Board of Review To Hear Property Tax Appeals in March

The annual Assessment Change Notices will be mailed to Portage residential property owners by Friday, February 10, 2017. The Assessment Change Notice provides property owners information such as the valuation of the property, the amount of change in valuation from 2016 to 2017, the status of Principal Residence and whether the property’s taxable value was “uncapped” as a result of an ownership transfer.

City Assessor, Edward VanderVries, encourages property owners to review their Assessment Change Notice for accuracy and contact the Office of the City Assessor with questions or concerns. “Many issues can be addressed by assessing staff, without the necessity of appearing before the March Board of Review,” said VanderVries. “Certain questions regarding assessment change notices and property assessments can be answered over the phone, while others may be best answered during an informal in-person review with assessing staff.” Property owners who wish to discuss their property valuation with assessing staff may contact the Office of the City Assessor at 329-4433. The taxpayer will still have the opportunity to appeal to the Board of Review if not satisfied with the results of the Assessor’s review process. The City Assessor cannot make any changes to 2017 property valuations after the 2017 Assessment Roll has been turned over to the Board of Review in March.

Board of Review 

How Should I Prepare to Appeal My Property Valuation?
Property owners who choose to meet with assessing staff or appeal before the Board of Review should provide appropriate support for a particular position: 
  • Documentation of sales of similar homes in the neighborhood occurring between October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2016.
  • Current appraisals of the home.
  • Receipts or invoices for recent construction activity.
  • Photographs of property damage or deterioration.
  • Any information relevant to the assessment of the property.

Additional information is available here. Questions concerning any of this information can be directed to the Office of the City Assessor at 329-4433.

The Board of Review, appointed by the City Council, is responsible for hearing property tax valuation appeals from Portage property owners. If you believe your property valuation is inaccurate, and assessing staff were not able to address your concerns over the phone or during an informal meeting, you may appear before the March Board of Review to appeal the valuation. 

Issues that can be brought before the Board of Review include property valuation (SEV), assessment roll classification changes, veterans’ exemption requests and poverty exemption requests (see related article below). Taxable value is generally not appealable at the March Board of Review. This type of change is entirely a result of Proposal A and is limited by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), as determined by the State Tax Commission. For 2017 the CPI is 1.009, meaning that unless new construction has taken place, physical improvements have been made to the property or the assessed and taxable values are not the same amount, the taxable value may increase by 1.009.

Under Michigan law, the selling price of a property is not the presumptive True Cash Value.  In other words, the actual selling price is not what the City Assessor or Board of Review determines the assessed value to be. Selling price is only one measure of the value for the Board of Review to consider. 

Contact the Office of the City Assessor at 329-4433 beginning March 1, 2017 to schedule an appointment before the Board of Review.  The Board of Review is scheduled to meet:

  • Tuesday, March 14 12 noon to 5 p.m. & 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 15 12 noon to 5 p.m. & 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 16 9 a.m. to 12 noon & 1 to 5 p.m.

Additional dates and times will be scheduled as needed to ensure all Portage property owner concerns are addressed. Appeals may also be made by signed letter submitted to the Office of the City Assessor (Portage City Hall, 7900 South Westnedge Avenue, Portage, MI 49002) no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Click here to view the Policy for Written Appeals to the Board of Review.


Do you qualify for a 2017 Property Tax Exemption?

The City of Portage Board of Review can approve a one-year exemption from property taxes due to a resident’s poverty income level. This annual property tax exemption requires the applicant to be currently receiving the Principal Residence Exemption and meet federal household poverty exemption guidelines for the previous calendar year.

The Federal Household Income Guidelines determine the eligibility of the applicant and must be supported with proper income documentation (such as federal and state income tax returns for all persons residing in the principal residence, including any property tax credit returns) or by filing an affidavit for all persons residing in the residence who were not required to file federal or state income tax returns for the current or preceding tax year. Household assets (a maximum of $25,000) are also considered and must be reported on the application.

   Federal Household Income Guidelines    
 Household Size*  Maximum Income
1 person
2 persons $16,020
3 persons $20,160
4 persons $24,300
5 persons $28,440
6 persons $32,580
7 persons $36,730
8 persons $40,890
   * For households with more than 8 person, add $5,200
      for each additional person. 

Property owners may download the Property Tax Poverty Exemption Application by clicking here or pick up the form at the Office of the City Assessor (7900 South Westnedge Avenue). To be considered for the exemption at the March Board of Review, completed applications must be submitted to the Office of the City Assessor by March 1, 2017.

Generally, the Board of Review considers completed applications in relation to the federal household income guidelines and household assets, then determines by a simple majority vote whether to grant an exemption. Exemptions granted to residents due to poverty income levels are subject to audit by the Michigan Department of Treasury. More information may be obtained by contacting the Office of the City Assessor at 329-4433.