Appealing Your Assessment
Michigan law gives the Board of Review the authority to act and the State Tax Commission sets the guidelines for what information can be used in reaching a determination.
If the taxpayer is not satisfied with the assessment, the next step is the local Board of Review, provided for by Michigan law. Board of Review members are appointed by the local governing body. The Board is composed of at least three electors and/or taxpayers of the unit in which they serve. The City of Birmingham has two boards.
The Board of Review begins its meetings to hear appeals on the Tuesday following the first Monday in March, and continues meeting until adjournment. (This, too, may vary from unit to unit.)
Appealing Your Assessment
The taxpayer may appeal in person, or by agent with a letter of authorization from the taxpayer. The law gives the local units the option of accepting letter appeals from resident taxpayers. Nonresident taxpayers may appeal by letter. The City of Birmingham accepts letter appeals from residents.
Types of Appeals the Board of Review Can Act Upon:
- Classification: Whether the property in question is agricultural, commercial, developmental, industrial, timber cutover, residential, or personal.
- Status: Whether or not the property is exempt, such as a church
- Equity: Whether the property has been assessed at the same ratio-50% of true cash (market) value - as other properties within the jurisdiction.
- Poverty: Property owners may request assessment assistance from the Board of Review.
- Valuation: Easily the most common type of appeal. Property owners may appeal whether the assessment exceeds 50% of the true cash (market) value.
The Board of Review must make their determination of value based upon the information presented in each appeal. The taxpayer must be notified of the Board of Review's decision no later than the first Monday in June. On the notification to the taxpayer, information regarding the right to further appeal to the next step, the Michigan Tax Tribunal, must be included.
The third step as mentioned above is the Michigan Tax Tribunal. In order to be placed on the docket for a hearing, the applicant must request a hearing on or before July 31 of each year. Most single family residential appeals are heard by the Small Claims Division of the Tribunal, where the amount of assessment in contention is $100,000 or less. Tribunal hearings and decisions may take from six months to three years from July 31.
Tax Tribunal decisions are rendered often after July and December taxes are spread, so the taxpayer must be sure the taxes have been paid before the Tribunal officer or judge will hear an appeal. If the Tribunal renders a decision that reduces value, a refund with interest is provided.
The final step to appealing an assessment after the Tax Tribunal is the Michigan Court of Appeals. Residential claims, however, rarely progress to this level. It is important to emphasize that all of these steps provided to the taxpayer are informal in nature. The presence of an attorney or appraiser is purely optional to the taxpayer.
For questions regarding real and personal property valuation, board of review, or Michigan Tax Tribunal information contact:
Oakland County Equalization
Oakland Pointe Office Building
250 Elizabeth Lake Road, Suite 1000W
Pontiac, MI 48341
Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday