how to effectively [ appeal ]
your property tax assessment
from State Representative Tonya SchuiTmaker
This guide contains:
Dear Property Owner:
easy 9-Step Guide It is likely that you have recently received notice of your 2008
Sample appeal Letter property tax assessment.
As you review this document, you should be aware that you have a
information on the right to appeal your home valuation to your local board of review
"homeowners relief Package" if you believe it is not accurate. Your board of review is a small
independent panel made up of private citizens. This panel is meeting
Directory of assessors for the second week of March, and has the ability to change your
the 80th house District assessment if they believe it contains errors or is inaccurate.
Despite the weak economy, some neighborhoods may see State
[ key Definitions ] Equalized Value (SEV) increases that exceed the rate of inflation.
This is true because state law requires the SEV to reflect 50 percent
of True Cash Value for your home. Fortunately, these increases do
[ True cash Value (TcV) ] not necessarily affect your taxes. Instead, your property taxes are
The actual value of your home, as
calculated using “Taxable Value,” and those increases are limited to
determined by the local assessor. 2.3 percent this year because of Proposal A.
This newsletter is a step-by-step guide to help you review your
[ State equalized Value (SeV) ] assessment to ensure accuracy and educate you in the appeals process.
50 percent of the actual value of your home. I have included the phone numbers of area assessors if you want to
contact them to arrange an appointment. You should be prepared to
[ Taxable Value ] make your case to the board using about five minutes or less.
The capped value of your home. By law, It is my privilege to serve as your state representative. If you ever have
increases in your taxable value are limited any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
to the inflation rate or 5 percent, whichever
is less. Respectfully,
[ Board of review ]
A panel of local independent citizens
appointed to review assessments of taxpayers
who believe their valuation is inaccurate or State Representative Tonya Schuitmaker
[ assessing Department ]
P.O. Box 30014 Lansing, mi 48909-7514
The local government entity charged with
1.800.577.6212 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.gophouse.com/schuitmaker.htm
creating and adjusting assessments for every
parcel of property in your community.
how to effectively [ appeal ] your property tax assessment
[ step 1 ] Go to your local assessor’s office and obtain
a copy of your worksheet or appraisal card
for your property. This should list the size
[ step 4 ] For this reason, normal issues common to
all homes of that age are not considered in
the specifics on the assessment. However,
You may of your house, the type of construction, as noted in many homes have problems that are not
appeal either special features, etc. The worksheet contains
Step 2, the associated with general aging. Examples
other information such as style (ranch,
your taxable colonial, contemporary, etc.) of your home, “percent good” might be cracked foundations, wall
value, SeV or is the way construction problems, or poor masonry
utilities, construction date, number of
work. The impact of these problems
both to the baths, fireplaces, and kitchen range hoods. an assessor on the value of the home should be
march Board Ask the assessing department to explain the
depreciates specifically addressed. Therefore, it is
document until you completely understand
of review the value of a necessary to perform a complete inside
the abbreviations and numbers. You can
in 2008. also obtain worksheets of similar properties home based on inspection of your home. Written repair
estimates and photographs of structural
which recently sold in the area which the its age. damage are very good evidence of defects
assessor is using to determine the value of
which could affect property value.
[ step 2 ] The assessor may agree to change some of the
information or figures at that time, or you
may have to make your case with the local
[ step 5 ] If you live near a major road, landfill,
business, or industry, your home may be
less desirable than the same home located
carefully Board of Review. There should be a “percent realtors say in a purely residential neighborhood.
check the good” calculation on your worksheet which that location You may live in a mixed zoning area
shows you how much your house has which includes commercial, industrial,
worksheet is the single
depreciated. Usually the Michigan Assessor’s and residential property. You may have a
for errors. Manual requires that every property have most important well, septic system, or dirt road. Obtain
a “percent good” calculation. If your house feature which copies of citizen complaints about area
is ten years old, it will be about 90% good. determines the drug houses, rowdy party homes, and
Percent good is another factor to use when value of your neighborhood eyesores. Tape record
comparing your home with other homes. factory, truck, or party noise.
(See Step 4.)
If these characteristics have changed, they
may contribute to a deteriorating value
[ step 3 ] Call your assessor immediately and inquire
as to why your taxable value increased by
of your home and you should be able to
show this to the board.
more than the rate of inflation. Remember,
if your tentative
[ step 6 ]
increases in taxable value that are not
taxable value attributable to additions are capped at Providing this documentation
increased by the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is to the Board of Review is not
less, until the property transfers. SEV is a guarantee, but will help
more than 2.3% if you recently strengthen your case.
not capped, but must reflect 50% of your
above your property’s true cash value (TCV). Either purchased or
2007 taxable taxable value or SEV may be appealed to refinanced your
value and you the Board of Review.
did not improve whether your
Make sure that a Homestead (principal
your home with residence) Affidavit has been filed for your purchase price or
additions, there homestead. If you filed a Homestead Affidavit your appraisal is
may be an error. last year, you do not need to file a new
affidavit this year unless you moved. Call your lower than your
assessor if you have specific questions. assessment.
