Property Taxes & Special Assessments

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Frequently Asked Questions

Payment is for the 2016 tax year only. Delinquent real estate taxes must be paid to the Dane County Treasurer's Office, PO Box 1299, Madison, WI 53701 or online at their Real Estate Tax Payment site.

Q: When will I get credited for paying my taxes?
A: You will be credited for paying your taxes online the moment you click the Pay button after going through our online payment process. Even though it might take 5 business days for your financial institution to process your transaction and send us your payment details, you will get credit for paying your taxes on the date and time that you click Pay on the KUBRA (our payment processing partner) payment site. (Think of it like paying with an old-fashioned check: the payment is considered made when you hand over the check, but it may take a few days before you see the funds leave your account.) To verify this, please print the receipt page or make sure your email address is entered correctly where requested so that you receive a payment confirmation email. Please keep in mind that it will take up to 5 business days to reflect your payment on the "Tax Details" page of the City of Madison's property look up site.

Q: Can I use my credit card to pay my property taxes?
A: Yes. There is a convenience fee on all property tax credit card transactions. The convenience fee is 2.45% of the amount of the property tax payment. The City of Madison is required to collect and remit 100% of the property tax billed amounts to the taxing jurisdictions. Therefore, the fee for using this type of payment method is borne by the user.

Q: I'm paying by e-check. How long before I see the amount debited from my bank account?
A: In banking, e-checks are referred to as "ACHs". This is a bank-to-bank process that typically takes two to three business days to complete. Therefore, don't expect to see your payment withdrawn from your account immediately after you make the payment. However, if after three business days, you still haven't seen your account debited, please call the Treasurer's office (608) 266-4771. There have been rare instances where taxpayers have entered incorrect banking information and inadvertently debited someone else's account. When this happens, we need to try to correct the mistake as soon as possible.

Q: What notifications will I receive when I pay online?
A:
  • Enrolled Payments: An immediate notification from KUBRA (our payment processing partner) acknowledging your payment. This notification will reference the day you can expect your account to be debited. If your payment is returned by your bank, you will receive a notice from KUBRA.
  • One-Time Payments: An immediate notification from KUBRA (our payment processing partner) acknowledging your payment. This notification will reference the day you can expect your account to be debited. Once your tax record(s) are updated (approximately 2 to 4 business days after you submitted your payment), you will receive a confirmation email from the city. If your payment is returned by your bank, you will receive a notice from the City of Madison.

Q: Where can I find my parcel number?
A: Your parcel number is located at the top of your tax bill or on your assessment notice. You can also look-up your parcel number on the Assessor's Property Lookup. Your parcel number is also available by contacting the Treasurer's Office at (608) 266-4771 (between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.) Monday through Friday.

NOTE: Enter only the portion of your parcel number after the 251. The initial 251 of your parcel number is our municipality code and will be entered automatically for you. Do not include dashes in the parcel number.

Q: How do I get a receipt?
A: For online payments, the confirmation page will be your receipt. You will also receive an e-mail message confirming payment if you supply your correct email address in the box indicating that you want an email confirmation. For your convenience, you can print a receipt directly from the "Tax Details" tab for your property on the Assessor's Property Lookup. You can also request a paid receipt by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope, and the top portion of your property tax bill or your parcel number to the City Treasurer's Office, PO Box 2999, Madison, WI 53701. We will send a paid receipt to you.

Q: How do I change my mailing address?
A: Contact the City Assessor's Office at (608) 266-4531 or email your change to assessor@cityofmadison.com

Q: How can I check to see if my mortgage company has paid my property taxes?
A: Property tax payments are posted each business day after 7:45 p.m on the "Tax Details" page of the City's Property Lookup site. Search for your property and then choose the "Tax Details" tab. Payment information is towards the bottom of the page.

Q: Can I pay taxes for non-City of Madison property?
A: No, the City only accepts City of Madison property tax payments.

Do you have a question that was not answered? Please call the City Treasurer's Office at (608) 266-4771.

