What is Open Book?
Once the Assessor creates the preliminary tax roll, it is submitted to the Municipality Clerk and “open for inspection.” This Open Book period is the time between the submittal of the preliminary tax roll and the formal Board of Review appeal hearing. It is used to allow property owners to review their assessment and meet with the Assessor and their staff if they have questions and want to exchange information about their property. Informal discussions with the Assessor can often resolve a problem and frequently eliminate the need for a formal hearing before the Board of Review.
Why meet with the Municipality Assessment staff and how long does it take?
An informal discussion with the Assessor can often resolve a problem and frequently eliminates the need for a formal hearing before the Board of Review. The informal meeting serves to answer questions about the assessment process and to verify that the factual information the Municipality has about your property is accurate. In general, it is not intended to be a negotiating session. The meeting will last between 15-30 minutes.
Before making an appointment, please take time to review information you have received from the Assessor’s Office and the information you have about your property. Familiarize yourself with the assessment process as much as possible. In order to allow each property owner to participate in the informal process if they choose to, appointments are required and will be limited to 30 minutes. Each property owner is allowed one meeting so make sure you are prepared for your meeting. If you own multiple properties that you wish to discuss, you should inform the Assessor’s office of the number of properties you would like to cover when you call to arrange an appointment. Although you will still be limited to one meeting, the time allotted will be extended to accommodate the number of properties to be covered. Please be prepared to discuss each property.
What happens during the meeting?
During the meeting, you and a property appraiser will make sure that the Assessor’s Office data for items such as the size, age, condition, number of bathrooms, and other physical characteristics of your property are correct. You can ask any question that will help you understand the assessment process. In addition, you will have the opportunity to present factual data to the appraiser regarding a different opinion of the value of your property. Examples of acceptable factual data include:
-Copies of your building plan with dimensions
-A recent private appraisal for the property (2 years or less in age)
-Recent interior and exterior photos of the property that illustrate that the overall physical condition (not housekeeping) of the property is in less than average expected condition for the age of the house. Examples of items that might have a relationship to the assessed value include but are not limited to structural damage or impacts from major mistreatment of the building, major water leak problems, pest damage with records of treatment or long term deferred maintenance (roof, siding, or window replacement, and needs of similar character)
-Information on the recent purchase of your property if that was completed within the past year, or information on the recent sale prices of homes within your general area o the municipality that you believe are very similar to your home in physical characteristics
-Other information: estimates for uncompleted repair or construction activities, receipts for completed repair or improvement projects, certified survey or plat maps delineating lot size and area, condemnation notice or orders to raze or repair, income and expense information and lease agreements (for income producing property), records of farm rents and crop production activities (for agricultural use valuation), or any other factual information that is relevant to the value of the property.
The primary purpose for the meeting is to allow you to exchange factual information with the Assessment staff, confirm their data, and learn more about eh assessment process. The Appraiser involved in your meeting will not be reviewing the assessed value. That part of the process occurs following the conclusion of the meetings. You will be notified by mail of the results of the completed property review.
Following the receipt of the findings from your meeting with the Assessment staff, if you still believe the assessment is not an accurate estimate of value, you may proceed to the Board of Review to present evidence as such. You may learn more about the Board of Review at the following website: www.dor.state.wi.us or by obtaining a brochure from the Municipality Clerk’s Office.