The assessor is required to annually prepare roll for the assessing unit in accordance with the General Property Tax Act and the legislatively mandated level of valuation required by the Michigan Constitution. Assessments are to be uniform and no more than 50% of true cash value. Click here for Property Information
What all this means is the that assessor must maintain records relevant to the assessments, including appraisal record cards, personal property records. historical assessment data, tax maps and land value maps.
Assessments are based on what was located on the property as of December 31. So for example, the 2002 assessment for a property is based on what is located on the property on December31, 2001. For the assessor this means the months of January through March are very intense.
A number of activities are conducted in an ongoing manner.
The most common daily activity is providing assessment information to realtors, appraisers, financial institutions, insurance companies, homeowners and assorted other persons. This may be as simple as providing the owners name or copying the assessment card up to providing sales data and copies of studies.
The assessing office also works with the Community Development on a regular basis. This may include providing building and land dimensions, legal descriptions, ownership information and assistance relating to IFTs, Brownfields, special use and zoning applications. A copy of building permits is provided to the assessor from the building department to assist in the assessing process.
In order to maintain the assessment records, the assessor reviews building permits, measures and lists new construction, documents any demolition. The assessments are then adjusted to reflect any physical changes in the property.
Land divisions are handled through the assessing office. In cases where the owner wants a property divided, a land division application is required to verify the division meets state and local ordinances minimum standard. Once a division is approved a value is placed on the new parcels. Tax maps and possible land value maps need to be adjusted also.
Copies of deeds are sent from the Register of Deeds to the assessor weekly. These deeds are reviewed for transfer of ownership. Transfer of ownership can affect the next year’s taxable value.
When a property transfers, a property transfer affidavit is suppose to be filed with the assessor. These are reviewed and compared to deeds.
Homestead exemption affidavits and qualified agricultural exemptions are processed and the exemptions granted or denied. These are normally filed when a property transfers.
Monthly, the equalization department sends an update of name, address and property description changes and sales to the township. This information is entered into the computer. Sales are compared with deeds and corrections are made so the two databases are consistent.
Some activities are done in certain months or at certain times of the year.
The county equalization department does a residential study each year. This is actually a study of the residential sales in the township. Some years a study is done on commercial and agricultural property. These studies are usually sent to the assessor in late fall or December.
During the summer the assessor reviews all the sales in the township and does an analysis of the sales for adjustment to land value. Sales are also reviewed to develop an economic condition factor, which is used to adjust the assessments for local market factors.
In December personal property statements are mailed to business owners in the township. These forms are to be completed and mailed to the assessor by February 20 of the following year. These statements are returned any where from the first of January to the middle of March. These must be calculated and the new values entered on the assessment roll.
In December, hopefully, the equalization department sends a letter with new ratios and factors for the various classes of property. In January and February the assessor must adjust assessments to reflect these new factors. This is where the land study and economic condition factor studies are used. This is also the time when any additions or losses to the property are entered on the roll. Properties the have transferred and should be uncapped are entered on the roll at this time also.
The assessment roll has to be ready by the first Monday of March. The assessor must send notification of any assessment or taxable increase to all taxpayers at least ten days prior to the first day of Board of Review.
The Board of Review meets on several days in the Month of March. The assessor is either at the Board of Review or available to answer questions concerning assessments. After the Board of Review adjourns, the decisions are mailed to all petitioners. Any petitioner that is not satisfied by the Board of Review decision may appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal. The assessor litigates any Tribunal appeals, small claims or full Tribunal.
In April and May new assessments are entered into the computer and on assessment cards and the database is “rolled over” to start another year.
Other activities not statutorily assigned to the assessor include maintenance of special assessment records. In September the county provides a list of various special assessments levied by the township the previous year. These are reviewed and any new parcels added to the various rolls. Properties that have reverted to the State or the Township are removed from the rolls. Also the rate for certain assessments is reviewed and adjustments made up or down to cover costs incurred in providing these services. All this review is done in conjunction with the Department of Public Works, the Water Department and Fiscal Services.
During the summer, the assessor also develops the list of properties to be billed for weed cutting based on a semi regular review with the Department of Public Works employees. Any unpaid invoices are added to the special assessment rolls.