Tax & Assessing FAQ

Click on a Question and Answer title to show the frequently asked questions in that category or use the Search bar to search for your question.
When can I expect my tax bill?

Summer taxes are mailed by July 1st, and Winter taxes are mailed by December 1st each year.
When are my taxes due?

Summer taxes are due September 14th of each tax year, and Winter taxes are due February 14th of the following year.    If due dates fall on a weekend or holiday, taxes will be due the next business day.

Please note when mailing your payment, Postmarks are not accepted as the payment date.
I didn't receive my bill.  What should I do?

Call our office immediately (734) 449-2880. We will send you a duplicate bill. Please note, it is the taxpayers responsibility to pay the taxes by the due date regardless of whether a bill was received or not.

If you wish to make a mailing address and/or name change on a tax billing, you must complete the Township's Address Change Form and return it to the Township Office, 8350 Main St., Whitmore Lake, MI 48189.  
All name changes on tax billings must have a copy of the deed attached.
How can I change the mailing address for my tax bill?

If you wish to make a mailing address and/or name change on a tax billing, you must complete the Township's Address Change Form and return it to the Township Office, 8350 Main St., Whitmore Lake, MI 48189.  
All name changes on tax billings must have a copy of the deed attached.
What types of payment are accepted for tax bills?

Our Township accepts cash, check, or credit/debit card for tax payments.  There is a processing fee for credit/debit card payments.  Please see our "Make a Payment" page for more details.
How can I look up my tax and assessing records?

The following Link will provide updated information for assessing records, as well as property tax and utility billing information.  Through this system, you are able to review tax information on any property in Northfield Township.  You may also pay your bills online through this interface.

Property Tax Information (BS&A Online)
How are my taxes calculated?

The tax bill amount is the product of the taxable value of the property multiplied by the millage rate plus a 1% administration fee.  The taxable value is determined as part of the assessment process by the Township Assessor and the growth of the taxable value is limited to inflation by Proposal A unless there has been a change in the ownership of the property. The millage rate is determined by the various taxing entities, including the Library, School District, Police, Fire and General Fund operations of the Township.
Why is there an administrative fee on my tax bill?

The General Property Tax Law provides that a local property tax collecting unit may add a property tax administration fee of not more than 1% of the total tax bill per parcel.  This is a common fee administered by many units of government collecting property taxes.  This fee helps to offset the cost of processing, printing and mailing the tax bills each year.
What happens if my tax payment is late?

Late payments are assessed a 1% interest fee the day after the payment is due and each month after.  On February 15th, an additional 3% penalty is assessed.  

As of March 1st each year, any unpaid taxes are sent to Washtenaw County as delinquent.  At that point, taxes are due and payable to the County only, not at the Township offices.  The County will mail statements with their fees included.  Payment address: Washtenaw County, 200 N. Main St., Ann Arbor, MI 48107.  (734) 222-6600.
How can I get a Tax Deferment?

Deferring payment on taxes to a later date without penalty is available to some homeowners.  You must certify that you meet all the criteria to qualify for a deferment.  The form must be completed, signed, and returned to our office before the tax due date for each season.  Don't forget to list the tax year at the top of the form.

Click here for the Deferment Form.
How can I estimate my property taxes?
What is Personal Property?

Personal Property is the tangible (physical) assets of a business. Personal Property should not be confused with real property.

Personal Property consists of many items such as: furniture, fixtures, machinery, equipment, office equipment, computer equipment and signs. Contact the Assessor’s Office if you have questions whether an item qualifies as personal property.
Where and how often do I have to file a personal property statement?

Personal Property statements are filed each year with the jurisdiction that the personal property was located in on December 31st. Personal property is valued at market (true-cash) value and assessed at 50% thereof. Personal Property statements are mailed the first week of January and must be completed, signed and returned by February 20th. If a personal property statement is not returned by the February 20th deadline, by law, the Assessor is required to estimate an assessed value.
How do I determine if my small business is eligible for a personal property tax exemption?

MCL 211.9o provides for a personal property tax exemption for “eligible personal property”, commonly referred to as the Small Business Taxpayer Exemption (Form 5076).  The Small Business Tax defines “eligible personal property” as meeting all of the following criteria: 

  • The personal property must be or would be classified as industrial personal property or commercial personal property as defined in MCL 211.34c. 
  • The combined true cash value of all industrial personal property and commercial personal property owned by, leased by or in the possession of the owner or related entity claiming the exemption is less than $80,000.  
  • The property is not leased to or used by a person that previously owned the property or a person that, directly or indirectly controls, or controlled, or under common control with the person that previously owned the property. 

           Click for Small Business Taxpayer Exemption (Form 5076) 

What are my responsibilities as a business owner?

You must notify Northfield Township Assessor’s Office when your business moves into or out of the Township.  Also, if you anticipate purchasing a business, make sure that the seller has paid the personal property taxes. The tax bills may be in the name of the old business, but the tax lien on the personal property remains. Therefore, the personal property may be seized to pay delinquent personal property taxes even though you may be the new business owner.
What type of information do I need to include on my personal property statement?

