Proos: Packets available for tax appeals

Published 6:31 pm Wednesday, February 5, 2014

It is that time of year again: tax time. In addition to filling out income tax forms over the next 10 weeks, Southwest Michigan homeowners should be getting their property tax assessments soon from their local governments. Some of you may have already received them.

Our local assessors do their best to accurately determine a home’s value with the information they have, but the process is not perfect.

Homeowners who believe their assessments are in error may appeal them to their local Board of Review and, if necessary, the Michigan Tax Tribunal.

From my experience as a homeowner and as a legislator, I know that much of the confusion about appealing assessments often revolves around terminology and timelines.

For example, Taxable Value is what is used to calculate property taxes and its growth is capped at the rate of inflation (currently at 1.6 percent) or 5 percent, whichever is less. The State Equalized Value (SEV) reflects 50 percent of a home’s True Cash Value. Since the SEV is tied to the actual value of a property, it may rise or fall by more than 5 percent in any year.

Both the Taxable Value and the SEV may be appealed, beginning at the local March Board of Review meeting.

Every step in an appeal can be frustrating for many residents. This is why I am pleased to offer a complementary packet to help guide people through the process.

I encourage anyone in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties who is considering an appeal to contact my office for a helpful packet designed to help make the appeal process less confusing and more effective. Best of all, the packet is provided at no charge.

The packet features many pointers, such as whom to contact, when you can appeal and how to make your best case.

Residents can contact my office to request a free packet by calling (517) 373-6960.


Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien and Cass counties and most of Van Buren County.