Each year any property owner or representative of an owner my appeal the value of their property as determined by the Assessor. This process usually begins in early March after the new assessment notices have been mailed. If the owner is allowing someone to represent him or her in the appeal process, a letter authorizing that person must be submitted to the Board of Review prior to the appeal being heard.
The appeal process mainly involves the dispute over the Assessed Value of the property. Because the Assessed Value is 50% of the estimated market value, one can simply double the Assessed Value to find the estimated market value as determined by the Assessor. If a property owner decides to appeal, there are several things that need to be done prior to the hearing date.
1) Fill out the Petition. It is important to completely fill out the petition. Make sure to enter the property owner’s estimate of the market value of the property.
2) Call for an appointment.
3) Prepare information that supports the property owner’s estimate of the market value. This could be an appraisal or a listing of recently sold properties that are similar. It is important to remember that the Board of Review is there to hear an appeal; it does not determine property values on its own. The Assessor has already done that. If good supporting documentation showing why the value should be lowered is not submitted, the chances of receiving a favorable decision are quite small. According to Michigan property tax law, the values on the assessment notice are considered correct unless proven by the property owner to be something different. The Board of Review has the discretion to make the decision based solely on the information submitted.
4) A person may also appeal the Taxable Value. This however is a bit more complicated as the Board may not have a choice in the matter depending on the circumstances. Taxable Value will increase by the CPI or 5% whichever is less each year. This is State law and only a few things can change it.
5) During the hearing the property owner or representative will simply have the opportunity to state his or her case. The Board of Review members may ask some questions but they will mainly listen to statements made and then later review the information that was submitted submitted. Because of the limited amount of time available, they will review the documentation when they have time and a decision will be made at that time. Decisions are not generally made on the spot. Discussion and deliberation will take place at some point. Their decision will be sent to the property owner by the Assessor in a few weeks after the appeal is heard.
6) The Board of Review and the Assessor have no authority to adjust the amount of property tax. The discussion of property tax at the Board of Review hearings is not productive because the Board’s sole purpose is the hear appeals of the value of your property, not how much tax will be owed. There is no appeal process specifically for the amount of taxes that will be owed. An appeal may result in the lowering of taxes that will be paid but that would be because of the change in the taxable value.
7) If a property owner is not satisfied with the decision of the Board or Review, he or she may appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal. Owners of residential properties must appeal to the local Board of Review in order to continue the appeal process to the Tax Tribunal. Owners of commercial, industrial, utility and personal properties may appeal directly to the Tax Tribunal. The Tax Tribunal will be looking for the same supporting documentation as the local Board of Review. Information for the Tax Tribunal process may be found on the web using this link by calling 517-373-3003.