Welcome to the Assessing Department. Our staff would like to help you in understanding the annual assessment practices and cycle. This site will offer you the opportunity to browse the information below for information describing some of the various functions of the Assessing Department.
The Assessor’s Office is responsible for identifying and valuing all taxable property within the Township. Each year, we produce the annual assessment roll and the property tax roll in accordance with Michigan’s General Property Tax Law.
Our department includes a contract Assessing Firm, State Certified as a Michigan Master Assessing Officer MMAO(4), a full time Appraiser, State Certified as a Michigan Certified Assessing Officer MCAO(2), and a full time MCAT.
We are committed to the support and enhancement of the physical, economic, and social well being of all of the citizens of Frenchtown Charter Township. By providing equitable assessments and accurate property data, it is our goal that no one person is burdened with having to pay more than their fair share of the property tax.
We hope that you will find the information provided in our web site to be helpful in improving your understanding of the government that serves you.
Frenchtown Charter Township
The following information below is a summary of the Assessing process. If you encounter an unfamiliar term, or would like a more detailed explanation, click on any italicized word to be taken to the glossary or forms section.
- Board of Review
- Proposal A
- Appeal Process
- Property Descriptions
- Personal Property
The Assessor discovers, lists, and establishes market value all taxable properties within the Township as of Tax Day, December 31 (MCL 211.2(2).
The general duties of the Assessing Department are established under the General Property Tax Act 206 of 1893. MCL 211.2 sec 2(1) Which reads in part…. “For the purpose of taxation, real property includes all lands within the state, all buildings and fixtures on the land and appurtenances thereto, except as expressly exempted by law…”
Establishment of the annual assessment of property as directed under MCL 211.10 is made by an assessor who has been certified as qualified by the State Assessor’s Board to have successfully completed training and properly certified.
On or before the first Monday in March in each year, the assessor shall make and complete an assessment roll. Upon which he or she shall set down the true cash value and assessed value of every real property and calculate the tentative taxable value of every parcel of real property that is not exempt from law.
The True Cash Value of property, as defined under MCL 211.27 “Cash Value” means the usual selling price at the place where the property to which the term is applied is at the time of assessment, being the price that could be obtained for the property at private sale, and not at auction sale or forced sale.
In determining the value, the assessor shall also consider the advantages and disadvantages of location; quality of soil; zoning; existing use; present economic income of structures; including farm structures; present economic income of the land otherwise put to income producing use; quantity and value of timber; and other privileges that are known to be available in the land and their value.
Value is established from all sales that meet the definition of “Cash Value” of all comparable properties. Because there can be many factors that can influence a sale of property, the State law prohibits the sales price of a property from being the presumptive True Cash Value. Assessed value is fifty percent (50%) or half of the determined True Cash Value of the property.
Assessment values may rise or fall annually with the real estate market. However, these overall increases or decreases to the assessment are calculated from the ratio of properties that have sold to the assessment at “Cash Value”. While the market may be indicating higher or lower appreciation rates than the annual assessment, it is important for a property owner to understand that local assessments will rise or fall in relationship to the sales of the local municipality.
Board of Review:
The March Board of Review, created under MCL 211.28 are appointed by the electors of the township board and shall be made up of at least 2/3 of its members by property taxpayers of the township of the local governmental unit. They shall meet to receive the annual assessment roll and shall proceed to examine and review the assessment roll.
MCL 211.29 states that the board shall correct errors in the names of persons, descriptions of property upon the roll the valuations of all real property. The roll shall be reviewed according to the facts existing on “tax day”. The roll as prepared by the assessor shall stand as approved and adopted as the act of the board of review, except as changed by a vote of the board.
The board of review shall meet a total of at least 12 hours during the week beginning the second Monday in March to hear protests, MCL 211.30. At the request of a person whose property is assessed on the assessment roll or of his or her agent, and on sufficient cause being shown, the board shall correct the assessed value or tentative taxable value of the property, in a manner as in their judgment will make the valuation of the property relatively just and proper under the this act.
