By: Lance T. Denha, Esq.*
If you’ve recently received your real property assessment notice for 2010 and don’t agree with how the municipality has assessed the true value of your property, do not miss out on your right to appeal. An appeal of a property tax assessment begins at the local level with the board of review. Under Michigan law, the board of review meets on the second Monday in March unless the governing body authorizes an alternative starting date to meet which would be the Tuesday or Wednesday following the second Monday of March.
Falling real estate sales and prices in our area have recently presented the property owner with a real opportunity to appeal the real property assessment. Homeowners and real property owners who act promptly can appeal the assessed value of their properties and cut a big chunk out of their tax bills. A reduction in an assessment now will ensure that the valuation in the future limits the annual increase to the lower of 5% or the rate of inflation. Your taxable value times your millage rate is what you pay as a property owner. The tax value is based on the SEV, but adjusts from year to year, for reasons beyond the scope of this Article.
Non exempt real property in Michigan is subject to what is called an ad volorem tax which is a tax imposed on the value of real property. Real property is assessed at 50% of its true cash value, which is the price that could be obtained at a private sale as opposed to an auction or a forced sale. Tax rates are also subject to county and state equalization. The process of equalization is one by which the county, and then the state, seeks to enforce uniform assessment levels over the body of assessing units under its jurisdiction.
If you believe the tax assessment for 2010 is greater than 50% of the value of your property, do not miss your opportunity to appeal because it will expire if it is not timely exercised. The first step for homeowners is to file a written petition to your local board of review or personally appear on the date that the board of review meets. This will preserve your right to reduce taxes on your residence for the remainder of the tax year in the event you are not satisfied with the local board’s decision. The local board of review will make its written decision on the second Monday in March. If you are not satisfied with the board of review’s determination of your property tax assessment, you may appeal the board of review’s decision by filing a petition with the Michigan Tax Tribunal. There are different deadlines for filing a petition with the Tax Tribunal. For instance the deadline for filing a petition for property classified as commercial property is May 31, 2010 while the deadline for filing a petition to the Michigan Tax Tribunal for residential property is July 31, 2010. Make sure you are aware of the classification of your property in order to meet the deadlines under Michigan law.
Lance T. Denha, Esq., Of Counsel with Denha & Associates, PLLC, works in the areas of business transactional law, foreclosure/preforeclosure workouts and bankruptcy law. In the business area, he specializes in general corporate law with a concentration in business and commercial transactions, property tax appeals, health care, and liquor licensing matters. In the foreclosure/preforeclosure workouts legal arena, Mr. Denha represents borrowers against lenders in seeking out residential loan workouts for purposes of avoiding foreclosure, or in the alternative, Mr. Denha will represent borrowers in foreclosure defense cases against lenders. Lastly, in the bankruptcy area, Mr. Denha’s focus is on bankruptcy law matters, specializing in debtor representation, creditor relations, and related litigation.
Mr. Denha is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and State Bar of Florida where he is licensed to practice law in Michigan and Florida.
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