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2014 Property Tax Assessment

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Michael D. Homier, Laura J. Genovich & John R. Taylor II
Foster Swift Business & Corporate Law Report
February 25, 2014

Sometime in the next few weeks, you should receive a 2014 assessment notice for the real property you own. This assessment will establish your tax liability for the year. There may be an opportunity for you to reduce your tax liability depending on the increase in assessed value.

The passage of "Proposal A" by Michigan voters in 1994 created a cap on the annual increases in "taxable value" of real property. Unless there was a transfer in ownership or additions were made to the property during 2013, the taxable value of a parcel of real property will be increased for 2014 by 1.6 percent (the inflation factor for 2014). Further, the General Property Tax Act and the Michigan Constitution require the assessed value to be 50 percent of market value. We can help you if you believe that your property is unlawfully assessed or that the taxable value of your property has been unlawfully increased.

The property tax "calendar" runs along the following timeline:

  • Dec. 31, 2013 (“tax day”) is the date as of which the assessor determines ownership, status and value of assessable real and personal property.
  • An assessment notice is typically sent during February to the person whom the assessor considers to be the owner of the property. Assessors must give written notice of the 2014 "taxable" and assessed value to the owners of property not less than 10 days before the meeting of the board of review.
  • Boards of review typically meet in early March (city dates are set by city charter; occasionally there are additional requirements. For example, in Detroit a protest to an assessor’s board is necessary before the assessment can be protested to the board of review).

For 2014, appeals regarding the valuation of residential and agricultural real property (and agricultural personal property) require a protest to the local board of review in March 2014. If an appeal for these classifications of property is not made to the board of review, then the Michigan Tax Tribunal cannot assume jurisdiction over an appeal of the board of review decision or the assessor's determination of value.

However, for commercial, industrial or developmental real property, the property owner is not required to protest an assessment to the local board of review (although the property owner can file an appeal with the board of review at its option). Instead, an owner of commercial, industrial or developmental real property can simply file an appeal directly with the Michigan Tax Tribunal. The final date for filing appeals with the Michigan Tax Tribunal for commercial, industrial or developmental real property is June 2, 2014 (usually May 31 but this year it falls on a Saturday), and the final date for filing appeals for residential and agricultural real property or agricultural personal property is July 31, 2014.

Disabled veterans are now exempt from homestead property taxes. To be eligible, a veteran must meet one of the following criteria: be permanently and totally disabled as a result of military service and entitled to veterans benefits at a rate of 100 percent, have a certificate from the Veterans Administration (VA) certifying that he or she is receiving pecuniary assistance due to disability for specially adapted housing, or have been rated by the VA as individually unemployable. He or she must also have been honorably discharged. A surviving spouse who has not remarried may also apply.

For more information about how you can appeal your assessment situation, please contact your Foster Swift tax attorney.