A nonresident taxpayer may file his or hear appearance, protest, and papers in support of the protest by letter, and his or her personal appearance is not required. MCL 211.30(5) allows for the adoption by Frenchtown Charter Township electors to annually approve the adoption of a resolution to establish support for the protest by letter to also allow for a resident taxpayer to file their appearance, protest, and papers in support of the protest by letter.
Each person who makes a request, protest, or application to the board of review for the correction of the assessed value or tentative taxable value of the person’s property shall be notified in writing, not later than the first Monday in June, of the board of review’s action on their request and information regarding the right to appeal to the tax tribunal.
Upon adjournment of the annual “March Board of Review” the annual assessment roll, a majority of the board shall indorse the roll and sign a statement to the effect that the roll is the assessment roll of the township for the year in which it has been prepared and approved by the board of review.
The completed assessment roll is then delivered by the assessor to the county equalization director not later than the tenth day after the adjournment of the board of review, or the Wednesday following the first Monday in April, whichever date occurs first to be equalized by the county government, see MCL 211.34. County equalization is then directed to file the approved annual assessment roll to the State of Michigan for the establishment of the State Equalized Values under MCL 209.2 & 209.4.
The July and December Board of Review, will meet to review clerical errors or mutual mistake of fact or other specific errors relative to the correct assessment. The authority for correction of these types of errors is stated in the General Property Tax Law of the State of Michigan under 211.53b, 211.27a(4), or 211.7u.
If you are interested in serving a two-year term on the Board of Review you may submit a letter of interest to the Township Supervisor’s Office.
On March 15, 1994 the voters of the State of Michigan approved “Proposal A”, known as Public Act 415 of 1994 and PA 476 of 1996, which made significant changes to the State Constitution. Proposal A implemented a cap on the growth in Taxable Value or “Capped Value” at the rate of inflation or 5%, which ever of the two is lower plus additions and minus losses. Starting in 1995, property taxes were calculated using “Taxable Value” rather than State Equalized Value.
TAX LEVY FORMULA
Taxable Value x Voter Approved Millage = Tax Bill
Parcels of property subject to a Transfer of Ownership (MCL 211.27a) in the current calendar year will reflect a Taxable Value equal to the SEV in the following tax year.
What has not changed is the Method of Computing Assessed Value or the County and State Equalization process.
Knowing that it is a Taxable Value Cap and not an Assessed Value Cap accounts for the fact that annual assessments will reflect upwards or downwards market trends where the real estate values have increased or decreased, in the same manner that they were adjusted prior to the enactment of Proposal A.
County Equalization Sales Study (usually 24-month studies) are still required, to be prepared by, the County Equalization Departments and submitted to the State Tax Commission on or before December 31 annually.
Single year or 12 month studies are still appropriate only where there are severely declining real estate markets. State Equalization data is still to be prepared by the Assessment and Certification Division staff that serves the State Tax Commission. Each County Board of Commissioners still must annually equalize assessments for each Township and City within each County during its April Equalization Session.
The determination of assessments, preparation, and review of the annual assessment roll are still important and are required to be done by Assessor, Boards of Review, County and the State Equalization.
Properties of similar value within a township or city will reflect similar Assessed Values. In other words, the uniformity provisions of the 1963 Michigan Constitution still apply.
Property taxes are calculated, Tax Levy Formula, by multiplying the taxable value of a property times the Voter approved millage rate.
Frenchtown Charter Township levies both a summer and a winter tax annually against all assessable property. The local governmental unit is responsible for the collection of the current year tax bill. Taxes are payable to the Frenchtown Charter Township Treasurer. Due dates are printed on the bill. Please visit the Treasurers web page for additional information.
There has been an Attorney General opinion that states that property taxes are paid in arrears. However, in the event of a sale the responsibility of annual tax levies are to be determined by the buyer and seller. It is advisable for the perspective purchaser to visit the Assessor’s office before the purchase of property to aide the buyer in the future effects of taxes under Proposal A.
Approval of a Land Division requests for new parcels, combinations of lands, or boundary line adjustments will be created during the calendar year for the following years annual assessment roll.
