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How will the revaluation affect taxes?

Learn about the revaluation, the property assessment notice you received in the mail, and how it affects your taxes
Post Date:08/12/2019 2:36 PM

We mailed property assessment notices to all property owners in August. We understand that a change in your property assessment can be impactful to your budget. Below are the answers to common questions about the revalution and how it affects taxes.

We encourage you to call (414) 479-8969 or email the Assessor's Office. An appraiser can answer your specific questions during Open Book Period (August 12 - September 12).

What is an assessment?

An assessment is the value placed on taxable property by the assessor. This figure determines the portion of the local property tax levy that the property will bear.

What is a revaluation and why did Wauwatosa do one?

A revaluation is the determination of new values for taxation purposes. Revaluations are done to distribute taxes equitably among the taxable properties in the municipality, in accordance with the law. The purpose is not to increase taxes. Tax increases are directly related to the budgetary needs of the taxing jurisdictions.

What does this mean in Wauwatosa for property taxes?

The average property in the city increased by approximately 20%. If your percent change in value after the revaluation is less than the average percent change of approximately 20%, your percentage share of the total municipal taxes will likely go down. This is because your percent share of the municipality value is less than the prior year. If your percent change in value from the revaluation is more than the average percent change, your percent share of the total municipal taxes will likely go up because your percent share of the municipal value is more than in the prior year. If your revaluation increase matches the average, your percentage share of the total municipal taxes will likely remain the same.

While we can estimate what the impact of the revaluation will be on your percent share of the municipal taxes, we cannot predict the impact on your actual tax bill. This is because the actual amount of taxes that you pay is influenced by 12 different factors including the change in the budgeted property tax levy for the City, Schools, Tech College, Sewer District and County, the amount of tax credits funded by the State, and the relative size of the City’s equalized tax base compared to other Milwaukee County cities. Most of these factors will not be finalized until late November. 

How will this impact the tax rate?

A revaluation that results in higher assessed values will decrease the tax rate. However, there are many other factors that can impact the tax rate. The tax rate will likely increase as part of the 2020 budget process. A tax levy increase as part of the budget process is common because the cost of doing business goes up each year. This change will not be determined until the city completes its budget process. Also, your tax impact will be determined by all taxing jurisdictions, including the Wauwatosa School District, Milwaukee County, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewer District (MMSD), and Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC). These tax rates will be determined later this year.

School District Referendum Tax Impact

Additionally, you will see a line item on your property tax bill highlighting the amount you are paying specifically for the School District’s facilities referendum approved in November of 2018. The approved referendum raises the school district’s portion of the mill rate by $1.87 over the current rate. As a result, Wauwatosa property owners will pay $187 more per $100,000 of equalized property value on their 2019 property bills. Please know this is an estimate at this time.

However, future years are projected to be below that amount as the school district was able to reduce the tax impact to an estimated average annual cost of $1.48 per $1,000 of property value over the 20-year repayment term.

How can I participate in the budget process?

  • The Financial Affairs Committee will discuss the proposed budget on these dates: October 8 and 22.
  • The Common Council will discuss the budget on October 29.
  • There will be a public hearing on November 5 at the Common Council.
  • The Common Council is scheduled to adopt the budget on November 19.

Attend meetings or follow agendas, minutes, and videos in the Meeting Portal.

I'm concerned about paying my taxes. What are my options for payment?

The city offers interest-free installments until May 31. During this time, you might work with your escrow to adjust your payments for the following year.

News Coverage

  • Fox 6 "‘It really was time for a revaluation:’ Homeowners surprised by new property assessments"
  • CBS 58 "Some homeowners concerned about tax increases after property assessments released"
  • JSOnline "Some Wauwatosa residents were shocked by their property assessment increases. Here's what you need to know."
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