New Wisconsin Law Affects Douglas County Tax Forfeited Land Sales
The sale of tax forfeited properties has long served two purposes for local country government; not only did it get abandoned or blighted properties in the hands of new owners - generating property taxes, it also provided a source of revenue that directly affected the budget.
While nothing about those scenarios has changed, they might need to wait a little longer. At least that's the case for counties in Wisconsin.
Douglas County - long with the 71 other counties in the state - is charting their course to comply with a new state law that recently went into effect. That law - 2021 Wisconsin Act 216 - makes short-term gains associated with the sale of tax forfeited properties a more complex affair.
There's now a longer waiting period. In fact, the waiting period that the county needs to go through increased by almost five years. An article in the Superior Telegram [paywall] outlines the changes:
"Once notified by the county, former owners previously had 60 days to reply to the county in writing that they would like to share in the proceeds of a sale. Instead, the new law gives property owners up to five years to claim any remaining equity in their tax-forfeited property."
That new law also required counties like Douglas to take care of financial commitments to the parcel in question. Liens and the like need to be settled with the revenue generated from the tax-forfeited sale. At the same time, the county "can recover unpaid taxes, interest, penalties, and actual costs associated with the sale of [those] tax delinquent properties".
2021 Wisconsin Act 216 was signed into law by Governor Tony Evers on March 31, 2022, and went into effect as of April 1, 2022.