real estate taxes and assessments

2 years ago our home was assessed by the local assessor. A few months ago he came back, he counldn’t get in the house so he “just guessed”. He raised our assessment $10,000 claiming we fixed up the basement into a rec room. We told him nothing had changed since last time. The rec room is an exposed basement with drywall and paint, no ceiling or flooring. We went to the town board to rebut this but were told to bad your lucky it didn’t go up more. No one else in the neighborhood has had their taxes raised and I doubt any home values have gone up recently. Is there anything we can do?

Asked on May 28, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I can't imagine that there is no way to challenge this, although I'm not a Wisconsin lawyer, and the procedure is different from one state to the next.  You need to speak to a real estate lawyer in your area, who can review all the facts;  the old and new tax bills, and anything you got in writing about the new assessment, are things he or she will need to give you sound advice.  One place to look for an attorney is our website,

Often, there is a fairly short deadline to file whatever papers are necessary to fight this, so don't put off finding your lawyer.  You will probably have to pay the higher taxes until the case is resolved.

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