Beloit Daily News | Walters: Major homeowners’ rights case accepted

Steve Walters, longtime Capitol reporter and WisconsinEye correspondent, writes today in the Beloit Daily News:

“BUT, IN a signal that lower courts may have been wrong, the state Supreme Court recently agreed to decide whether state law — which says homeowners must accept whatever assessed value is assigned them, if they deny access to the home interior — violates the federal Fourth Amendment right to privacy.

The Supreme Court’s decision in this case could give hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin homeowners a new legal way to fight assessments that determine how much they pay in property taxes. Residential assessments, including single-and multi-family properties, make up 70% of Wisconsin’s total tax base; their owners pay that percentage of all property taxes.

Finally, the Supreme Court ruling could impact the state Constitution’s “uniformity” clause, which says that all types of property must be assessed equally for property tax purposes.  

Court of Appeals judges said state law denies a homeowner the right to appeal a new assessment, if no interior access is permitted.

STATE LAW requires that property be valued according to the Revenue Department’s manual, which says: “No person shall be allowed to appear before the board of review … or to contest the amount of any assessment of real or personal property if the person has refused a reasonable written request by certified mail of the assessor to view such property.””

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