Glossary of Tax Terms

Glossary of Tax Terms

  • Real Property of Real Estate: This term refers to land and buildings(improvements) on that land

  • Personal Property: Refers to items such as machinery, furniture and fixtures used to operate a business. It also refers to buildings on leased land when the lessee owns the buildings.

  • Improvements: On a real estate property bill, improvements are buildings assessed as part of the property. On a personal property bill, it refers to items such as machinery, furniture and fixtures used to operate the business on leased land.

  • Assessment or Assessed Value: The value that is placed on a property by the municipal assessor for purposes of taxation. The assessed value is used to determine the property tax amount and may be below the current market value of the property.

      • For information regarding your assessment Click here to contact your assessor.

  • Average Assessment Ratio: A ratio determined by the Department of Revenue showing the relationship between the assessed value of all taxable property in a municipality regardless of type and location. Assessed value divided by estimated fair market value equals average assessment ratio. Click here for current and prior ratios.

  • Equalized Value: The estimated market value of all taxable non-agricultural property, both real and personal, plus the use value of agricultural lands in the municipality. The Department of Revenue each year determines the equalized value by August 15.

  • Estimated Fair Market Value: A value calculated by dividing the property's assessed value by the municipality's average assessment ratio. This value may not be the actual market value of the property and is not used in the calculation of taxes. Agricultural property value is based on use, not market, thus the estimated fair market value is not calculated for parcels in the agricultural class.

  • Net Mill Rate: The net mill rate is the rate used to calculate tax amounts on property. The rate is calculated by taking the levy of a municipality divided by the total assessed value of the municipality. This rate is then multiplied times the assessed value of individual parcels to determine the gross tax of a property. Click here for current and prior municipal mill rates.

  • Postponed Taxes: The balance due of current year taxes when prior installments are paid by the due dates

  • Delinquent Taxes: Property taxes that haven't been paid by the due dates of January 31 or July 31. Delinquent taxes are subject to 1% interest and .5% penalty charges accrued monthly, until paid in full. Charges are calculated on the first day of the month.

  • Tax Certificate Issued: A tax certificate is issued annually on September 1 of each year for all properties with unpaid current year taxes. It represents a lien on the property on behalf of the county. This is the first step of the foreclosure process per Wisconsin State Statues. This certificate must be held by the County for two years before foreclosure action can be initiated. Payment of the entire amount delinquent for that tax year voids the certificate.

  • Notice of Real Estate Taxes Due (Reminder Notice): Statements sent quarterly by Adams County showing delinquent taxes due on specific parcels. Interest and penalty amounts are valid through the end of the month the statement is printed. If paid at a later date than stated on notice, there will be more interest and penalty accrued.