Taxation: Property Tax Assessments - Income Approach - Leased Property - Above-market Rents, Supreme Court Digest, by Professors Daniel D. Blinka and Thomas J. Hammer, Wisconsin Lawyer, September 2008
Walgreens chain sues city of Eau Claire, by Christena T. O'Brien, Eau Claire Leader-Telegram staff
Assessing a tax case: The state Supreme Court’s ruling this week in favor of Walgreens in a major tax case could mean higher taxes for other taxpayers. Nonetheless, the court got this one right. Editorial, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 12, 2008
Supreme Court sides with Walgreens in tax lawsuit, by Dean Mosiman, Wisconsin State Journal
Walgreens was made to part with too much green for property taxes, by Mark Cohen at Minnesota Lawyer Blog
State high court sides with Walgreens: Property tax case could have wide impact, by Marie Rohde, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 9, 2008
The Wisconsin Supreme Court today issued its decision in this case (2006AP1859) reversing the Court of Appeals, 2007 WI App 153, 303 Wis. 2d 620, 735 N.W.2d 543. February 26, 2008 argument audio. See earlier post on grant of review.
Opinion by Justice Butler, with Justices Bradley, Crooks, Prosser, Roggensack, and Ziegler
¶3 ...As to the issue regarding the proper method of property tax assessment, we reaffirm the holding of Flood v. Bd. of Review, 153 Wis. 2d 428, 431, 451 N.W.2d 422 (1990), that Wis. Stat. § 70.32(1) "proscribes assessing real property in excess of market value." This holding is consistent with the nationally recognized principle that "[a] lease never increases the market value of real property rights to the fee simple estate." Appraisal Institute, The Appraisal of Real Estate 473 (12th ed. 2001). We also affirm that § 70.32(1) requires adherence to the Wisconsin Property Assessment Manual [citation omitted] (the Property Assessment Manual) absent conflicting law. The Manual is consistent with both statutory and case law in this state requiring an income approach assessment of a leased retail property's fair market value of the fee simple interest to be based on market lease rates, not actual contract rates, as long as encumbrances to the property do not cause its leased fee value to fall below a market rate value. ...
Concurrence by Chief Justice Abrahamson
¶98 The court is not bound by the Manual. The "common law which accurately reflects the state of the law, and the language of § 70.32(1), STATS., not the [Manual], control." [citation omitted]
¶99 I am not persuaded that the case law contradicts the Manual. [citation omitted] I therefore join in the mandate.