One More Large Rhinelander Store Asking For Tax Change

Jul 11, 2017

Jerry Deschane, League of Wisconsin Municipalities
Credit LWM

Add Walmart to the Rhinelander large retailers appealing their taxes.

Large retailers are using a legal tax loophole to challenge their property tax assessments.

The "Dark Store" loophole proponents say their store may have cost $10 million to build and maybe on a thriving retail corner, but they argue that because their building is so unique, the only thing you can use as a comparable for tax purposes is an abandoned retail store, hence 'dark store' loophole.

Menards notified the city of Rhinelander in January they were appealing their property tax amount, and the city was notified Walmart is also appealing their assessment using the same tax loophole.

he Executive Director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Jerry Deschane says this loophole has gotten the attention of local governments in Wisconsin...

"....the loophole as it is right now, the property tax burden that big box stores are bearing is gradually going to shift to home owners, small business people, mom and pop store owners. It's inevitable if this loophole isn't plugged...."

Deschane says the call from local government officials has been strong enough to get the legislature's attention....

"....late in the month of June the Assembly Ways and Means committee held a hearing on the bill and we were very pleased. The room was absolutely packed, it was standing room only of local government officials, elected and appointed, pointing out problems with the bill. We're confident that sometime in July or August the committee will advance the bill to the full floor of the Assembly....."

A Board of Review hearing is set for Friday afternoon at Rhinelander City Hall to hear the store appeals.