Michigan Tax Tribunal Offers Tips on Understanding Assessment Appeal Process

Notices of assessment have recently been mailed to taxpayers from local governments and the Michigan Tax Tribunal has been receiving many calls requesting assistance to appeal those assessments. In response to these calls, the Tribunal offers these tips for taxpayers to help them understand the process to appeal a property's assessed value (AV) and taxable value (TV).

''It's important to stress that the first step in the process is to contact the local assessor who sets the AV and TV. If you feel there is an error, you can then make an appointment with the Board of Review in your local government where the property is located,'' said Patty Halm, chair of the Tax Tribunal which is an administrative court that hears appeals for all Michigan taxes. ''The only exception is for commercial or industrial property which can be appealed directly to the Tribunal.''

If you believe the AV is more than half the value of your property true cash or fair market value, or that your TV was not properly calculated, you must first protest those values at the March Board of Review. The local Boards of Review begin hearing appeals at public meetings the second Monday of March so it's important to contact your local government as soon as possible. The Michigan Department of Treasury offers an online form for protests to your local Board of Review at:

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/l4035f_2658_7.pdf

A property owner will have to provide the board with evidence showing the assessment placed upon the property is incorrect. It's important to note the board does not have control over millage rates or property taxes.

If you are dissatisfied with your local board's decision, you can appeal to the Tribunal by sending a petition or letter to the Michigan Tax Tribunal, P.O. Box 30232, Lansing, MI 48909. Written appeals (i.e., petitions or letters) must be filed by May 31, 2010 for appeals relating to the assessment of commercial, industrial or developmental real property or commercial, industrial or utility personal property, or by July 31, 2010 for all other classifications of property (i.e., residential, agricultural, etc.). Written appeals (i.e., petitions and letters) cannot be filed via fax. If you have any questions, you can also reach the Tribunal via phone at (517) 373-3003.

The Tax Tribunal website www.michigan.gov/taxtribalso offers helpful features for taxpayers including a brief Webcast from the Michigan Department of Treasury explaining why the taxable value of property may increase even as its assessed value declines. There is also a link to how to read your assessment notice at: http:// michigan. gov/documents/0310_ASSESS_tax_document_124137_7.pdf

According to the Michigan Taxpayer's Guide, it is helpful to realize when looking at property tax changes in Michigan that, with the exception of the state education tax, the property tax is really a general term for all the property taxes imposed by townships, school districts, counties, cities or villages, and other local units of government, which are all local in nature. Money raised through property taxes goes toward financing local services, such as police and fire protection; public education; and the operation of city, village, township, and county governments. All property taxes collected by local units of government, other than the state education tax which is sent to the School Aid Fund for distribution, are kept locally, and no part of that revenue is sent to or used by the state.

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Published: Thu, Mar 11, 2010