Despite efforts to lower taxes over the last few years, anyone buying a home in Wisconsin should be aware that it has one of the highest property tax rates in the United States.

Average Property Taxes

The U.S. Bureau of Census provides much of the accurate statistical data for actual property taxes paid in the aggregate. However, as these figures lag two to three years in their publication, many people look to more current measurements for an idea of where property tax rates currently stand. WalletHub’s annual property tax study, SmartAsset and the Tax Foundation all provide data sets representing property taxes by state. The Tax Foundation uses the Census Bureau’s figures but develops its metrics differently than the bureau does. SmartAsset uses up-to-date tax rates as posted by local and state governments, combined with data on the median home values, to give an assessment of the tax environment in each state. WalletHub uses U.S. Census Bureau data and compares median payments by the median home price in each state.

Wisconsin, according to WalletHub’s method, is listed with an effective tax rate of 1.97%, with a median home value of $165,900 and the median tax payment as $3,266. SmartAsset lists the assessed residential home value property taxes at 1.969% and 1.94% across all property of the state. The Tax Foundation, through its metric, lists the effective owner-occupied median home tax rate at 1.96%. Based on all three figures, the median effective property tax rate is between 1.96 to 1.97% of the assessed home value.

Those who wish to avoid one of the most expensive counties in the country for property tax may want to avoid moving to the county of Menominee, which is the least populous county in the state. This proves that high taxes do not always mean high services; Menominee has a 3.18% tax rate. Other counties over 2% include Milwaukee, Crawford, Green, Iowa, Kenosha, La Crosse, Lafayette, Racine, Rock and Winnebago. There are a number of counties over 1.90% as well. The least expensive county is Vilas, with a tax rate of just 1.03%.

How Wisconsin Compares to the National Average

The national average property tax rate of 1.211% is almost 63% lower than the average effective tax rate paid in Wisconsin, and as much as 163% lower than the top property tax rate in Menominee County. By 2018, data available should show these property tax rates falling in comparison, if legislation employed to lower property tax rates in Wisconsin is not repealed. The legislation was put in place to limit the maximum allowable increases in property taxes for residential property in Wisconsin.

How Wisconsin's Tax Rates Compare to Neighboring States

According to the Tax Foundation, based on U.S Census Bureau data, three out of four surrounding states have lower taxes than Wisconsin. Only Illinois has a higher average effective property tax rate at 2.32%, while Minnesota has the lowest of neighboring states, at 1.19%. Iowa and Michigan are in the middle, at 1.49 and 1.78%, respectively. Only Minnesota is lower than the national average in regard to states that are neighbors of Wisconsin.

For those who live in Wisconsin, there may be some reprieve coming from enacted legislation to start decreasing residential property taxes. However, having the fifth-most expensive property taxes in the country may still be enough to encourage people to move away from Wisconsin or avoid living in the state.

Alabama Property Tax Guide

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