• Michigan Supreme Court Allows Property Taxpayers to Appeal
  • May 26, 2011 | Author: Jeffrey S. Ammon
  • Law Firm: Miller Johnson - Grand Rapids Office
  • The Michigan Supreme Court recently invalidated one of the more anti-taxpayer laws the Michigan legislature ever passed.  That law had prohibited a property owner from appealing a State Tax Commission (STC) property classification decision.

    So, for example, if the STC mistakenly disallowed your industrial, commercial or agricultural millage exemption on classification grounds, tough.  No day in court for you.  And that law added insult by allowing the state to appeal!  It took the Supreme Court only a few pages to rule that this “we can appeal but you can’t” law was unconstitutional.

    Why do you care about classification?  Several reasons:

    • Industrially classified property receives a 24 mill exemption, commercially classified property receives only a 12 mill exemption.
    • Classification determines your 18 mill property tax exemption for your primary residence and for agricultural property (at least in most cases).
    • The amount of personal property tax abatement savings depends on whether that property’s location is classified commercial or industrial.
    • Classification determines whether business taxpayers receive a Michigan Business Tax (MBT) personal property tax credit (but the MBT’s repeal makes this moot for tax years beginning in 2012). 

    Although an appeal right is good, it’s not as good as obtaining the correct classification in the first place.  Make sure the assessor sets your classification correctly in the assessor’s annual notice of assessment.  If that classification is not correct, you will want to make a first class presentation to the board of review in March.  You will need to give the board persuasive evidence to demonstrate your position.  The same goes for an STC hearing, if that is necessary.