Legislation to Upend Property Tax Assessments and Appeals Process Introduced in State House - Again

March 27, 2017

Unfortunately, legislation to dramatically change how property tax assessments and appeals are conducted in Michigan has been reintroduced under the guise of making corporations pay their “fair share” in property taxes.

Urged on by local governments who want to legitimize their efforts to increase business property taxes, House Bill 4397 has once again been introduced by State Representative Dave Maturen (R-Vicksburg). This bill would:

  • Tie the hands of the Michigan Tax Tribunal in considering criteria during property tax appeals by eliminating otherwise valuable evidence about comparison property values.
  • Impact all taxpayers! Local tax collectors want the public and legislators to think this legislation is targeted solely at large commercial retailers who have legitimately challenged over-assessments. Nothing could be further from the truth. This legislation will have consequences on how all property is evaluated during the appeals process, and will eventually trickle down to how property is assessed.
  • Result in more litigation. This legislation is legally suspect as the Michigan Constitution requires uniformity in how properties are valued and assessed. Artificially eliminating valuable sales data will likely result in more litigation due to skewed appeal results and assessments.
  • Send a message to all local tax collectors that there is no reason to not over-assess business property owners since the MTT would be limited in their review during the appeals process.

We urge Michigan Chamber members to be very leery of the portrayal by local governments who suggest that some type of “loophole” in Michigan law exists, simply because property is valued based on comparison vacant property. All property in Michigan is valued as if it were vacant and available for sale; this is nothing more than a red herring argument by local tax collectors.

For questions about this issue, or any other tax-related topics, please contact Tricia Kinley at tkinley@michamber.com.