Partial Repeal of Wisconsin’s Personal Property Tax

Last year, Governor Walker signed into law the most significant reduction in Wisconsin’s personal property tax in nearly forty years. (2017 Wisconsin Act 59)

Beginning with property tax assessments as of January 1, 2018, machinery, tools and patterns, not including such items used in manufacturing, are exempt from taxation – Schedule C on the Statement of Personal Property. Machinery is defined as a structure or assemblage of parts that transmits force, motion, or energy from one part to another in a predetermined way by electrical, mechanical, or chemical means.

In 2017, the statewide value of personal property categorized as non-manufacturing machinery, tools and patterns was $3.35 billion. The non-partisan Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates this exemption will reduce statewide personal property taxes by approximately $75 million annually. To prevent a shift in the property tax burden to other classes of property, the State of Wisconsin is required to reimburse local municipalities for the loss of property tax revenue resulting from this personal property tax exemption.