Amicus Brief

Michigan Properties v Meridian Township

Case Year: 2012
Case Forum: Michigan Supreme Court
Keywords: Real property, taxable value, property transfer, Board of Review, General Property Tax Act (GPTA)
Amicus Counsel:

Robert E. Thall (P46421) | Bauckham, Sparks, Lohrstorfer, Thall & Seeber, P.C. | 458 W South Street | Kalamazoo, MI 49007 | 269-382-4500

CoAmicus Parties:

LDF joined the MTA brief


Proper resolution of this case is of major importance to municipal property tax administration, property tax levying entities and jurisprudence in this state. The General Property Tax Act (GPTA)3 provides a comprehensive system for the assessment of real and personal property for ad valorem tax purposes, for the collection of such taxes, and for administration of such laws. Within this system, local assessors are charged with overseeing the assessment of thousands of parcels of property and it is assumed that some mistakes will occur. Therefore, included in this comprehensive system are a number of various statutory procedures available to correct administrative errors that may occur in the assessment of real property tax.4 To varying degrees, most administrative errors are correctable so that the tax laws can be properly and fairly applied. The circumstances in this case fall within the purview of these corrective statutes.


Michigan Supreme Court:
The cases before us involve the proper interpretation of the General Property Tax Act (GPTA), MCL 211.1 et seq. In Michigan Properties, LLC v Meridian Township, we address whether a tax assessor’s failure to adjust the taxable value of a parcel of real property in the year immediately following its transfer1
Next, in Toll Northville Limited Partnership v Northville Township, we address whether the Tax Tribunal has the authority to reduce an unconstitutional increase in the taxable value of property when the erroneous taxable value was not challenged in the year of the increase. precludes a March board of review from adjusting the taxable value in a later year. We hold that the failure to adjust the taxable value in the year immediately following the transfer produced an erroneous taxable value because the taxable value was not in compliance with the GPTA. Further, the GPTA does not preclude a March board of review from correcting an erroneous taxable value that resulted from the failure of an assessor to adjust a property’s taxable value in the year immediately following its transfer. Accordingly, we also hold that a March board of review may adjust the erroneous taxable value in a subsequent year in order to bring the current taxable value into compliance with the GPTA. The Court of Appeals held that the error in this case could not be remedied and, therefore, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and reinstate the Michigan Tax Tribunal’s decision affirming the March board of review’s correction of the tax rolls to reflect the properly adjusted taxable values. We hold that the Tax Tribunal does have the authority to reduce an unconstitutional previous increase in taxable value for purposes of adjusting a taxable value that was timely challenged in a subsequent year. The Tax Tribunal Act3 sets forth the Tax Tribunal’s jurisdiction.4 Once its jurisdiction is properly invoked, the Tax Tribunal possesses the same powers and duties as those assigned to a March board of review under the GPTA, including the duty to adjust erroneous taxable values to bring the current tax rolls into compliance with the GPTA. Because the Court of Appeals erroneously held that the Tax Tribunal did not have jurisdiction to review taxable values in years not under appeal, we reverse the Court of Appeals’ judgment and remand to that Court to consider Northville Township’s remaining issues on appeal regarding the Tax Tribunal’s valuation of the properties.5

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? No
Case Number: 2011-05
©2022 Michigan Municipal League LLC. All rights reserved