• Michigan Property Taxes: Don’t Overpay in 2012
  • January 6, 2012 | Author: Jeffrey S. Ammon
  • Law Firm: Miller Johnson - Grand Rapids Office
  • Your 2012 property tax assessment notices will arrive in January or February, along with the burden to navigate quickly through a complex set of deadlines and procedures. Read this checklist to identify and solve problems.

    The Basic Question:  Are You Overtaxed?

    Read the "taxable value" on your notice. Double it. Ask yourself whether you could sell that property for at least that amount. If the answer is no, you will be overtaxed in 2012 unless you act quickly.

    Questions to Answer by January 31

    • Have you received assessment notices for every parcel of property you own? One location can have several tax parcels.
    • Is the classification on each notice correct? Has it changed since last year? Some classifications generate more tax savings than others.
    • If your company is a tenant, has the assessment notice gone to the landlord? If you are responsible for the property taxes as the tenant, does your lease permit you to appeal that assessment?
    • Does the notice state that a transfer of ownership occurred in 2011? Do you know what event caused that transfer?
    • Does your city or township require an assessor’s appeal in Feb.?

    Personal Property Tax: Quesitons to Answer in February

    • Will you file your personal property statement by Feb. 20? Failure to file on time may disqualify you from tax credits and exemptions. And a failure can make an otherwise optional Board of Review appearance mandatory.
    • Did the assessor base your "taxable value" on the numbers you reported on your statement?
    • Have you discovered over-reporting or other errors in previous statements? Some kinds of errors in previous years can be corrected this year.
    • Could you have sold the personal property on Dec. 31, 2011 for twice the "taxable value?" If not, you may be overtaxed.

    Appeal Deadlines:  February, March, May, June or July?

    • February? If your local jurisdiction requires you to file an assessor's appeal, what is the deadline?
    • March? Some appeals require a local Board of Review appeal in March. Others can be taken directly to the Michigan Tax Tribunal without a Board of Review appeal. Making a local Board of Review appearance might be a good strategy even if it is not required.
    • May, June or July? May 31 is the deadline for appealing a Board of Review decision for most kinds of business property. June 30 is the deadline for appealing Board of Review classification decisions. July 31 is the appeal deadline for residential and certain other kinds of property classifications. Consult with experienced legal counsel to identify the relevant deadlines.

    Strategy and Advice

    If you suspect problems with your property taxes, you will need to make some quick decisions.