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In a recent decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court related to property taxes for large stores, the Court stated “[w]e do not read the Manual to strictly prohibit the use of vacant properties as comparable to occupied properties. The language of ‘should avoid’ is not mandatory.”

The long-awaited decision in Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC v. City of Delavan, 2023 WI 8, will address whether big box stores can be taxed by comparing the value of property to the value of vacant buildings. Despite what the League of Wisconsin Municipalities or other local municipalities state, this decision is not a panacea that is going to solve all their problems. In fact, it will likely create new ones for them as the law develops. 

While there were many distinct facts that led to the Court affirming the trial court’s decision, there were moments of nuance that suggest it’s not simply smooth sailing for municipalities in the future.  

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