Personal Property Exemptions

Personal Property Exempt from Tax by Statute

Computers, software and computer peripherals are exempt from property tax by statute although their acquisition cost must be reported to us each year on the state prescribed form. DOR Computer Exemption Guidelines (PDF)

This exemption persists from year to year UNLESS the property owner fails to timely file a completed Statement of Personal Property on or before March 1 of each year.

Accurate reporting of these costs is critical to the tax base, because the City is reimbursed by the State for the revenue that was lost when this type of property was first exempt from taxation. Under general property tax law all property as defined above is taxable unless expressly exempted by the legislature under statute.

Common Exemptions

Some of the more common types of property that are exempt by law are the following:

  • Property used for abatement of air and water pollution
  • Household furniture, apparel and motor vehicles.
  • Manufacturing machinery specific processing equipment approved by the Department of Revenue
  • Livestock, inventories, and merchant's stocks
  • Computers and electronic peripheral equipment

Special Assessments

Special assessments for local purposes such as sewers, water, streets, etc., are not described in this booklet since they are not "general taxes."

The assessed value is the value placed on each individual's taxable personal property account by the local assessor. State law provides that all…assessments must be based upon the market value of property as of January 1.


To determine what percentage of the original acquisition cost is subject to the Business Personal Property tax each year, property used for business purposes is depreciated every year it is in use until it reaches a base value or is disposed of.

The amount of depreciation applied each year is not the same as the "Book Value" depreciation schedules used by the IRS in your federal income tax calculations, but is instead based on depreciation tables published by the Department of Revenue.

Statement of Personal Property

Failure to timely file a Statement of Personal Property annually will result in a Doomage assessment being applied, where the Assessor estimates the value of your property using the best information available. If this occurs, you lose any right you may have to appeal that assessment until the next year, under Section 70.35(4) WI Statutes. WI Statue 70.35(4)

If you believe your organization is exempt from the personal property tax under WI Statute 70.11 you must file an application for exemption prior to March 1st. To request an exemption application please call 414-302-8230.

To qualify for the manufacturer's exemption (not automatically exempt) you must meet the statutory requirements of WI Statute 70.995 Please contact the WI Department of Revenue 414-227-4000.