By Attorneys Jordan Lamb and Wes Webendorfer, DeWitt LLP
The WVMA, along with numerous business and professional associations, has advocated for years to eliminate the personal property tax because it is unfair, restrains private sector growth and results in challenging and expensive compliance issues.
Last session, a large group of business and professional associations called the Coalition to Repeal Wisconsin’s Personal Property Tax formed to support legislation that would repeal Wisconsin’s tax on personal property in its entirety. The WVMA was a member of the Coalition. Unfortunately, the legislation did not receive final approval last session, so the authors, Senator Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville) and State Representative Dan Knodl (R-Germantown), will reintroduce this legislation again this session.
Under the reintroduced legislation, no items of personal property will be subject to tax beginning with the January 1, 2021, property tax assessments. The legislation also creates a payment schedule for the state to pay local governments an amount equal to the property taxes on items that are made exempt under the bill.
This legislative effort comes on the heels of a legislative success in 2017, which exempted significant segments of personal property from state taxation. In 2017, an exemption for “machinery” was enacted as part of the 2017-2019 Biennial Budget Act. That exemption is important and useful for veterinary clinics and affiliated businesses, but the WVMA and the Coalition are seeking to build on those advocacy efforts and work for a complete repeal.
Passage of this repeal would not only be a boon to Wisconsin businesses, but it would also allow Wisconsin to stay competitive with neighboring states. Michigan began phasing out the personal property tax in 2014. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation expects the repeal to create 15,000 jobs and increase business investment by $450 million.
The WVMA and the Coalition urge you to contact your lawmakers and ask them to completely repeal the personal property tax this session.