Appealing your property taxes

Appealing your property taxes.


If you disagree with your property tax bill, it’s important to know that you can appeal.  To understand whether or not that would be a good idea, it helps to understand how property taxes are calculated and how the appeal process works. 


Until 1994, property taxes were calculated based on the assessed value, but since the passage of Proposal A, taxes are based on the taxable value.  This limits the annual increase to no more than 5%, or the rate of inflation according to the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower.  However, changes in ownership or property improvements can increase the taxable value beyond the 5% limit.


If you suspect errors in your property tax bill, you may want to appeal.  Depending on the city, the deadline is typically some time in March.  If you choose to appeal, the first step is to check public records for your property.  It’s possible that there may be a mistake – such as incorrect bedroom count or square footage.  In this case, a correction can be made on the spot and your assessment may be reduced.  If the records are correct, and you still want to pursue the matter further, the next step is to appeal to the Board of Review.  If you choose to file with the Board of Review, you will want to have evidence to back up your claims, such as comparable sales or a professional appraisal. 


If you are unsuccessful, you still have the option to proceed to the Michigan Tax Tribunal.  As with the Board of Review, you will want to have evidence to support your claims.  One thing to consider there is a small risk that the assessor may notice something during the review that may cause them to actually raise the bill.