[ strategy ]
Bring a presentation copy for yourself
and each of the Board of review
members. read your presentation to
the Board. you may have about five
minutes, so make your points, show
photographs, and stay professional.
[ step 7 ] Personal property items often
SamPLe aPPeaL Letter
included in a home’s sale price, such
as furniture, curtains, washer, dryer, Name, Address, Telephone
One of the most etc., are exempt from assessment.
home buyers can If you do not inform your assessor To the Board of Review/Tax Tribunal:
in writing about these items, your I wish to appeal my property tax assessment for
make is that they assessment may erroneously include
fail to inform the following reasons:
the assessor 1. According to my Worksheet/Property Record,
of personal I have noted the following discrepancies:
other valuable A. I do not have a fireplace as indicated.
items which were Estimated value .......................................................... $1,800
included in B. I do not have a tile bath as indicated.
the sale. Estimated value .......................................................... $1,200
C. According to my worksheet, I have 1,500 square feet
of living space. I have 1,000 square feet.
[ step 8 ] If comparable properties are assessed
lower than yours, you may argue that
your property is overassessed. Make
Reduced value ...........................................................$6,920
This amount should be deducted from true cash value ......... $9,920
comparable your comparable study by asking for the
property worksheets of similar homes which have
recently sold in your area. Check the 2. I have noted the following structural defects on my property.
assessments assessed value, the state equalized value, They reduce the value of the property by the following amounts.
are one of taxable value, type of house, and zoning.
A. Cracked foundation ................................................... $3,800
Compare the TCV per square foot for B. Cracked exterior wall ................................................. $2,200
important these homes. Keep in mind that these
tools for a comparisons should be made between This amount should be deducted from true cash value ......... $6,000
property tax similar homes (i.e., compare two stories
assessment with two stories, or ranches with
3. I live in an area that has mixed zoning and next door there is a
appeal. new junkyard which emits loud noises and noxious odors. This
affects the value of my property. I feel my true cash value has
been reduced by ............................................................... $3,000
[ step 9 ] See sample appeal letter to the right.
3a. Grand Total, add 1, 2, and 3 above ........................... $18,920
4. I wish to make the following comparisons:
step in the
process is to 231 Main Street, assessed value _______________
put all your (List all comparables and ask for an average reduction.
information Also add all items you noted as discrepancies)
True Cash Value ........................................................$60,000
Minus Discrepancy/Grand Total ...............................$18,920
[ not satisfied ] New True Cash Value.................................................$41,080
One Half = Assessed Value (SEV) ..............................$20,540
if you are not satisfied with the decision of your local
Board of review, you may want to continue your appeal.
noTe: this sample letter indicates many of the grounds
In order to appeal the decision, you must send a letter to the Michigan Tax for a reduced assessment. it is very unlikely that an
assessment could be reduced by nearly one-third, as
Tribunal, P.O. Box 30232, Lansing, MI 48909, on or before June 30. They
illustrated here, but every reduction is important.
will mail you the necessary forms.
You must appeal to the local Board of Review before you can
contest your case to the Michigan Tax Tribunal.
how to effectively [ appeal ]
your property tax assessment
from State Representative Tonya
80th House District
[ assessors ]
Van Buren County
Schuitmaker: Plan offers
relief to struggling families 269.657.8234
or call your local township assessor
Michigan is suffering through one of the worst housing
markets in state history. to combat this growing
problem, Rep. tonya Schuitmaker is working on a
package of legislation that would provide assistance
to Michigan families struggling to keep their homes. State RepReSentatiVe
Schuitmaker’s “Homeowners Relief package” seeks to Tonya SchuiTmaker
keep at-risk families in their homes, reduces the overall
tax burden, protects home equity and fights harmful 80tH HouSe DiStRiCt
Highlights of the multi-bill package include:
• Repealing the Real estate transfer tax to
increase equity when selling;
• prohibiting property tax increases when
property values fall and making it easier to
appeal property value appraisals;
• Reducing the “pop-up” tax and extending
homestead exemptions to facilitate home sales;
P Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909-7514
• attacking mortgage fraud and providing more
training for loan officers; and Office: 517.373.0839
• easing burdens on those already going through
the foreclosure process. Toll-Free: 1.800.577.6212
“no family should ever be forced out of their home E-Mail: email@example.com
due to high taxes,” Schuitmaker said. “My plan is a www.gophouse.com/schuitmaker.htm
long-term solution that lowers property taxes for all
homeowners in order to make owning a home easier.”
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