The total original installed costs for each item of personal property by the year of purchase.
Do i need to include used equipment on my personal property statement?

If an item was purchased used, you must report the original cost of the item in the year it was purchased AS NEW. Do not report the cost you paid for the item as used. (You may have to contact the seller for original costs information.)

If you have personal property that has been fully expensed or depreciated for Federal Income Tax or financial accounting purposes, the original cost in the year purchased MUST be reported on your personal property statement. When you sell or get rid of an item of personal property, the original cost of the item should not be included on your statement when you file the following year.
Do I include equipment that I am leasing on my personal property statement?

Yes, this equipment should be reported on Section J of your personal property statement. Be sure to include the type of equipment, leasing company name and mailing address. The leasing company may be responsible for payment of the personal property tax. However, be sure to read our rental/lease agreement to verify if the leasing company or your business is responsible for the tax.
I lease the space my business occupies.  Do I pay personal property tax on the leased space?

Yes, Personal Property is a tax on the physical (tangible) assets of the business, not the structure or building itself. Therefore, the owner of the business, not the owner of the building, is assessed a personal property tax.
I operate my business out of my home.  Do I pay personal property taxes on my home business?

Yes, regardless of where the business is located, if a business is situated within Northfield Township, it is subject to a personal property tax. However, if you are the sole proprietor of a business and live within the Township, you may qualify for a partial exemption of the personal property tax.

Click here for Small Business Taxpayer Exemption (Form 5076).  Note that this form needs to be updated each year.  

Where does my personal property tax go after it's collected?

When you receive your personal property tax bill, it will have itemized amounts as to where the tax money is distributed. In Northfield Township, those entities include, but are not limited to: Washtenaw County, Northfield Township, Police Protection, Fire/Medical Rescue Protection, Ann Arbor, Dexter, South Lyon or Whitmore Lake Schools, State Education Fund, Washtenaw Intermediate Schools, Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, Dexter or Northfield Township Library. Essentially, personal property tax money goes to the same entities as real property tax. The tax rate used to calculate the amount of tax is the non-homestead tax rate.
What if I want to appeal the assessed value of my personal property taxes?

If you disagree with your assessment, please contact the Assessor’s Office. If needed, you may appeal to the Board of Review in March and further to the Michigan Tax Tribunal. However, in order to file to the Michigan Tax Tribunal, you must have filed your personal property tax statement and you must have appealed to the Board of Review.
What happens if my business moves out of Northfield Township?

December 31st is the tax day in the State of Michigan. Unlike real property where taxes are prorated at the time of sale, a personal property tax is due for the entire year. For example, if your business moves out of the Township on any day during the calendar year following tax day (December 31st), you, as a business owner, are still liable for the personal property tax for the remainder of the calendar year.

Personal property taxes would be due to the City or Township your business re-locates to the following year. Your business cannot be taxed a personal property tax by two jurisdictions in the same year.
What happens if my personal property taxes become delinquent?

The non-payment of personal property taxes could result in seizure of the personal property. If you have a dispute, pay the taxes and pursue action to show why reimbursement should be made. Once the opportunity to appeal with the Board of Review has passed and a tax bill has been issued, the assessment and tax bill are both valid and the tax is not refundable. The Treasurer is authorized to seize and sell personal property of a business if personal property taxes remain unpaid.
What if I want to appeal my taxes?

The State of Michigan established the appeal process to assure that the property tax system would function in an equitable fashion. It is the taxpayers right to take advantage of this process.  The Board of Review meets in March each year to hear tax appeals.  We have provided the following links to information on appealing your taxes.

Board of Review Petition to Appeal your Taxes
Board of Review
Appealing your Taxes and Assessment
FAQ on the Appeal Process
What are the responsibilities of the Board of Review?

The Assessor turns the assessment roll over to the Board of Review, who can increase or decrease any improper assessment. The Board has no control over millage rates or property taxes.  The Board of Review hears appeal cases from the public in March each year, and meets in July and December each year to address clerical errors, mutual mistakes of fact, and situations involving hardship exemptions, principal residence exemptions, and qualified agricultural property exemptions.
Are Board of Review meetings open to the public?

Under the Open Meetings Act, anyone can attend the meetings, including members of the press.
Who may file an appeal?

An Owner or Authorized Agent may file an appeal regarding the assessment of property within the Northfield Township's Jurisdiction.  By law, non-resident property owners can appeal by letter. As of 2015, the Township Board of Trustees adopted a Resolution to allow resident property owners the right to appeal by letter as well.  Please call to schedule an appointment if you or your agent would like to appeal in person.
What types of appeals will the Board of Review hear?

The Board of Review has the authority to act on appeals of:

Classification:  This is roughly equivalent to zoning or use. The six classifications are: Agricultural, Commercial, Developmental, Industrial, Residential, and Timber Cutover.

