If you have questions about your current tax bill, you may contact Township Treasurer, Rachel Vallance, any time or day at (231) 625-2997. If you wish to pay your taxes in person, Rachel lives at 4280 S. River Rd. Please call ahead to be sure she is home and, if paying cash, you must have the correct change.
Unhappy With Your Tax Assessment?
Your first call should be to the Grant Township Tax Assessor, Nick Couture. He may be able to answer your questions, or explain why your situation is as it is. This could save you a trip to the Township Property Tax Review Board. Nick can also tell you what paperwork you need to bring with you if you choose to attend the Township Property Tax Board of Review.
Property Tax Board of Review
Property tax is unique in that it is the only system of taxation that provides for an annual appeals process. Taxpayers have an opportunity to appeal the burden of property taxes in an attempt to reduce their tax bill before it is due. No other method of taxation can make that statement.
The first step in that process is an appeal of the assessment to the board of review. A property owner may appear before the board during the meeting for one or more of the following reasons:
- Taxes are too high
- To claim a hardship
- Tentative taxable value is too high
- Valuations are correct, but are higher than other property in the neighborhood or other property similar to the taxpayer’s property
- The property shouldn’t be assessed at all
- The taxpayer is not really protesting the assessment, but just checking on what the current valuation is
The assessor has the wrong classification on the property
Some of the above complaints may be valid, as the board of review determines, while others may be beyond the power of the board to resolve. The board of review has full authority upon its own motion to change assessments if it feels such action is justified by the merits of an appeal. You will be required to fill out form L-4035, Petition to Board of Review, when you first enter the meeting room.
There are two reasons for the board of review to lower or increase assessments:
- The valuation exceeds or falls short of the required level of value, which is 50% of true cash value.
- The property at issue is not uniformly assessed with other property in the classification. The question must be answered, “Is the assessment generally uniform and equal to all other assessments in the same classification?” The burden of proof should rest with the appellant to prove that the assessment is erroneous.
The board has the authority to examine under oath the person requesting an adjustment of any valuation or any other person involved in the matter.
In most cases, taxpayers must protest to the local board of review before seeking relief from higher panels authorized to review and make changes in assessments, such as the Michigan Tax Tribunal.
The first taxpayer attended Board of Review meeting will be held the second week in March.
Anyone may file an appearance on behalf of a taxpayer before the board. An attorney, accountant, relative, friend, business associate or even the assessor may appear as a representative for the taxpayer. A non-resident taxpayer may file a protest in writing and is not required to appear in person for the appeal to be legal and appropriate.
Every taxpayer who makes a request, protest or application to the board of review for an adjustment in valuation or classification or for an exemption from taxation shall be notified in writing of the board’s decision.
Taxpayers not satisfied with the Grant Township Property Tax Board of Review decision may continue their appeal to The Michigan Tax Tribunal. P. O. Box 30232, Lansing, MI 48909
Occasionally, assessing officers may make mistakes that are not discovered until after the March board meetings have adjourned or after the tax bills are mailed to the taxpayers. After the March board of review has adjourned and before or after the summer or winter tax bill is received, a special board if review meeting will be held to correct the error.
The July and December Boards of Review have the authority over clerical errors, mutual mistakes of facts and situations involving hardship exemptions, principal residence (homestead) exemptions and qualified agricultural. The July meeting will be during the third week in July. The December meeting will be during the second week in December.
The Tax Tribunal
If a property owner who has protested an assessment to the March Board of Review is not satisfied with the board’s decision, the property owner has the right to appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal. The Michigan Tax Tribunal is a quasi-judicial agency that has the statutory responsibility for holding hearings on disputed issues regarding state and local taxation and to make decision in the general manner of courts. The tribunal is an agency within the Dept. of Labor and Economic Growth for administrative purposes.
The tribunal’s principal function is to hear and decide appeals of the decisions of local governmental bodies regarding property tax matters. The tribunal also holds hearings regarding disputes on most taxes imposed by the state, such as income, sales, use, inheritance and other taxes.
The tribunal holds hearings on the following property tax matters:
- Real and personal property assessments
- Valuation disputes
- Uniformity disputes
- Exemption disputes
- Poverty exemption disputes
- Taxable value disputes
- Special assessments
- Intra-county equalization disputes made by assessing units (cities or townships)
- Allocation disputes made by taxing units
- July or December board of review disputes
- Denial of principal residence (homestead) exemption by the Michigan Dept. of Treasury or denial of a “qualified agricultural” exemption by board of review.
Appeals are considered “de novo,” which means that the proceedings are new, as though the actions of the board of review never existed. Although an assessor is always required to defend an assessment, the assessor can file an appeal of a board of review-adjusted assessment. The petitioner, normally the appellant, and the assessor, normally the respondent, can submit new evidence of value to the tribunal for its consideration. In some cases, the assessor could be the petitioner. This new testimony may support different conclusions of the issues than were decided by the board of review.