Superior Settles With Walmart Over Property Tax Dispute; Reduces Assessment By $750,000
A dispute between the City of Superior and Walmart has been settled. Superior has agreed to lower its property tax assessments for 2017, 2018, and 2019 by about $750,000 according to news sources. The settlement terms were approved by the Superior City Council during a closed door session on April 21.
The local case was one of many filed by Walmart throughout Wisconsin - in an effort to push the Dark Store Theory:
The dark store theory is a tax avoidance strategy used by national big-box retail chains to argue their thriving businesses must be assessed for tax purposes as though they were a vacant property. The Wisconsin Legislature has declined to close the tax loophole since legislation was first introduced in 2017.
As far as the settlement between Superior and Walmart goes, local government officials say that the move isn't meant to imply their acceptance of the Dark Store Theory. Superior Mayor Jim Paine told the Superior Telegram "Our settlement offer does not concede the dark store theory."
Under terms of the settlement, the City of Superior agrees to reduce the value of the property for Arkansas-based Walmart Real Estate Business Trust - the company that owns and pays the property tax. In total, the assessments for the three years in question (2017, 2018, and 2019) will be reduced by around $750,000. In terms of actual dollars lost, that means that the city will refund about $6,000 for each of the three years covered in the lawsuit - or $18,000.