Drainage District

A small number of properties (tax parcels) in the City of Madison are in drainage districts. As of 2008 if a parcel is within a drainage district, the city is required to indicate that on the tax bill. If your property is within a drainage district (this applies to less than 5% of the parcels in Madison), you will see a reference to that in the upper right portion of the tax bill. In addition to the name of the district, you will see a dollar sign ($) and a zero. In theory, property within a drainage district could be assessed for work done in that district. If that were the case, the dollar amount of the assessment would be listed. However, for 2016 there were no assessments (therefore, the "$0"). Drainage district work is usually done in rural areas. It is not anticipated that any parcels within the city of Madison will have a drainage assessment in the foreseeable future.

Do you have a question that was not answered? Please call the City Treasurer's Office at (608) 266-4771.

First Dollar Credit

The First Dollar Credit was new with tax year 2008. Unlike the lottery credit, property owners who are eligible will receive the credit on their bill automatically without any forms to sign or applications to submit. To be eligible, the property (otherwise known as the "parcel") must have an improvement. If you have an amount listed in the box labeled "Ass'd Value Improvements" in the upper left part of your tax bill, you qualify for the credit. The amount of the credit will be the same for all parcels within the same school district as long as the value of the improvements meets a small threshold amount. The credit is divided among the four installments.

Do you have a question that was not answered? Please call the City Treasurer's Office at (608) 266-4771.

Lottery & Gaming Credit

Property owners can receive a lottery and gaming credit on their primary residence. The credit must be applied for. To be eligible to receive the credit you must complete an application form (see Wisconsin Dept of Revenue). During the months from December through July, return the completed application to the city treasurer. All other times the application should be returned to the Dane County Treasurer. Please remember two restrictions:

  1. The property must have been your primary residence on January 1st, 2016
  2. You may only claim the lottery credit on one property—your primary residence.

The lottery credit is based on the school district in which you live and is applied to the amount of first installment due.

PLEASE NOTE: New applications received during December and January can be credited immediately. Applications received after January 31 will be eligible for the 2017 bill. Credit for 2016 on applications received after January 31 must be received through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Do you have a question that was not answered? Please call the City Treasurer's Office at (608) 266-4771.

Property Tax Payment Convenience Fees

  • CREDIT CARDS: There is a convenience fee on all property tax credit card transactions. The convenience fee is 2.45% of the amount of the property tax payment. The City of Madison is required to collect and remit 100% of the property tax billed amounts to the taxing jurisdictions. Therefore, the fee for using this type of payment method is borne by the user. For a no fee method of payment, see eCheck described below.
  • DEBIT CARDS: Payments made with debit cards have a convenience fee of $3.95. Since use of a debit card requires that funds are available in your bank account, consider eCheck described below.
  • CHECKING/SAVINGS ACCOUNT (eCHECK): There is NO FEE for this method. It requires you to enter your checking or savings account information. The amount you designate is then deducted from your bank account. Make sure you indicate whether you want the payment to be deducted from a checking account or a savings account.
Do you have a question that was not answered? Please call the City Treasurer's Office at (608) 266-4771.

Real Estate Values

Every year properties in the city change in value. During years when the average property goes up in value, some properties, for various reasons, may fall in value. While the press may talk about changes in the average tax bill, if you property dropped in value RELATIVE TO THE AVERAGE CHANGE IN VALUE, your taxes will go up less or decrease. Similarly, if your property WENT UP IN VALUE MORE THAN THE AVERAGE CHANGE, your taxes will increase more than the average property owner's taxes. Think of all the properties in the City of Madison as represented as a pie. Your property is one slice of that pie. If the total value for all properties went up and your property went up the same as the average increase, your slice of that pie would be the same size. If your property didn't go up as much, your slice got smaller; if your property went up more, your slice got bigger.

The important thing to remember is that the bills mailed in December are based on assessments as of last January 1st.

If a property has dropped in value during the year 2016, it should be reflected on the assessment made January, 2017. Assessments made in January, 2016, in turn, will be reflected on the tax bill you receive in December, 2016.

Please remember that the city mails assessment notices in April. If you disagree with your assessment, you have a limited period of time to appeal. By the time tax bills are issued, the appeals period for assessments is long past. (If you receive no assessment notice in April, the assessor is indicating that your assessment has not changed from the previous year.)

Do you have a question that was not answered? Please call the City Treasurer's Office at (608) 266-4771.