Jon Turke profileA bill authored by Senator Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) and Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) to change the requirement to notify an agricultural land property owner when their tax assessment changes is making its way through the legislature.

Each year, the Department of Revenue determines the assessed value for an acre of agricultural land. Currently, municipalities are then required to send out a Notice of Changed Assessment to each property owner whose parcel has a change in value, whether an increase or a decrease. This process often means that after the cost of postage, envelopes, ink, paper, printing, processing time, etc., municipalities are losing money in order to notify agricultural land owners of a small change in their land value.

As an example from the Town of Malone, if a parcel changes in value by $100, that creates an increase in local tax of 18 cents. However, in order to send a notice regarding this change, the municipality spends 50 cents on postage, 7 cents on an envelope, 2 cents on ink, 1 cent on paper, and 24 cents on staff time to process and mail the notice for a total cost of 84 cents. Therefore, the municipality is losing 66 cents, even with an increase in tax revenue! Furthermore, if the value of an acre decreases, the municipality is losing even more taxpayer money to comply with a state law.

This bill states that a municipality is not required to send out a Notice of Changed Assessment to agricultural land owners if the value of their parcel has not changed by $500 or more. This change saves municipalities money while ensuring that if a significant change occurs, land owners will still be properly notified. This proposal has been reviewed by the Farm Bureau and the Department of Revenue.

If you have any thoughts on this bill, please contact me via email.