal your assessment to the Board of Review.

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What happens if I make changes to my property?

Generally, improvements that maintain the value of property will not cause an increase in assessed value.  Such items as repairing concrete driveways, replacing gutter and downspout, replacing hot water heater, repairs or replacing roofing materials, repairing porches, painting, replacing furnaces, weather stripping, storm windows, and landscaping are seen as maintaining the value of your property, but not necessarily as adding value. Items which typically add value to a property would include adding rooms or garages, replacing asbestos or wood siding with steel or vinyl siding, modernization of kitchens or baths, adding central air conditioning, adding fireplaces, or other extensive remodeling. In these latter instances, the added value to your property would typically be reflected in higher assessed value.

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How can my assessment change when I haven't done anything to my property?

General economic conditions, such as interest rates, inflation, supply and demand, and changes in tax laws will influence the market value of real estate. As property values change in the market place, those changes must be reflected on the assessment roll on an annual basis.

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Will I be notified if there is a change in my assessed value?

Wisconsin law now requires that the owner must be notified if there is any change in the assessed value for their property.

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What is a revaluation?

Wisconsin law requires assessments to be at market value. When a municipality is no longer at or near market value, all of the properties in the city must be reviewed. This is done in order to bring all properties to full market value and to ensure that taxes are distributed equitably and uniformly.

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How will my taxes change as a result of a changed assessed value?

Though the value of your property affects your share of taxes, the actual amount you pay is determined by the budget needs of the schools, city, county, technical college and state reforestation. All of these taxing bodies decide their budget needs based on services to be provided to the community.

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What is the tax base?

The total of all assessed values in the City of Marshfield, of properties subject to the local property tax.

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What are taxing bodies?

The following are taxing bodies which determine budget amounts for services to the community and translate those budget amounts into the tax levy: City of Marshfield, Marshfield Public Schools, Wood and Marathon Counties, Marshfield Area Technical College, and the State of Wisconsin (for reforestation).

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What is the tax rate?

The local tax rate is determined by dividing the tax base by the tax levy and is often expressed in terms of dollars of tax per thousand dollars of value. The tax rate times the individual properties' assessed value indicates the taxes paid in a given tax year.

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How do I know if my assessment is correct?

Sales and assessment information is available at the Assessor's Office. You are entitled to review the information and come to your own conclusions about the value of your property. Private realtors and appraisers will also provide alternative opinions of value at your own expense.

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If I don't agree with the value, how can I appeal the assessed value?

Talk to the Assessor about your concerns. Our office is always receptive to new information or data concerning the value of your property.

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What is the open book process?

Open book is the period of time, just after the Assessor completed the annual assessment roll, during which the assessments are open to the whole community. Time is set aside by the Assessing staff to talk to property owners and review values.

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What is the Board of Review?

Board of Review is a formal hearing process for bring your concerns about the value of your property before a board comprised of residents of the City of Marshfield. In order to appear before the Board of Review the property owner or owner's representative must file an objection form with the City Clerk. A hearing will be scheduled for your case with the Board of Review by the City Clerk's Office.  You must then appear before the Board of Review and present evidence that has bearing on the value of your property. BOARD OF REVIEW HEARINGS ARE FOR PRESENTING EVIDENCE OF VALUE OF PROPERTY AND ARE NOT FOR DISCUSSING TAXES.

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What if I am still not satisfied after the Board of Review?

The Board of Review will send you notice of its decision regarding your assessed value. That notice will give you subsequent appeal options, an example of which would be an appeal to Circuit Court.

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What property qualifies for property tax exemption?

Property in the State of Wisconsin is generally taxable unless it is specifically exempt from tax by the state legislature. The legislature enacted state statute section 70.11 that lists about 40 categories of specific exemptions.

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If we are exempt for federal income tax purposes (example: 501(c)(3) corporation), do we automatically qualify for property tax exemption?

Federal income tax exemption does not guarantee property tax exemption. The income tax is governed by federal law and the Internal Revenue Code while local property tax is governed by state law.

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What do I do if I think my property qualifies for property tax exemption?

Fill out a Wisconsin Department of Revenue exemption application form and file this with the local Assessor. This application must be filed by March 1st of the year for which exemption is sought. This form must be filled out in entirety in order for the Assessor to make a completely informed decision. This form is not required for manufacturing property, which must be considered by the state for classification.

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