Is property which is classified
on January 1 as tax exempt, but which is subsequently sold to a taxable
entity later in that year, subject to taxation in the year in which the
transfer took place?
No. Property which is classified on
January 1 as tax exempt, but which is subsequently sold to a taxable
entity later in the year may not be assessed for property tax purposes
for that calendar year. This is true even though the new owner may hold
title to the property for the greater part of the year. Under Wis. Stat.
sec. 70.10, the assessor must assess all real property as of the close
of January 1. A transfer after that date does not affect the taxable
status of that property for the remainder of the year. There is no
mechanism under state law to prorate property taxes in the year in which
the tax status of the property is altered (i.e., from exempt status to
nonexempt status, or vice versa.) Consequently, if property is
determined to be exempt from property taxes on January 1, it remains
exempt from real estate taxes for the remainder of the year, regardless
of whether the property has been sold to a taxable entity.