Wall Land Investment, LLC, one of multi-millionaire Madison developer Terrence Wall’s companies, has reclassified $2 million in prime Dane County commercial real estate into ‘agriculture’ property, which allows the company to eliminate $34,000 in local property taxes. Wall is already under criticism for using a Delaware post ‘office’ box to possibly avoid paying Wisconsin business tax.
In 2008 Wall owed $34,000 in property taxes on the $2 million properties. Reclassifying the 2+ acres of prime commercial development, located behind the Marriott Hotel and adjacent to the West Beltline near Middleton, reduced the value to just $600. One Wisconsin Now visited the site and the only sign of agriculture was a dozen pumpkins in various stages of decomposition strewn over the two acres of valuable real estate.
Between the Delaware “office” we reported on recently and this phony pumpkin patch, Wall is determined to avoid taxes on its assets. Why should we have to pay more so companies owned by a multi-millionaire like Terrence Wall can use creative tax laws to limit its obligations to taxpayers?
According to county tax records, Wall owns the properties at 8215, 8225 and 8235 Greenway Boulevard in the City of Middleton. As classified commercial (G2) property in 2008, the 8225 and 8235 properties had assessed values of $1,041,700 and $961,000 and taxes of $17,899.55 and $16,512.88.
In July of 2009, using the use-value property tax classification designed to assist farmers, the properties were reclassified as agricultural (G4) and the valuation for each was reduced to $300. Using the tax formula, Wall will likely now pay an estimated $10 in property taxes for the properties ‘ a savings of $34,000.
According to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, ‘The purpose of the [use-value] law is to slow urban sprawl and allow farmers to keep their land in agricultural production without burdensome taxation.’
The Wall-owned property next door at 8215 Greenway had a 2009 land assessment of $1.45 million and a total value of $16,295,900.
When the use-value exemption was created, it was to help struggling farmers whose work is the backbone of Wisconsin’s economy. It wasn’t so that multi-millionaires like Terrence Wall and his companies could avoid their tax obligations to the residents of already cash-strapped local communities.