Taxation, Valuation & Appeals
Taxing authorities such as school districts, park districts, and Township boards set tax rates and levy taxes.
Taxpayers Demand Services
Taxing authorities require money to provide these services. The assessor's office has no control over tax rates.
If you are concerned about rising taxes:
- Attend budget hearings
- Call or write the taxing authorities
- Decide whether you are willing to do without services to keep taxes low
Buyers and sellers in the market Create Value. The assessor's office studies the market and collects information about properties to Estimate Value.
What causes property values to change? A property's values can change for many reasons. The most obvious is that the property changes. An addition, garage, or swimming pool is added, or part of the property is destroyed by flood or fire.
The most frequent cause of a change in value is a change in the market. If a town's major industry leaves, property values can collapse. As decaying neighborhoods with good housing stock are discovered by young homebuyers, prices gradually rise and they may soar as the neighborhood becomes fashionable. A shortage of detached houses in a desirable city neighborhood can send prices to ridiculous levels. In a recession, larger homes may stay on the market for a long time, but more affordable homes are in demand, so their prices rise.
In a stable neighborhood, with no extraordinary pressure from the market, inflation may increase property value.
What are the grounds for an appeal? An assessment appeal is not a complaint about higher taxes. It is an attempt to prove that your property's estimated market value is either inaccurate or unfair.
You may appeal when you can prove at least one of three things:
- Items that affect value are incorrect on your property value record. You have one bath, not two. You have a carport, not a garage. Your home has 1,600, not 2,000 square feet.
- The estimated market value is too high. You have evidence that similar properties have sold for less than the estimated market value of your property.
- The estimated market value of your property is accurate but inequitable because it is higher than the estimated value of similar properties.
Note: You will not win an appeal because you think your taxes are too high. This is an issue you must take up with the officials who determine budgets. However, you may be eligible for tax relief or exemptions. The assessor's office can give you information about exemptions.
Appeals Process Step-by-Step
- Procedures and deadlines: When you receive your assessment notice, read it for instructions about deadlines and filing procedures. If they are not clear, call the assessor's office for information. Be sure you understand and follow instructions. A missed deadline or incorrect filing can cause an appeal to be dismissed.
- Informal Review: The first step in an appeal is usually an informal meeting with someone in the assessor's office. (Sometimes this informal review is handled by telephone or mail.) Information on the mechanics and deadlines for setting up an appointment should be included with similar information for the entire appeals process. The information in the assessor's office is public. This information may be helpful in preparing your appeal.
- Preparation: Prepare for the meeting. Find your property identification number on your assessment notice. Use this number to view or obtain a copy of your property record from the assessor's office. Review the facts on the property record. Is the architectural style correctly stated? If not, a recent photo of your home will help correct the information. Check the living area of your home, the size of your lot, the number of bathrooms and bedrooms, the presence or absence of a garage or finished basement, the construction materials, the condition, and so on. Gather as much information as you can on similar properties in your neighborhood. Ask the assessor's office or a real estate broker for sales prices on these properties. Use the addresses of comparable properties to review their appraisal cards, which should also show their appraisal values. Compare the features of these properties to the features of yours. If there are differences, the values of the properties may be different.
- The meeting: The purpose of the informal review-which is not yet an appeal-should be (1) to verify the information on your appraisal cards, (2) to make sure you understand how your value was estimated, (3) to discover if the value is fair compared with the values of similar properties in your neighborhood, (4) to find out if you qualify for any exemptions and (5) to be sure you understand how to file a formal appeal if you still want to appeal. The person conducting the meeting will probably review your appraisal card with you and give you information about comparable properties. Present any information you have gathered. The person conducting the meeting may not commit to a change in value at this meeting, even though you may have uncovered an error or the assessment appears to be inequitable. The decision about a value change may have to be made by someone else and communicated to you in writing. If this is so, find out when you may expect to hear from the office.View the assessor's office as an ally, not an adversary. Employees of the office have been trained to be calm, polite, and helpful but they are only human. If you can be calm and polite, they are likely to be more helpful and can concentrate on giving you the information you need for an appeal.
- Formal Appeal: Residential appeals are often settled at the local level. If you are not satisfied with the results of your informal review, you have several more opportunities. The first level of formal appeal is to the local Board of Review. Your appeal is more likely to be successful if you present evidence that comparable properties in the same neighborhood are assessed for less than yours. Copies of property record cards on your comparables, with records of their estimated market values or sales prices, are your best defense. Note any differences between your property and the comparables and point out these differences. A recent appraisal of your own property may be good evidence of its value. The Board of Review will be interested only in the fairness and accuracy of the value placed on your property, not in whether you can afford to pay your taxes or whether taxes are too high. After the Board of Review has adjourned, you will receive notification of their decision. If you disagree with the decision you must appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal by July 31st of the current year for residential property. Commercial and industrial property owners must appeal by May 31st of the current year. Information regarding the further appeal will be shown on your notification.
The Grand Blanc Township Assessing Department offers professional services with the aid of such software applications as:
- Equalizer Database
- Sales Studies
With the aid of these applications, we can build digital databases of:
- Appraisal Cards