Status:  Certain properties, such as Churches, are tax exempt. Sometimes there are unusual situations that create appeals.

Equity:  All properties within the jurisdiction are to be assessed at the same ratio; 50% of True Cash Value.

Hardship:  Poverty stricken property owners can request tax assistance from the Board of Review. Household financial documentation will be necessary.

Valuation: This is by far the bulk of the appeals. It is important to remember that neither the Assessor or the Board of Review can affect the millages or taxes. They can change an assessment if shown that it exceeds 50% of True Cash Value.

How can I make an effective appeal of assessed value?

The taxpayer must give evidence to show that the assessment is incorrect. The Board of Review needs good reasons to alter an assessment. It is imperative to be able to answer the questions "What do you think your property is worth?" and "What are you basing that opinion on?"

All assessments are to be based on the sales of similar properties. You may hire a professional appraiser, or you can look at sales in your neighborhood and compare them to your home. The Assessor's Office will give you sales information. But remember, this is your appeal and the paperwork should be done by someone for you or by you. Per State law, the sale's price of a property can not be the sole determining factor of the assessment of that property. Neither the assessor nor the Board of Review can raise or lower a property's assessment based solely on its sales price.

Should I appeal my taxes?

The Board of Review functions in many ways like a court although its procedures are less formal. Like a court, it has the authority to decide on certain issues based on evidence. In deciding whether to appeal your assessment to the Board of Review, you should first answer these two questions:

  1. Does your protest involve an issue that the Board of Review has authority to decide?
  2. Do you have supporting evidence?
How should I present my appeal?


If you are protesting on the value of your property, you should be prepared to justify why your property would not sell for twice the assessed value.

If you are appealing based on hardship, documentation will be necessary. You should contact your local unit for details.

The better information you bring to the Board, the better they will be able to make a fair determination.

REMEMBER, THE BOARD OF REVIEW IS FOR YOU, AND YOU CAN BE EFFECTIVE

     . . . PREPARE A CONCISE APPEAL
     . . . USE VALID DOCUMENTATION
     . . . STICK TO THE FACTS
     . . . BE ORGANIZED AND OBJECTIVE

How can I review and compare sales?

As an  example, let's say that in your neighborhood a home is sold for $80,000 and is identical to yours except it has no garage and you have a two car garage. You have determined that your garage is worth $4,000 to $6,000. Another home sold for $96,000. It has the same house and garage as yours, but has an extra lot. Land sales show that the value of this lot is $8,000.

 Sale 1

 $80,000

 +4,000

 =84,000

 

 

 +6,000

 +86,000

 Sale 2

 $96,000

 -8,000

 =88,000

How will I know the Board of Review's decision?

The Board of Review will probably not give the decision at the time of the hearing, but will mail the decision as soon as possible. Along with this notification, will be information about the Michigan Tax Tribunal.
Are the Board of Review decisions permanent?

No. The decisions are binding only for the current assessment year.
What if I disagree with the Board of Review's decision?  Can I appeal the Board of Review's decision?

A residential assessment reviewed by the Board can be appealed to the Michigan Tax Tribunal; their appeal deadline is July 31st.
How can I look up my assessment records?

The following Link will provide updated information for assessing records, as well as property tax and utility billing information.  Through this system, you are able to review tax and assessing information on any property in Northfield Township.  

Property Tax Information (BS&A Online)
I just bought property in Northfield Township.  How do I transfer the property into my name?

To transfer a property into a new owner's name, you would need to complete a Property Transfer Affidavit (PTA).  A PTA must be filed whenever real estate or some types of personal property are transferred (even if you are not recording a deed). It is used by the assessor to ensure the property is assessed properly and receives the correct taxable value. It must be filed by the new owner with the assessor for the city or township where the property is located within 45 days of the transfer.
What is Proposal A?

Proposal A, passed by the voters on March 15, 1994, places a limit on the value used to compute property taxes. Starting in 1995, your property taxes were calculated on Taxable Value. Prior to 1995, your taxes were calculated on State Equalized Value.

If there was a transfer of ownership on your property during the current year, the following year's Taxable Value will be the same as your new State Equalized Value.

If there was not a transfer of ownership on your property in the current year, the following year's Taxable Value is calculated by multiplying the previous year's Taxable Value by the Consumer Price Index for the current year.

Physical changes in your property may also increase or decrease your Taxable Value. Your Taxable Value cannot be higher than your State Equalized Value.

Understanding Proposal A
What is a Principle Residence Exemption (PRE) and how can I file for one?

The Homeowner’s Principal Residence Exemption (PRE) is an exemption from a portion of the local school operating tax. To be eligible to receive the exemption, the property must be owned and occupied as your principal residence. Business or rental property, or 2nd homes (vacation homes) which are not your primary residence, do not qualify for the exemption. 

Principal Residence Exemption (PRE) Affidavit