Revaluation FAQs

As directed by the City Council, the City of Sun Prairie Assessor’s office conducts revaluations on a 2 year cycle updating assessments to market value in odd numbered years. To initiate a revaluation is to completely redo the assessment roll to update property values to market. There may be several reasons for this, including:

  • Current assessment was not made in substantial compliance with the law 
  • Inequities may exist within property classes 
  • Inequities may exist between property classes 
  • Governing body may want updated records to show the physical characteristics of all its taxable real and personal property
  • Governing body may want an original inventory of all its taxable property

A complete revaluation ensures that all property owners receive uniform and fair assessments, and are paying their fair share of property taxes. For more information, visit the Wisconsin Department of Revenue’s 2020 Guide for Property Owners.

My assessment changed how will that affect my taxes?

An increase in your assessment does not necessarily mean an increase in your property taxes. Additionally, a decrease in your assessment does not necessarily mean a decrease in your property taxes. Your property tax rate will not be last year’s property tax rate multiplied by this year’s assessed value.

Though the assessed value of your property affects your share of taxes, the actual amount you pay is determined by the budget needs, or levy of the schools, city, county, technical college and state reforestation. All of these taxing bodies decide their budget needs based on services to be provided to the community. If the total levy remains the same, only those properties that are not presently paying their fair share of the tax burden will pay more taxes after a revaluation. Properties presently paying more than their fair share will pay less. 

To illustrate how the levy affects your assessment we’ll look at Badgertown; a community of two. Each resident owns a house valued at $100,000. Badgertown’s tax levy is $2,000; the amount needed to cover its expenses. Since each resident owns 50% of the total property, they each pay 50% of the levy giving them each a tax bill of $1,000.

If property values in Badgertown go up 10%, then each property is assessed at $110,000. The amount they pay in taxes, however, remains the same. Each resident still owns 50% of the total property in Badgertown and must pay 50% of the $2,000 tax levy or $1,000. And what if values start dropping? Residents’ property might drop to $80,000 each but because they each still own 50% of the property, and Badgertown still needs to collect $2,000, they will continue to see a $1,000 property tax bill.

What about the tax rate?

Another area that property owners question is the tax rate. The tax rate is the rate necessary to raise sufficient money from the property tax to meet the levy. The tax rate is determined by dividing the total assessment of a district into the levy. The rate is often expressed in terms of dollars per thousand (also known as the mill rate). If the assessed values established by a revaluation are greater than they were before and the tax levy is the same, then the tax rate will be less. For example, if the tax levy remains unchanged and the total assessed value of the taxation district is doubled, the tax rate will be cut in half.

Until the budget needs for all the taxing bodies are determined, the effect on your taxes cannot immediately be established. Please call 608-825-1186 for more information.

Why did my assessment change when I haven’t done anything to my home?

General economic conditions, such as interest rates, inflation, supply and demand, and changes in tax laws, will influence the market value of real estate. As property values change in the market place, those changes must be reflected on the Assessment Roll on an annual basis. Consequently, assessed values can go up or down even if you have made no changes to your property. Please call 608-825-1186 for more information.

I received an Assessment Change Notice, who do I talk to about it?

You can contact the Assessor’s Office at 608-825-1186. If your question cannot immediately be answered you will be directed to the appraiser for your area. If you have recently received an Assessment Change Notice, we encourage you to contact the Assessor’s Office at 608-825-1186 to make an appointment to meet with the appraiser during Open Book.

What is Open Book?

Open Book is the period of time just after the Assessor has completed the annual Assessment Roll and Assessment Change Notices have been mailed. In Sun Prairie it is usually the first 2 weeks after the Assessment Change Notices have been mailed.

During this time the Assessment Roll is open to the whole community for review. Time is reserved for property owners to make appointments with the Assessing staff to review property records and discuss valuation concerns. The Assessor’s staff will have a limited number of evening appointments available.

If you wish to object to your assessment we encourage you to first meet with a member of the Assessor’s staff who can answer your questions.

NOTE: If you have questions concerning how the school referendum will affect your taxes we are unable to provide this information at this time.  We will not receive the School District Certified Tax levy until October. Please see the school district website for more information.