Foster Swift Agricultural Law Update
March Boards of Review are just around the corner. Some property owners are required to meet with the Board of Review to pursue an adjustment of their property’s value. The Board’s meeting times should be stated on the annual property tax assessment notice that owners receive in February. Property owners should contact the Assessor’s office early to confirm Board of Review meeting dates and to schedule a time. The Board of Review will likely have other forms that need to be completed as part of the appeal process. Property owners should also keep in mind that they have limited time to appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal if they are unsatisfied with the Board of Review’s decision. Here are five tips to make an effective presentation to the Board:
- Carefully review the property’s assessment record card. The Board of Review is the ideal time to address errors in the property record card. Obtain a copy from the Assessor’s office in advance of your meeting time. Some of the features you should confirm include: the measurement and value of the land; measurements of the building(s); number, measurement and use of rooms; and other various property features detailed in the record.
- State specific reason(s) for your appeal. Coming to the Board of Review and just arguing "the value is just too high" or a general "everybody’s property values have fallen" is not enough. Are there errors in the property record card? Are there comparable sales in your area that should be considered? An appraisal with a valuation date of the applicable tax day is the best evidence for pursuing a decrease in your assessment.
- Support your argument with documentation. Once you have a specific reason for a decrease, you must present the Board with proof. In the case of a residential home, this may be a combination of an appraisal, pictures of the home, list of comparable sales, surveys of the property or scale drawings of the home’s measurements (depending on your argument). Be sure to bring copies of the documents you submit to the Board for consideration.
- Propose a specific property value. If the Board finds that the property is over assessed, it is charged with setting your property at a specific value. The Board may not agree with your proposed value, but they may consider it when setting the property’s value.
- Provide a written summary. When presenting to the Board of Review, always keep in mind that they may be hearing hundreds of cases over the course of a few days. Providing an organized and clear written summary of your assertions with attached copies of your proofs will make your case better understood and more persuasive when you may be dealing with a fatigued Board. This summary may take the form of a memo or formal letter to the Board of Review.