Board of Review FAQ
PLEASE READ ALL OF THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION CAREFULLY. THOUGH THE BOARD CANNOT PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE, PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT EVIDENCE MUST SUPPORT THE PROPERTY’S ESTIMATED FAIR MARKET VALUE FOR ASSESSMENT PURPOSES AS OF JANUARY 1 OF THE APPLICABLE TAX YEAR.
- General information to assist taxpayers with hearing preparation can be found on the Wisconsin Department of Revenue’s Board of Review website.
- Taxpayers are particularly directed to the “Guide for Property Owners” link under the “Resources” section of the above website.
What is Open Book?
Open Book is the period of time where a taxpayer of the City of Menasha can meet with the City's contracted assessor to examine his/her property tax assessment and discuss how the Assessor arrived at the assessed value.
After meeting with the City Assessor, and a resident still wishes to dispute the tax assessed value, the taxpayer must attend the Board of Review.
What is the Board of Review?
The City of Menasha’s Board of Review (“Board”) is an independent board of citizens appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Common Council to hear assessment objections.
When does the Board of Review meet?
The Board is responsible for correcting any assessment errors. It meets annually (normally in May or early June) and conducts its hearings in a manner similar to a court, where the Board is required to evaluate evidence based on facts. Property owners (objecting party) must provide factual information showing your property is incorrectly assessed.
Please refer to the City Clerk's information page for dates/times.
My taxes were recently reassessed. How do I contest this at the Board of Review?
The City of Menasha would first like you to contact our City Assessor's Office where a representative can help explain the change in the assessed value of the property(ies) in question. This is done by setting up an Open Book appointment. You are welcome to outreach to our City Assessor's Office Tuesdays/Thursdays at 920-967-3639 or call their Appleton Office (normal business hours) at 920-749-1995 for more information and to schedule your personal appointment.
If even after speaking to the Assessor at Open Book and the taxpayer still wishes to file an objection, the objecting party must first confirm participation in the Board of Review meeting by scheduling their appointment at least 48 hours notice prior to the Board of Review (by contacting the Clerk's Office at 920-967-3608 or the Assessor's Office - office hours at City Hall are Tuesdays and Thursdays – 920-967-3639, or by calling their Appleton Office at (920) 749-1995).
- If a party does not confirm and/or appear, the Board of Review will sustain the Assessor’s valuation.
- In-person hearings will occur at Menasha City Hall, on the first floor conference room area. Objecting parties will receive a hearing notice specifying the room number prior to a scheduled hearing.
What is required of a taxpayer/property owner who wishes to contest assessment (file an objection)?
Items to Submit Objection of Assessment Include:
- Notice of Intent to File Objection
- Objection Form for Real Property Assessment
- Any other copies of supporting evidence/documentation (as listed in the section below). All completed documents MUST be returned to the City Clerk’s office at least 48-hours prior to the Board of Review. Be sure to provide factual information showing your property is incorrectly assessed.
- Objecting party (property owners) are to provide evidence of “Good Cause” for filing the objection. In other words, taxpayers must be prepared to demonstrate to the Board clearly and concisely what their property is worth (the estimated fair market value for assessment purposes) as of January 1 of the applicable tax year. Evidence must be convincing enough to overcome the law’s presumption that the assessor’s valuation is correct.
- Evidence of market value/reasoning to proper contest may include:
- Recent Purchase of Property (or Properties Similar in the City of Menasha): Documentation of a recent valid sale of the subject property, such as a closing statement or real estate transfer return.
- Documentation of recent valid sales of properties reasonably comparable to the subject property.
- Fair Market Assessment Data: Documentation of a recent appraisal of the subject property reflecting its estimated fair market value for assessment purposes. This can be done by a third party who specializes in conducting home appraisals (like a realtor, etc.). Please note that if an appraisal or other document prepared by a third party is submitted as documentary evidence, the party submitting that evidence must ensure that the individual who prepared the document is available to testify at the hearing. Without that individual’s hearing testimony, the Board has the discretion to assign limited or no evidentiary value to the document.
- A Recent Property Sale: A “recent” valid sale or appraisal is one that will provide evidence of the subject property’s estimated fair market value for assessment purposes as of January 1 of the applicable tax year. Valid sales or appraisals occurring close in time to January 1 of the applicable tax year generally will receive greater evidentiary consideration.
- Comparable Homes / Comparative Estimates: Taxpayers who present evidence regarding recent valid sales of reasonably comparable properties should be prepared to explain how the comparators are similar; for example, in style, square footage of house, lot size, number of rooms, condition, exterior wall constructions, etc. Please note that the presentation of such evidence may not be sufficient to overcome the law’s presumption of correctness.
