Understanding Property Taxes

Wisconsin Taxpayer's Alliance on Property Taxes

The Wisconsin Taxpayer’s Alliance, a private, non-partisan, independent organization analyzes state and local government revenues and expenses.  The following articles provide the reader with an overview of property taxes and how both municipal and school levies are applied.  Click for more information on The Taxpayers Alliance.

Article 1 – Two keys to property tax understanding

Article 2 – Understanding property tax surprises


School Levy Tax Credit

Courtesy of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, 2012

"Part of the state’s commitment to fund education comes in the form of the school levy tax credit and the first dollar credit. What makes this aspect of funding confusing is that, while the state considers these dollars a part of its commitment to education, these credits are not paid directly to schools. Instead they function to offset individual school property tax bills. In effect, through these credits, the state “buys down” a portion of each taxpayer’s property tax bill. In November, when a school district sets it property tax levy, it sets a gross levy amount.  In December, when property tax bills are issued, the bills show a net levy amount.  The difference is paid by the state through these credits. The amounts allotted through these credits are based on formulas that generally provide more funds to municipalities that have higher property taxes for schools."

The following table illustrates the Levy Credit, specifically to Clinton Community School District. 12/02/2016

  Gross Levy Levy Rate Levy Credit Net Levy Credit Difference
2015-16 $5,158,746.00 $12.24 $833,718.00 $10.27 $1.97
2016-17 $5,243,843.00 $12.24 $834,513.00 $10.29 $1.95


The following table illustrates the effect of the levy credit. In essance, in October 2016 the Board of Education authorized a school levy of $5,243,843.00 and certfiied a mil rate of $12.24.  December tax bills revealed a mil rate of $10.29 with the applied levy credit.  As referenced above, the State "bought down" the $12.24 mil rate to $10.29.

  Home Value Levy Rate Taxes Net Levy Rate Net Taxes Difference
2016-17 $100,000.00 $12.24 $1,224.00 $10.29 $1,029 $195.00


  • Clinton Community School District
  • 112 Milwaukee Road, P.O. Box 566, Clinton, WI 53525
  • Phone: 608-676-5482 | Fax: 608-676-4444