Assessment Appeals Process

Proposal A has not changed the right of taxpayers to appeal their assessments. The first level of appeal is to the Board of Review. The Board of Review is composed of nine members who are city of Bay City taxpayers. Dates, times and locations for meetings are printed on the change of assessment notice. Applicants appearing before the Board of Review are advised to bring information that helps to substantiate claims of over-assessment, such as photographs, appraisals, and listings of comparable sales.

Meetings are informal and are generally held in the Room 317 at City Hall. The Board begins appeal meetings on the second Tuesday of March of every year. Notification of the Board's decision is provided by mail no later than the first Monday in June. The next level of appeal must be made by June 30 to the Michigan Tax Tribunal. The MTT is a quasi-judicial body that provides a structured, semi-formal court setting in front of a hearing referee. In rare instances, appeals may proceed to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Basic Steps in Making an Assessment Appeal

There are two requirements that must be followed in making an assessment appeal. These are:
  1. Protest the assessment to the Local Board of Review.
  2. File with the Tax Tribunal within the proper time limit. (By July 31 of the tax year involved for Residential property and by May 31 of the tax year involved for properties classed as Commercial, Industrial or Personal.)
It should be noted that the Tax Tribunal has exclusive jurisdiction in assessment appeals.

Requirement of Appealing to the Local Board of Review

Assessments are made on an annual basis. Each year the City Assessor places an assessment on every parcel of property. The property is divided into two classes, real and personal.

"Tax Day"

These assessments are based on the value of the property on "tax day" which is December 31 prior to the tax year. For example, December 31, 2015 is "tax day" for the 2016 tax year.

This gives uniformity to the time for determining the values of the property. It does not mean that the assessor must assess each property on December 31. There are too many parcels to accomplish this.

Regardless of what day the actual appraisal or assessment of the property is made, it is valued as of December 31.

This rule is especially important in regards to partially-constructed buildings. If a house is only 25% complete on December 31, then the following year assessment must be based on its value as of that day.

The Local Board of Review

It is very important that each year the taxpayer find out what the assessment is on his property. If he is not satisfied, then it must be protested to the local Board of Review.

The local Board of Review is a board of local citizens that meets each year to review the assessments set by the assessor.

There are two ways a taxpayer's assessment may be raised:
  1. The assessor may raise the assessment. If so, the taxpayer must appear at the local Board of Review to appeal the assessment.
  2. The Board of Review may raise the assessment. If so, the taxpayer must be given an opportunity to raise his objections.
The Board of Review is in session to hear valuation appeals beginning on the second Monday in March of each year. Appeals are heard by appointment.

Purpose of Attending the Local Board of Review

The reason for requiring the taxpayer to raise objections to his/her assessment at the local Board of Review is so that disputes can be worked out at the local level. If the taxpayer is not satisfied with the Board of Review's decision (the assessment can be raised, lowered, or affirmed) then he/she can appeal to the Tax Tribunal before July 31 for Residential Property and May 31 for Commercial and Industrial Property. Without the Board of Review appearance, the Tax Tribunal would lack jurisdiction to hear the matter and the taxpayer would have no other remedy.

Ways of Appearing at the Board of Review

(By Letter or Personal Appearance)

Within the City of Bay City, any taxpayer may appeal his assessment to the local Board of Review by letter. The letter must be timely to constitute an appearance. The deadline for filing written appeals is generally the second Tuesday of March.

Michigan Tax Tribunal

After appearing at the local Board of Review, the taxpayer can then appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal.

The deadline for filing is July 31, for Residential Property, and May 31, for Commercial or Industrial Property, of the tax year involved.

There are two main divisions at the Tax Tribunal. They are 1) the Small Claims Division and 2) the Entire Tribunal.

In the Small Claims Division, a letter of appeal from the taxpayer must be received by the Tribunal by July 31 for property classed as Residential, and in the Entire Tribunal the petition must be sent by May 31 for property classed as Commercial, Industrial or Personal, or for value disputes greater than $200,000.

It should be noted that the Tax Tribunal is an impartial body that handles these assessment disputes. It is an agency of the state and the state does not receive any of the proceeds from the property taxes (it is divided between the county, cities, townships, and schools).

Summary of Filing Deadlines

(2015 is used for the example)
  • December 31, 2015
  • Tax Day for 2016
  • Assessor Places Assessments on the Roll (approximately February 2016)
  • Appearance is an absolute requirement in order for the Tax Tribunal to acquire jurisdiction
  • May 31, 2016, is the filing deadline with the Tax Tribunal for Commercial, Industrial and Personal Property assessment disputes
  • July 31, 2016, is the filing deadline with the Tax Tribunal for Residential assessment disputes