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May Alert - Topics include: May 31 Property Tax Appeal Deadline and Is there an Opportunity for Retroactive Tax Appeals?

May 17, 2013
May 31 Property Tax Appeal Deadline

For most business property, including industrial and commercial real property, May 31, 2013 is the deadline for a Michigan Tax Tribunal appeal of the 2013 tax assessments, including taxable value.

Is there an Opportunity for Retroactive Tax Appeals?

A recent Michigan Supreme Court case may have opened the door for certain property owners to appeal their taxes despite having missed prior appeal deadlines. Historically, taxpayers appealing their property tax assessment must file a petition with the Michigan Tax Tribunal by the statutory deadline in the year of the assessment. Once the appeal deadline passes, the taxable value for that year becomes the basis of the next year’s taxable value regardless of how that taxable value was established. With very narrow exceptions, such as cases involving clerical errors, mutual mistakes of fact or omitted property, the applicable tax statute does not permit retroactive adjustments to taxable value.

In the Michigan Properties case, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that a current year’s taxable value can be adjusted to correct for an error that occurred in the past. As a result, if the taxable value of a prior year is found to be erroneous because statutory or constitutional requirements were not followed, then the Tax Tribunal could adjust the current year’s taxable value to account for the error made in a prior year. It is unclear what types of errors will be subject to retroactive adjustment. A retroactive adjustment would not change the prior year’s taxable value or taxes but could have a significant impact on the current and future years’ taxable value and taxes.

What should a business property owner do before May 31?

If a business property owner is considering appealing their tax assessment for 2013, they need to file an appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal by May 31, 2013. If you have questions or for more information, please contact your Honigman attorney or any member of the Tax Appeals Practice Group listed on this alert.

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