Wisconsin Historical Society

General Information

How to Apply for a Human Burial Site Tax Exemption

For Properties with Burial Sites

Tax Exemptions for Human Burial Sites on Private Property | Wisconsin Historical Society

If you have a human burial site on your property, you may be eligible for a tax exemption for the land associated with the burial site. Below is information to help you get started.

Step 1: Make Sure Your Burial Site is Listed in the Wisconsin Burial Sites Catalog

If your site is already in the Wisconsin Burial Sites Catalog and you have a cataloging notification from the Wisconsin Historical Society, go to Step 2.

If you do not know whether your burial site has been cataloged, please contact the Wisconsin Historical Society at 1-608-264-6494 or amy.rosebrough@wisconsinhistory.org (due to privacy and confidentiality concerns, there are some questions we cannot answer over the phone or through email).

  • If the Wisconsin Historical Society does not have a record of a burial site on your property, you will be asked to fill out a Report a Burial or Archaeological Site form (PDF, 69 KB) and return the form to the Society.
  • If the Wisconsin Historical Society has a record of your burial site, Society staff will check the existing information in the Wisconsin Historic Preservation Database (WHPD) to see if the site can be cataloged.

In some cases, Society staff may need to visit your property to record important information about your burial site. They will not enter your property without your permission, and will work with you to arrange a convenient time to visit.

Step 2: Contact the Wisconsin Historical Society with Your Request for an Exemption

To obtain a tax exemption for your cataloged burial site you must have the land associated with the burial site removed from the property tax rolls. The Wisconsin Historical Society will help you with this process.

Send a letter or email asking for a burial sites property tax exemption to:

Amy Rosebrough
Burial Sites Preservation
Wisconsin Historical Society
Madison, WI 53706
608-264-6494
608-264-6504 (fax)
amy.rosebrough@wisconsinhistory.org

 

When your request is received, Society staff will prepare paperwork to send to your local Register of Deeds. The paperwork will include a description of the boundaries of the burial site.

Step 3: Submit Filing Fees for the Register of Deeds

When Society staff finish filling out the proper paperwork for your burial site, they will check to see how much it will cost to have the paperwork filed with your local Register of Deeds. Society staff will contact you ask you to send a check to cover the filing fees.

  • Society staff will tell you how much the filing fee will be. Most filing fees are $30 or less.
  • Make out the check to your local Register of Deeds.
  • Mail the check to Amy Norlin at the address in Step 2.

Society staff will attach the check to the appropriate paperwork, and will send the packet to your Register of Deeds.

After the Register of Deeds has attached the description of the burial site to your property records, it will return signed and stamped copies of the burial site description to the Wisconsin Historical Society. This process may take several weeks. Society staff will return the appropriate copies of the paperwork to you and will keep one copy for its records.

Step 4: Notify Your Tax Assessor

After you get your completed paperwork in the mail, you will need to notify the tax assessor that part of your property is eligible for a tax exemption.

  • Mail one copy of the paperwork to your local tax assessor's office along with a letter requesting that the burial site be removed from the property tax rolls.
  • Keep one copy of the paperwork for your own records.
  • Your property tax exemption will take effect during the next tax year.

Learn More

See more articles about Human Burials, Mounds and Cemeteries

Have Questions?

Call Amy Rosebrough at 608-264-6494 or email her below.