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How do you see the decisions of the Tax Tribunal, Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of Michigan affecting not only the income of the townships but the state’s tax base going forward?

Any decision of the Tax Tribunal, Court of Appeals or Supreme Court adjusting values on a township’s tax roll will impact the township as well as the other taxing entities, including the state (State Education Tax). In larger cases like the “big box” appeals, potential lost revenue from large, multi-million dollar reductions in taxable value can be very high on an annual basis, but there is no established database of the total number of cases, settlements or total impact. It is safe to say that in recent years, hundreds of “big box” properties appealed resulting in adjusted, lower values.

A township’s millage rate and the specific adjustment of true cash value and taxable value on the roll determines the actual impact to a township, but it is also safe to say that townships are responsible for defending tax appeals, the cost of litigating a “big box” or other high-stakes tax appeal is very high, and a township’s share of the property tax revenues does not even come close to the litigation costs of these appeals.

The most recent Supreme Court decision denied leave to appeal the unpublished Court of Appeals’ opinions regarding “big box” properties in Breitung and Marquette Townships. Both townships have asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision based, in part, on its detrimental impact across Michigan. We will continue providing updates on these cases as well as any other developments in this area of the law. 

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