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Small Campgrounds in Wisconsin Win Big in Tax Reform Battle

A Wisconsin park owner challenged the new interpretation of the Personal Property Tax Exemption Law, which placed a significant financial burden on campground businesses. The outcome of this challenge was a win. A resolution under Act 12 was passed in response to their advocacy, allowing municipalities to receive reimbursement from the State of Wisconsin for tax revenues lost due to the new personal property exemption.

The personal property exemption law, enacted by state legislators to provide tax relief, took effect on January 1. However, some municipalities, concerned about potential revenue losses, shifted the tax assessment burden onto landowners, including recreational campground owners. As a result, campground owners became liable for collecting and paying personal property taxes on items such as decks, sheds, patios, and seasonal campers’ personal property, leading to unexpectedly high financial strains on these businesses.

Jim Button, owner Of Evergreen Campsites and Resort, and his family l Image by OHI

Jim Button, owner of Evergreen Campsites and Resort and vice chair of the OHI board of directors, addressed this issue. Button, faced with a substantial increase in property assessment due to the new law, took action. During a board review meeting in Springwater on June 3, Button and his team challenged the interpretation of the law that targeted campground owners. They argued that it was unjust for prior personal property assessments to be shifted to campground owners who did not own the property being taxed.

This legislative change alleviates the financial burden on small campground owners, setting a precedent for similar cases across the state. Button highlighted the broader implications of this victory, noting that it could potentially save his business $2.7 million in assessed tax value and $62,000 for his seasonal campers, encouraging them to reinvest in the local community.

“In the end, it’s a win for the camper, it’s a win for the small business campground owner, and it’s a win for the town overall,” Button said.

With strong backing from his council team, lobbyist Bob Welch, and OHI, Button is committed to addressing this issue, not only for his benefit but also for the small and medium-sized recreational campgrounds in Wisconsin.

In Springwater alone, six rural recreational parks face combined tax challenges of $161,000 for 2023. Button emphasized that recreational parks should not be held responsible for billing and collecting taxes on property they do not own, arguing that such an imposition is an overreach, fundamentally unfair, and potentially unlawful.

Button is confident in his team’s professionalism and capability to achieve this goal. He aims to ensure fair treatment and financial relief for all small businesses operating recreational parks in rural Wisconsin.

To learn more about OHI, visit ohi.org.

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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Small Campgrounds in Wisconsin Win Big in Tax Reform Battle! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/small-campgrounds-in-wisconsin-win-big-in-tax-reform-battle/