January 5, 2018
To: Statutory Assessors, Public Assessors
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) Manufacturing & Utility Bureau recently notified you that towers not owned by a "telephone company" providing "telecommunications services" will now be locally accessed beginning in 2018 (definitions found in
sec. 76.80, Wis. Stats.). As explained in our previous email, tower companies do not fit the Wisconsin Statute's definition of a "telephone company."
A list of tower companies with towers previously assessed by DOR is located on our website. We also updated the 2017 state assessed telephone company's notification list to reflect this change.
Note: We will post the 2018 state assessed telephone company notification list by February 15, per state law (sec. 70.995(6), Wis. Stats.).
What is a tower company?
DOR defines a "tower company" as a company that owns towers or other structures on which communications equipment is attached. The tower structure itself does not transmit voice, video or data, and is solely a structure where transmission devices are attached. The "tower company" also does not operate the attached transmission equipment.
Therefore, a "tower company" does not provide a "telecommunications service" as provided in the above statute reference.
Who assesses a tower company?
Local assessors – starting on January 1, 2018, the assessor in the taxing jurisdiction where the property is located, will assess the towers and equipment of a "tower company." Assessors must use the guidelines and methods provided in the Wisconsin Property Assessment Manual (WPAM).
DOR – will continue to assess towers and/or other structures and personal property owned by state-assessed telephone companies meeting the definition of a "telephone company."
If you have questions, contact us at