The best candidate for appealing property taxes is one who has bought their home between 1991 and now (although others may benefit and you should get your 2011 Tax notice and check your own property at the website here).
Then visit this website [HOME VALUE FINDER] to see an estimated value of your home and if your SEV is more than half of that number, you are most likely needing to appeal. (SEV or State Equalized Value can be seen on your most recent 2011 Tax Statement).
It is not a difficult process but it can be lengthy if you must take it beyond a local board. (They will refund you with interest if you win at the State Tax Tribunal.)
Here are some steps you should take (or you can pay someone $98-$198 to do it for you: www.OverTaxedProperty.com)
Before starting...call and schedule a date to go before a local Tax Board. 248-858-1982 between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. CALL SOON AS APPOINTMENTS ARE FILLING QUICKLY!! (You can cancel later if you change your mind)
STEP 1 You may appeal either your taxable value, or SEV, or both, to the March Board of Review in 2011. 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 of your house, the type of construction, special features, etc. The worksheet contains other information such as style (ranch, colonial, contemporary, etc.) of your home, utilities, construction date, number of baths, fireplaces, and kitchen range hoods. Ask the assessing department to explain the document until you completely understand the abbreviations and numbers. You can also obtain worksheets of similar properties which recently sold in the area which the assessor is using to determine the value of your property.
STEP 2 Carefully check the worksheet for errors. 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 Board of Review. There should be a “percent good” calculation on your
worksheet which shows you how much your house has depreciated. Usually the Michigan Assessor’s Manual requires that every property have a “percent good” calculation. If your house is ten years old, it will be about 90% good. Percent good is another factor to use when comparing your home with other homes. (See Step 4.)
STEP 3 If your tentative taxable value increased or only decreased modestly from your 2010 taxable value and you did not improve your home then your taxable value may exceed the statutorily mandated assessment cap.
STEP 4 As noted in Step 2, the “percent good” is the way an assessor depreciates the value of a home based on its age. For this reason, normal issues common to all homes of that age are not considered in the specifics on the assessment. However, many homes have problems that are not associated with general aging. Examples might be cracked foundations, wall construction problems, or poor masonry work. The impact of these problems on the value of the home should be specifically addressed.Therefore it is necessary to perform a complete inside inspection of your home. Written repair estimates and photographs of structural damage are very good evidence of defects which could affect property value.
STEP 5 Realtors say that location is the single most important feature which determines the value of your home. If you live near a major road, landfill, business, or industry, your home may be less desirable than the same home located in a purely residential neighborhood. You may live in a mixed zoning area which includes commercial, industrial, and residential property. You may have a well, septic system, or dirt road. Obtain copies of citizen complaints about area drug houses, rowdy party homes, and neighborhood eyesores. Tape record factory, truck, or party noise. If these characteristics have changed, they may contribute to a deteriorating value of your home and you should be able to show this to the Board.
STEP 6 If you do not have the time or patience to collect comparable sales, local realtors may help you determine the value of your property. Pictures showing why your home is valued less or other homes are valued more will be your best defense against a local board. Or, you may wish to have your home professionally appraised. A professional appraisal is the best evidence against an improper assessment and the best proof of value. It may cost you as much as you would save from lower property taxes, however. You can also pay someone to help you with the process, like I mentioned above.
STEP 7 One of the most common mistakes home buyers can make is that they fail to inform the assessor of personal property and other valuable items which were included in the sale. Personal property items often included in a home’s sale price such as furniture, curtains, washer, dryer, etc. are exempt from assessment. If you do not inform your assessor in writing about these items, your assessment may erroneously include this value.
STEP 8 Comparable property assessments are one of the most important tools for a property tax assessment appeal. If comparable properties are assessed lower than yours, you may argue that your property is over assessed. Make your comparable study by asking for the worksheets of similar homes which have recently sold in your area. Check the assessed value, the state equalized value, taxable value, type of house, and zoning.
STEP 9The last step in the process is to put all your information into letter form. An example is on this page.
If you are not satisfied with the decision of your local Board of Review, you may want to continue your appeal. In order to do this, you must send a letter to the Michigan Tax Tribunal, P.O. Box 30232, Lansing, MI 48909 before June 30 and ask them to mail you the necessary forms for appeal. You must appeal to the local Board of Review before you can appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal.
SAMPLE APPEAL LETTER
To the Board of Review/Tax Tribunal:
I wish to appeal my property tax assessment for the following reasons:
1. According to my Worksheet/Property Record, I have noted the following discrepancies:
A. I do not have a fireplace as indicated.
Estimated value .....$1,800
B. I do not have a tile bath as indicated.
Estimated value .....$1,200
C. According to my worksheet, I have 1,500 square
feet of living space. I have 1,000 square feet.
This amount should be deducted from true cash value .....$9,920
2. I have noted the following structural defects on my property. They reduce the value of the property by the following amounts:
A. Cracked foundation ..........$3,800
B. Cracked exterior wall ........$2,200
This amount should be deducted from true cash value .........$6,000
3. I live in an area that has mixed zoning and next door there is a 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
3a. Grand Total, add #1, 2, and 3 above...$18,920
4. I wish to make the following comparables to recent sales:
231 Main Street, assessed value___________
(List all comparables and ask for an average reduction. Note: add all items you noted as discrepancies, comparable amounts, etc.)
True cash value .......$60,000
Minus Discrepancy/Grand Total $18,920
New True Cash Value.....$41,080
One half = Assessed value (S.E.V.) $20,540
NOTE: This sample letter indicates many of the grounds for a reduced assessment. It is very unlikely that an assessment could be reduced by nearly one-third, as illustrated here, but every reduction is important. 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.
REMEMBER THIS IS PERSONAL TO YOU BUT ONLY BUSINESS TO THEM AND IT CAN BE APPEALED HIGHER IF THEY DISAGREE WITH YOU!
Direct any questions about the appeal process to Mark Avery at email@example.com
Tell him Sean House sent you as I know him personally and it may get you quicker and better service!
Best Wishes!! Happy Appealing!