Benzonia Township, Benzie County, Michigan

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Assessor's Page



APPEALS to the BOARD OF REVIEW

Board of Review

The purpose of the Board of Review is to hear property valuation appeals and correct any errors. The board also hears requests for property tax exemptions. See the Board of Review section on the Meetings page for meeting dates, times, and minutes documents.

During the March Board of Review is the only time of year that a property owner may appeal the valuation of a property. One must appeal to the March Board of Review in order to further appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal (MTT).

To make an appeal, use the "Petition to Board of Review" form which is found on the Docs and Forms page.

Appeals may be made:

  • In writing
  • by mail
  • by email
  • in person or by a representative with written consent

Appeals cannot be made over the phone. Appraisals are only accepted by mail.

In order for an appeal to be heard, the Board must receive all appeals prior to the final meeting.



BUSINESS "PERSONAL" PROPERTY TAX INFORMATION

Business "Personal" Property Statements must be filed by every business with assets located within the township annually, by February 1st. Exemption forms must be reviewed by February 10th. If a statement is not filed, the Assessor may perform on-site inspections and will SET assessments accordingly. Failure to file does not exempt the business from taxation.

The "Exemption from Personal Property Tax Affidavit" form is available on the Docs and Forms page.



PROPERTY ASSESSMENT INFORMATION

Can I reduce my taxes?

If you are a new resident of Benzonia Township, make sure you file the Principal Resident Exemption (PRE) form. (This formerly was the Homestead Exemption) PRE is required to be filed by June 1st, or by November 1st for the partial exemption. This exempts you from 18 mills of school operating taxes. To qualify, you must own and occupy your township home and claim no other home as your residence. Check your tax bill to be sure you are "100%" for Principal Residence Exemption. Please feel free to contact the Assessor should you need any assistance, or have questions regarding this, or other assessment procedures.

Consumers Price Index

Taxable values are adjusted annually based on the CPI (Consumers Price Index) or 5%, whichever is less, plus or minus any new construction or demolition:

CPI RATES

2001 1.032
2002   1.032
2003   1.015
2004   1.023
2005   1.023
2006   1.033
2007   1.037
2008   1.023
2009   0.997
2010   0.997
2011   1.017
2012   1.027
2013   1.024
2014   1.016
2015   1.016
2016   1.003
2017   1.009

General Information

Laws concerning Michigan Property Tax can be found within the Michigan Constitution of 1963 Article IX (Finance & Taxation), also within the Michigan Compiled Laws, Chapter 211 section 1 through 157 and within the General Property Tax Act; PA 206 of 1893. See the Michigan Department of Treasury Web site.

Land Divisions (LDA) / Combinations

LDA’s can be applied for throughout the year but the value change to the parent parcel and the new child parcel will not appear on the tax roll until the following year. Land Division applications are required for almost all divisions of property. Please call the Assessor prior to deeding any split property to avoid a division violation, which would result in non-issuance of building permits, and may void the sale.

Combination of property for tax purposes can only be processed once a year and the request must be received by the Assessor by December 31st prior to the year you are requesting the combination.

Non-consideration / Matthieu Ghast

Non-consideration allows for a property owner to make normal repair and replacement to their structures without the value being added to their taxable value. Some limitations apply; also, an inspection of the property by the Assessor is required prior to any changes being made, and after the changes are complete. Please call for an appointment and application.

Poverty Exemption

A property owner may apply for the Poverty Exemption on their primary residence at any of the three yearly Board of Review meetings. Benzonia Township has adopted the Federal Guidelines of poverty. Please call for specifics and an application.

Principal Residence Exemption (PRE)

The Assessor must receive PRE by June 1st for a full exemption and November 1st for a partial exemption.

The "Homeowner’s Principal Residence Exemption (PRE) Affidavit" and the "Request to Rescind Homeowner’s Principal Residence Exemption (PRE)" forms are available on the Docs and Forms page.

Some requirements / qualifications for PRE:

  • Must own and occupy the property as your primary residence by June 1st of the year you are claiming exemption (unless claiming the partial).
  • Spouses filing joint income taxes can claim only one exemption within the United States, not just Michigan.
  • Must file only a Michigan Income Tax Return as a resident (unless stationed elsewhere with the Military)
  • Must be a Michigan Resident
  • Cannot have rescinded the PRE on the same parcel within that same year with no transfer of interest.

Items used by the State to determine residency:

  • Voter’s registration
  • Address on driver's license and vehicle registration
  • Children's school registration.
  • Address on Michigan Income Tax Return
  • Address on Federal Income Tax Return
  • Address of Bank statements, pay stubs, pension checks, etc.
  • Location of employment

Note that a property can only qualify for either the PRE exemption or the QAG exemption, but not both.

Michigan's State PRE Hotline: 1-800-827-4000

Qualified Agricultural Exemption (QAG)

QAG affidavits must be received no later than May 1st of the year you are claiming the exemption. In order to be classed as agricultural property, the parcel must be in active agricultural use. In order to qualify for the QAG exemption, a parcel must have at least 50.01% of its acreage being actively farmed.

Note that a property can only qualify for either the PRE exemption or the QAG exemption, not both.

Tax-exempt Status for Real Wexford Test Property

An organization must pass the Wextford test to qualify for tax-exempt status. Please call for an application. An individual cannot qualify for tax-exempt status, see poverty exemption.

The Wexford test...

Current Michigan law already allows nonprofit charitable organizations to receive a property tax exemption, as long as the property is being used solely to accomplish the charitable purpose that it was incorporated to do. Guidance created from a 2006 Michigan Supreme Court decision, Wexford Medical Group v. City of Cadillac, is utilized for property tax appeals by local assessors, the Michigan Tax Tribunal (MTT) and the state Court of Appeals. This court decision defines a “charitable institution” as meeting all six of the following criteria:

    1. A nonprofit institution
    2. Organized chiefly, if not solely, for charity
    3. Does not offer its charity on a discriminatory basis
    4. Advances education or religion, promotes health and wellness, relieves poverty, erects or maintains public buildings or works, or otherwise lessens the burdens of government
    5. Does not charge more for its services than what is needed for successful maintenance
    6. Does not need to meet any monetary threshold of charity, as long as its overall purpose is charitable

Taxable Value vs. Assessed Value

The amount of property taxes a property owner pays is based on the Taxable Value and millage rates collected by taxing entities, i.e. schools, county, BATA, etc. The law provides that each year, the Taxable Value is increased by the amount of the Consumers Price Index, (C.P.I.) not to exceed 5% in any one year, plus or minus any new construction or demolition. If the C.P.I. growth continues to be low, then the taxable value remains low. The C.P.I. is similar to the rate of inflation.

Assessed Value on the other hand, is market driven. By law, Assessors must assess property at approximately 50% of its market value. This is based on sales studies. If the new and used home market remains strong, assessed values would continue to increase. However, you are not taxed on this value. When the property is sold, the year following the sale, the Assessed Value becomes the beginning Taxable Value and taxes are paid based on that value.

Transfers / Uncapping

Any transfer of property in part or in its entirety, between anyone other than spouses or particular family members will most likely result in a partial or complete uncapping of the properties Taxable value. Please call with any questions. NOTE: Please be aware that assessments are set in arrears. For example: a summer tax bill that is due as of September and a winter tax bill that is due as of February is based on the valuation of a property as of December 31st of the previous year.

 


    

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