Walmart sues Burlington in an attempt to lower its property tax bill by using the ‘dark store’ loophole | Local News
BURLINGTON – Walmart is fighting to cut the assessed value of its Burlington store by nearly half in the latest “dark store” taxation incident, an issue that has divided Madison state lawmakers.
Walmart has filed a lawsuit against the city of Burlington, accusing the city of excessive taxation, in a civil action to reduce the store’s valuation from $ 8.6 million to $ 4.5 million.
Wisconsin state tax law allows big box retail stores to pay taxes on active properties at the same rate they pay on vacant properties, or “dark stores.”
If Walmart is successful and its property tax bill goes down, Burlington could lose $ 80,000 a year in tax revenue that should either be cut from municipal services or offset by homeowners and others paying higher taxes.
No trial date has been set in the civil lawsuit, which is pending before Racine County Circuit Judge Eugene Gasiorkiewicz.
Walmart filed the lawsuit in December, but court records show the parties agreed to postpone the action in court until the city has prepared Walmart’s tax bill for 2021.
Burlington City Manager Carina Walters declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.
Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson declined to comment except to release a prepared statement calling Walmart “a responsible corporate citizen wherever we operate.” He added, “Like any homeowner, we want equality and consistency in our property tax assessments.”