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Property Tax Update

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Steven H. Lasher
Foster Swift Municipal Law News
October 2009

2010 Taxable Value Inflation Rate

The State Tax Commission has announced that the inflation rate to be used in calculating the 2010 taxable value for property tax purposes will be a negative .03%. Thus, while the taxable value for 2009 was determined using an inflation rate multiplier of 1.044, the multiplier for 2010 will be .997, thus reducing taxable value within the municipality, assuming no new construction or taxable value uncapping situations.

July and December Board of Review

Currently, the July and December Boards of Review can correct "qualified errors" in the assessment of property. Qualified errors were defined by statute to include a) errors of measurement or calculation of the physical dimensions or components of the real property being assessed; b) an error or omission or inclusion of a part of the real property being assessed; c) an error regarding the correct taxable status of the real property being assessed, or d) an error made by the taxpayer in preparing its personal property statement. You should be aware that this expansion of the powers of the July and December Boards of Review will end as of December 31, 2009. Thus, unless the legislature extends this provision, the 2010 and subsequent July and December Boards of Review will no longer have the ability to correct the above errors.

Michigan Tax Tribunal Rules

Effective as of October 19, 2009, the Tax Tribunal has made significant changes to their rules. While a copy of the new rules can be found at the Tribunal’s web site (www.michigan.gov/taxtrib), you should be aware of the following changes:

  1. The fee structure for both Entire Tribunal and Small Claims appeals has changed dramatically. Filing fees for Petitioners have increased to a minimum of $250 and a maximum of $600. Filing fees for motions have increased from $25 to either $50 (for stipulations) or $100 (for motions for summary disposition).
  2. The time to file an answer to a motion has increased from 14 days to 21 days.
  3. In the past, parties have tended to attach little significance to the requirement to hold counsel conferences for Entire Tribunal cases. The new rules require both parties to insure that a counsel conference is held and a summary of the conference is filed with the Tribunal. Further, the deadline for conducting a counsel conference has been increased from 77 days to 126 days after the filing of the initial petition.
  4. The deadline for filing and exchanging documentary evidence in a Small Claims hearing has been increased from 14 days prior to the hearing to 21 days prior to the hearing. Thus, both parties must serve copies of their evidence on the Tribunal and the other party at least 21 days prior to the hearing or the parties run the risk that their evidence will not be admitted by the Tribunal.
  5. Notices of scheduled Small Claims hearings will now be mailed by the Tribunal at least 28 days prior to the hearing.