Frequently Asked Questions
When are my summer taxes due?
Summer property taxes are due in the Treasurer’s Office by 4:30 p.m. on September 14. Frenchtown does accept post marks for this payment if received within 7 days, so be sure to mail your payment with plenty of time to spare. There is also a 24-hour drop box located to the left of the main entrance doors at the Frenchtown Charter Township Hall. However, drop box payments received after 4:30 p.m. on September 14 will be considered received on the 15th.
Do you accept credit cards for payment?
At this time, Frenchtown does not accept credit card payments. VISA/Mastercard charges its customers an interchange fee of approximately 3%. On a $1,000 tax bill, the township would have to pay approximately $30 to the credit card company and that money would have to come out of general fund operations. There are municipalities that use credit card companies, but they charge the customer a “user fee” equal to the 3% interchange fee. You would have to pay the fee and the full tax bill. We have investigated this service, but have discovered through talking to other municipalities that it is seldom used. The Treasurer’s office accepts cash and check payments only. I need a copy of a paid receipt.
Where can I get one?
The Treasurer’s office can provide you with a copy of your paid tax bill during our normal business hours or you may visit our on-line tax information service at http://frenchtowntwp.is.bsasoftware.com/. You may also send in a request with a postage paid envelope for a copy of your bill. Please note that there is a $.50 fee for any tax copies that are not your own. Your tax payment history is also available through the link listed above or by selecting the “On-Line Tax Information” button on the Treasurer’s home page. Our payment history file goes back approximately 10 years and will show both the dollar amount and date paid.
Who receives the funds from my summer tax bill?
The summer tax bill is remitted to the Monroe County Treasurer who then disperses the State Education Tax (SET) to the State of Michigan for the school fund and retains the remaining portion for general county operations. Frenchtown Township does not retain any of the funds from the summer collection.
What do the terms Assessed Value, State Equalized Value and Taxable Value mean on my Tax Bill?
A basic knowledge of these terms will help you better understand Michigan property tax law.
Assessed Value (AV)-the assessed value helps determine market value. Set by the assessor, the Assessed Value when multiplied by two will give an approximate market value of the property. The assessor is constitutionally required to set the Assessed Value at 50% of the usual selling price or True Cash Value of the property.
State Equalized Value (SEV) -SEV is the Assessed Value that has been adjusted following county and state equalization. The County Board of Commissioners and the Michigan State Tax Commission must review local assessments and adjust (equalize) them if they are above or below the constitutional 50% level of assessment.
Taxable Value– multiplying the Taxable Value by the local millage rate will determine your tax liability. Taxable Value increases from year to year by the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is lower. Transfers of ownership and improvements to the property will increase the Taxable Value more than the rate of inflation. The Taxable Value is never to exceed the SEV.
For a greater explanation of the assessment process please utilize the Assessing Department portion of our site.
Property values in my neighborhood have been decreasing. Will my property tax bill be decreasing as well?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a yes or no answer to that question. If you’ve owned your property for a significant amount of time, more than likely your State Equalized Value (SEV) far exceeds your Taxable Value. If this is the case, a decrease in valuation, caused by a cooling real estate market, will be reflected in the SEV. The Taxable Value is required by the Michigan Constitution to increase each year by the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is lower. In the case of a longtime property owner, the SEV could decrease, while the Taxable Value will increase.
Does that mean I’ll pay more property taxes instead of less?
In the previous scenario, yes you would. The Taxable Value will rise by the annual inflationary increase. This figure multiplied by the local unit’s millage rate will determine your new property tax liability.
Why won’t my taxes decrease if my property value is going down?
Proposal A allowed many residents to pay property taxes on less than half of their market value by “capping” the Taxable Value, while still allowing the assessor to determine the market value by adjusting the SEV. This has caused, for many property owners, a great disparity between the SEV figure and the Taxable Value figure. The assessor can reduce the SEV to reflect the change in property value, but if the Taxable Value is still well below theSEV, it will keep increasing until the two figures meet. Taxes are based on Taxable Value; therefore, you will end up with a tax increase until the Taxable Value calculation catches up to the SEV.
Will my taxes ever go down?
If a property’s value decreases each year, the SEV will eventually meet the Taxable Value. The Taxable Value cannot exceed the SEV. When this happens, decreases in SEV will cause decreases in Taxable Value, which will then lower your property tax liability. Due to the potential gap between the SEV and Taxable Value figures, it would take several years of depressed market conditions to make the SEV and Taxable Value equal. If you happen to be a property owner who purchased a property in the last few years and are experiencing decreasing property value, the SEV and Taxable Value figures could meet sooner than someone who has owned the property for a long period of time.
What are some of the disadvantages about the Proposal A legislation?
Unfortunately, there have been a few downfalls. Two of the most common concerns that we hear regularly are:
- Neighbors paying completely different tax amounts for similar homes,
- An uneasiness about moving to new properties because of the fear of a very high tax increase.
What is a Principal Residence Exemption?
If you own and occupy a home on your property before May 1st of a given year, you are entitled to a Principal Residence Exemption for that year. This will result in an exemption of the 18 school operating mills otherwise collected on your winter tax bill. You are notified of the exemption status on both of your tax bills and on your February assessment notice. The exemption will be illustrated by a percentage such as 100.00% if you are fully eligible or a 0.00% if you are not. You are only entitled to one Principal Residence exemption in or out of Michigan.
Can I contest my annual Assessed Value and Taxable Value?
Every property owner has the right to appeal their property valuations. However, the opportunity only comes once a year and if the opportunity is missed, there isn’t another opportunity for that current year. Your annual “Assessment Change Notice”, mailed by the Assessing Department in February, will provide you with the dates and times for the March Board of Review. If you wish to contest your assessment, you must either appear or send your appeal to the March Board of Review. Some options do remain for appealing an error, please contact our Assessing Department for that process.
How can I estimate my tax increase from an Assessment Change Notice or the new construction I am considering?
The State of Michigan offers an Estimated Property Tax Calculator. Follow the prompts using the taxable increase stated on your notice or 50% of the value (not necessarily cost) of the improvement you are considering. If you recently purchased your home, use half the purchase price for your taxable value estimate.