As the saying goes, nothing is certain except for death and taxes. Wisconsin residents, like those in every other state, must pay different taxes so the state can pay for schools, roads and entitlement programs. Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, collects taxes through the assessor's office from any resident owning property within city limits.
The assessor's office bases its taxes on fair market value. That term, borrowed from the real estate industry, is the price a typical buyer would pay for the property at the time of the study. The tax rate, or the percentage of the assessed value each property owner has to pay, isn't set in stone. It may change each year depending on factors such as that year's revenue needs and how many properties the city can tax. Assessments typically take place once a year. A run of home improvements, or a change in economic condition from one year to the next will change the assessed value.
A Milwaukee resident's tax bill also lists charges for other jurisdictions. As of 2012, that included a state forestry tax, taxes for the city public schools and the county. The city Treasurer's Office sends the appropriate amounts to these other jurisdictions. Property owners can find each year's tax bill online through the City of Milwaukee website.
The Office of the City Treasurer has to pick up property taxes from six jurisdictions. From 1999 through 2007, the city collected 99.93 percent of all taxes for each year, one of the highest rates in the country. Some residents pay property taxes as part of their monthly mortgage payments. Property owners can also pay the tax through electronic funds transfers. Monthly installment plans are available for residents who can't foot the whole bill with one check.
State Lottery and Gaming Credit
The state of Wisconsin gives property tax payers a State Lottery and Gaming Credit. It has to be the tax payer's primary residence, and they must prove they live in Wisconsin. The city treasurer's office has to have the forms in hand before the end of January. How much you get depends on two factors in that tax year; how much revenue the state scratched off in the lottery, and how many properties asked for the credit.
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