Annual tax levies will be completed based on the establishment of the annual assessment roll for properties that existed on Tax Day. The requested division of a properties legal description will remain as it appears on tax day on the tax roll until the year following the approval of a property split.
The Appeal Process:
If you filed a petition with the annual March Board of Review to appeal your assessment valuation you may further file a letter of appeal to have your disagreement of their decision heard by the Michigan Tax Tribunal.
Michigan Tax Tribunal
P.O. Box 30232
Lansing, MI 48909
Letter of appeals filing dates with the Michigan Tax Tribunal are as follows:
Commercial, Industrial, Developmental, or Personal Property
Residential, Agricultural, and Timber-cutover
Property Classification appealed to the annual March Board of Review may be further appeals to the State Tax Commission by June 30th.
State Tax Commission
P.O. Box 30471
Lansing, MI 48909
Board of Review held in July and December actions may be appealed by sending a letter to request a petition to the Michigan Tax Tribunal within 30 days of the date of the notice.
There are two basic types of exemption. The first type of exemption from valuation for taxation is regulated under MCL 211 Section 7 of the General Property Tax Act.
These types of exemptions are more commonly known as: Poverty Exemption under 211.7u (annual exemption), Disabled Veterans with Specially Adapted Housing under Public Act 206 and 179 (annual exemption), or Real Estate exemptions. Please contact the Assessor’s office for an application if you believe that the property meets the requirements.
The second type of exemption from valuation of tax serves as a tax credit and does not reduce or change a properties Assessed or Taxable Value. These tax exemptions are more commonly known as: Principal Residence Exemption, Farmland Exemption, and Industrial Facility Tax Exemptions.
Principal Residences Exemption:
The Principal Residence Exemption Program, formerly known as the Michigan Homestead Exemption Program, allows homeowners an exemption from their local School Operating Millage. In accordance with Public Act 237 of 1994 it states that a homeowner that owns and occupies their property as their principal residence on or before May 1st of the calendar year, may exempt up to 18 mills (MCL 211.7cc).
The Farmland Exemption is available for property that is not classified as agricultural may be eligible for this exemption if more than 50% of the acreage is devoted to an agricultural use. If you believe that the property qualifies for this exemption, the form must be filed with the Assessor’s office by May 1. Please see the instructions on page two of the form for the qualifications.
Rescind Principal Residence Exemption:
The Request to Rescind Principal Residence Exemption is required to be filed with the Assessor’s office when you no longer meet the meet the two requirements of the Homestead exemption Act (MCL 211.7cc).
Not more than 90 days after the exempted property is no longer used as your principal residence, the homeowner claiming the exemption shall rescind the claim of exemption by filing the Request to Rescind Principal Residence Exemption (MCL 211.7cc(5). The exemption will be removed as of December 31st of the year you rescind the exemption.
Every parcel of land has a written tax description (MCL 211.24 and 211.25). Legal descriptions are described as platted subdivisions known as lots and blocks; units contained within a recorded Master Site Condominium document; rectangular survey, or as a metes and bounds description.
Because of Frenchtown’s unique location on Lake Erie and several inland waterways, the lands were first owned and described by those that used the lakes and rivers for transportation of goods. Ownership commenced at water’s edge and extended into irregular distances. Many of the Township’s modern descriptions today are based on these original French or Private Claims.
Each legal description is unique to a specific parcel of land. Any change in the description must be reviewed and approved by the Township. Click on the following italics for information about the Land division process.
In addition to real estate, the Assessor is mandated under MCL 211.18(2) to require any person who is believed to have personal property in their possession to make and sign a written statement of all the personal property of that person whether owned by that person or held for the use of another.
Taxable value of personal property is to be calculated separately from the calculation of real property (MCL 211.8b). Annually the owners of said personal property is required to file a Personal Property Statement reporting the acquisition cost new of each tangible asset located in the township (MCL 211.21). By law the statement is to be completed and filed with the Assessor’s office no later than February 20 (MCL 211.19) of each year.
Thank you for visiting the Frenchtown Charter Township Assessor’s Office website. We are constantly working to bring you new and up to date information. Our office hours are 8:30am to 4:30 pm. Have a nice day!