March means spring is around the corner, but not before your local March board of review
The March board of review is a landowner’s single opportunity to protest a property tax issue to the local government related to property classification, assessed value or the qualified agricultural property exemption.
Michigan law provides for an appeals process for decisions made by property assessors with respect to property classifications and assessed values. The appeals proces for the current year’s assessments starts with the local government board of review. For townships, the size, composition, and manner of appointment of the board of review is governed by statute (see MCL 211.28), whereas a city may prescribe such elements by charter (or by ordinance, thereby establishing a city board of review in the same manner and for the same purposes as townships). The purpose of the board of review is to hear taxpayer protests or challenges to a decision of the local government assessor. It is the responsibility of the board of review to make an independent judgment based on the facts of the situation at hand and applicable law.
The board of review is required by law to meet on the second Monday in March for the purpose of hearing taxpayer appeals (but, the legislative body may authorize the Tuesday or the Wednesday following the second Monday in March for this purpose). The board’s charge is to review the current year’s assessments for the jurisdiction by the first Monday in April. Other prescribed meeting dates for the board of review include the Tuesday following the third Monday in July and the Tuesday following the second Monday in December. Additional meetings may be scheduled and all must be conducted in a public manner as provided in the Open Meetings Act.
The March board of review is a landowner’s (or the landowner’s agent’s) one annual opportunity to protest a property’s classification, assessed value or discontinuance of the qualified agricultural property exemption. Instead of attending the meeting or having an agent attend the meeting, protests can also be submitted in writing, if authorized locally by ordinance or resolution by the legislative body. All landowners who make a protest to the board of review must receive a written response detailing the board of review’s action and a landowner’s right of further appeal no later than the first Monday in June. If errors are found in an assessment, the board of review shall correct such qualified errors during its July and December meetings. In addition to correcting errors in the assessments, the July and December meetings are reserved for hearing appeals related to the principal residence exemption, the qualified agricultural property exemption and new property exemptions.
A typical appeal brought before the March board of review by a landowner often has to do with the individual’s property classification, as determined by the assessor as discussed in a recent Michigan State University Extension article, Qualified agricultural property exemption not necessarily tied to property classification. If an appeal regarding property classification is denied, the board of review must notify that landowner that he/she can appeal the decision to the State Tax Commission. It is also typical for the March board of review to hear protests regarding the assessed value of individual properties and poverty exemption requests. Board of review decisions regarding a property’s assessed value may or may not lead to necessary changes in a property’s taxable value. For agricultural property, the March board of review also has the authority to act on protests for the current year that have to do with the assessor’s discontinuance of a parcel’s previous year’s qualified agricultural property exemption.
For more information on the responsibilities of local boards of review, read the State Tax Commission’s publication on Boards of Review. It is important to note that this article is written for landowners of property in townships and some details herein may not be applicable to landowners in cities or villages. If you have questions about your property’s classification, assessed value or related exemptions, contact your local clerk, chief elected official or assessor and consider attending the March board of review.