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Save money on your property taxes (not just this year, but ongoing)

Save money on your property taxes (not just this year, but ongoing)

As a Grand Rapids property owner I got my assessment statement in the mail the other day. One of my properties I feel is well valued by them, but the others I think are over-evaluated. What can I (or you) do about this?

The procedure I’m about to outline is specific to the city of Grand Rapids, so if your property is located somewhere else you’ll need to contact your assessor to ask about the procedure. Your timeframe may be different, but all of them are very short and towards the beginning of the year, so don’t delay in asking the question!

Notices of 2010 assessed value were sent out on January 22. If you haven’t received yours yet you can call the assessor or check online. If you think you have been over assessed (if you’re not sure, please call me) then you can file an appeals form to the city between February 1 and February 12. Postmarked on the 12th doesn’t work, they must have received it by then. In the past, I have taken mine down to their office personally so that I could get it stamped “received” and have proof of my timely submission.

What do you drop off to them? The first thing you need to fill out is an appeals form. Some of the information that they are looking for is what comparable sales support your claim for value. For this you can submit a recent appraisal, look up recent sales in the sales records, or ask a realtor to perform a market analysis for you that you can submit (call me – I’d be glad to help!) Being as thorough as possible is critical to this process. The city will later mail you their determination: leaving it the same, agreeing with your proposed value, or something in the middle. In all the times I have appealed, it’s always come back some place in the middle.

If you disagree with their finding then you can go on to present their case in person to the Board of Review which meets March 15 – March 26. If you still aren’t satisfied you can appeal Michigan Tax Tribunal and then the State Tax Commission. If you get this far along, you should get the help of an attorney that specializes in this area.

Why go to all this trouble? Well, money, of course! If you have a rental property (non-homestead) this is overassessed by $15,000 this will cost you about $715. Not just this year, but if you can get this lowered it will save it EVERY year. Definitely worth the effort.

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