- Please note: Taxpayers who do not properly provide demonstration of “good cause” could provide the Board of Review grounds to not hear file of objection.
- Parties (including Assessor’s Office representatives) are expected to provide the Clerk with copies of any documents to be used at the hearing at least two (2) business days prior to the scheduled hearing. As soon as possible following receipt, the Clerk will share submitted documents with the opposing party. Emailing documents to the Clerk is strongly preferred, though documents can also be sent via U.S. mail or dropped off at City Hall (at the Clerk’s Office or by the dropbox outside City Hall). Documents must be clearly labeled/identified so that the Clerk can associate them with the correct appeal hearing and distribute them to Board members. All pages of submitted documents should be numbered. The Board reserves the discretion to disregard documents that do not comply with these guidelines.
What can I expect at the Board of Review meeting?
The hearing process is similar to a court proceeding in many respects, and is as follows:
- Board Clerk introduces the matter and Chairperson makes initial/explanatory remarks.
- Objecting party presents witness testimony and/or documentary evidence supporting their position, after which Board members and the Assessor’s Office representative have the opportunity to question the objecting party.
- Assessor’s Office representative presents testimony and/or documentary evidence supporting the assessed value, after which Board members and/or the objecting party have the opportunity to question the Assessor’s Office representative.
- Objecting party is permitted a brief concluding statement or summary.
- Assessor’s Office representative is permitted a brief concluding statement or summary.
- Board deliberates on the matter in open session. Parties may listen but may not participate in this discussion.
- Board votes on whether to affirm or deny the objection.
Please also note that pursuant to Wisconsin law the Board must presume that the assessor’s valuation as of January 1 of the applicable tax year is correct. The law presumes that the City Assessor (contracted vendor is Associated Appraisal Consultants) has properly performed his/her duties and has assessed all properties fairly and upon an equal basis at full market value. The effect of this presumption is to impose upon the taxpayer the burden of proving that the property in question has not been correctly assessed. The law requires the taxpayer to present sufficient relevant evidence regarding the taxpayer's estimated fair market value of the property for assessment purposes as of January 1 of the applicable tax year.
In addition to the documentation/evidence submitted to the Clerk, I'd like to have a witness testify. What is required?
Witnesses are to contact the City Clerk to confirm attendance. Objecting parties who plan to call witnesses other than themselves must tell the Clerk whether those witnesses will testify in-person or remotely. Parties are responsible for ensuring that their witnesses appear at the scheduled hearing time and that they are able to participate remotely, if that is their preference.
Wisconsin law states, “Instead of appearing in person…the board of review may allow the property owner… to appear before the board, under oath, by telephone or to submit written statements, under oath, to the board” (Wis., Stats., 70.47).
Witnesses should only be called if they can provide factual testimony regarding the subject property’s estimated fair market value for assessment purposes as of January 1 of the applicable tax year. The Board may, at its discretion, disregard non-expert opinion testimony or anecdotal evidence.
I received a notice from the City's Assessor stating my property's assessment changed. Why did my property assessment change?
The City’s Assessor is mandated to do a market evaluation of all properties within the City of Menasha in order to comply with the Wisconsin State Statues concerning market evaluation (property evaluation must be within 10 percent of market value). In addition, if no changed has occurred, the City Assessor is required to do a reassessment every five (5) years per Wisconsin State Statues.
With my reassessed value determined, does this mean my taxes will go up?
This does not necessarily mean taxpayers’ properties will go up in value or increase – all city properties were reevaluated so as a collective, it does not particularly mean your taxes will automatically increase.
How does the city determine my property taxes each year?
The City of Menasha is not solely responsible for the taxation for your property(ies) in the city limits. Rather, the city is one entity of a collective which determines the mill rate for all taxpayers. These entities each have annual Budget Review sessions (the City of Menasha, the respective county the property is located in, the local school district, and FVTC) help determine the mill rate to calculate taxes. The entities which comprise a Menasha property owner’s taxes are:
- City of Menasha
- The City of Menasha Common Council holds Budget Review Sessions (normally in November).
- The County the property resides in (Winnebago or Calumet)
- For Budget Review Sessions, please reach out to the respective County Treasurer for more information (see links above).
- Menasha Joint School District (MJSD)
- Please contact the school district’s Financial Reports and Planning Department to find out entity’s Budget Review Sessions.
- Fox Valley Technical College
- Please contact the technical college directly at (920) 831-4355 or review their Budget and Performance Metrics.
Attend a Budget Review Session: If you are interested in learning more, we encourage you to inquire with the above entities on when the Budget Review sessions are scheduled, read their agendas, and attend the meetings to voice questions/concerns/suggestions on the proposed budgets.