Assessor FAQ

My tax bills are calculated based on taxable value instead of state equalized value. What is a taxable value?
Taxable values began in 1995 as part of Proposal A. Since then taxable values have been adjusted each year by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or 5%, whichever is less until property title transfers. Your taxable value cannot be greater than your state equalized value. In other words, Proposal A "capped" taxable value increases by the CPI or 5%, whichever is less.
Can my taxable value increase more than the rate of inflation?

Yes, under certain circumstances. Such as if a sale and/or a transfer of ownership occurs. In the year following a sale and/or transfer of ownership, the property becomes "uncapped" using the state equalized value (SEV) as a basis for the following year's taxable value. Michigan law states the actual sale price must not be the sole basis for the new SEV for that property.

Also, new construction to a property is added to the taxable value.

If my taxes are now based on taxable value, why is there an assessed value?
The Michigan Constitution still requires all properties to be assessed annually at 50% of market value. The assessed value is used in the year following a transfer of ownership to set the taxable value when a property "uncaps."
How was my assessed value determined?
Assessors use a state required mass appraisal method to value properties. We estimate land values from sales data and building values from a state cost manual. Then we analyze sales data from your neighborhood and develop factors to further adjust our estimates to reflect local market values.
I haven't made any improvements to my house. Why did my assessed value change?
Your market value can change even when there is no physical change to your property. A growing economy or increasing population can push housing values steadily upward. The Assessor does not create increases in property value. He/she recognizes changes as they occur and must adjust values accordingly.
Why is my change in assessed value different than my neighbor's?
Assessed value changes vary according to the individual characteristics of houses in relation to sales in your area. Building style, size, and amenities such as porches, decks, garages, and extra bathrooms affect value estimates.
My assessed value decreased, but my taxable value increased. Why?
The current sales information for your neighborhood may show a decline in values over last year's value. However the taxable value is tied to the Consumer Price Index and calculated annually causing an increase or decrease in your taxable value.
How do I know if my assessed value is reasonable?
Compare the market value of your property with sales of similar homes in your neighborhood. The sales should be on homes that are similar to yours in size, style, age, and condition.
I just bought a new house. Why isn't my assessed value one half of my sale price?
Michigan law prohibits assessors from basing values on one sale price. We are required to value your property based on mass appraisal methods. The same methods are used to value all properties. While we hope our value estimate is close to your sale price, it is an estimate and may not be the same as your recent sale.
What if I disagree with the assessed value on my property?
After gathering the facts about your assessed value, contact the Assessor at (989) 362-6241, or via email. Appeals are heard in March at the Board of Review, either by letter or in person. This step preserves your appeal rights for further action at the Michigan Tax Tribunal.
What is a "transfer of ownership?"
State law defines a "transfer of ownership" as "the conveyance of title to or present interest in property, including the beneficial use of the property." Transfers include deeds, land contracts, and a variety of transactions outlined on the back of the affidavit form.
What happens after ownership of a property is transferred?
The Michigan Constitution limits how much a property's taxable value can increase while owned by the same person. Once the property is transferred, the Assessor must change the taxable value to 50% of the property's usual selling price. In other words, in the year following the sale, the taxable value equals the current state equalized value.
Are certain types of transfers exempt from adjustment?
Yes. Some of the exempt transactions include changes in ownership solely to exclude or include a spouse, transferring a property into a trust where the sole beneficiary is the creator of the trust or that person's spouse, redemption from a tax sale, or transfer to affect the foreclosure. Some of the exempt transactions are listed on the affidavit form and full descriptions are in MCL Section 211.27a(7)(a-m)
What is the Principal Residence Exemption?
State law grants a principal residence exemption from local school operating taxes for your principal residence and qualified agricultural properties. Currently this is a reduction of 18 mills of school operating tax levy.
How do I qualify for the Principal Residence Exemption?
To qualify, by law you must own and occupy the property as your legal, primary residence by May 1st. Buyers who close and/or occupy the residence after May 1st are eligible for exemption the following year.
What form do I use to file for the Principal Residence Exemption?
If this is your first principal residence affidavit or if you are buying a property that was not previously exempted, you can use the form (2368). Principal Residence Exemption forms are also available at the Assessor's Office.
What if I stop using my exempted home as my primary residence?
If you stop using your exempt property as your principal residence but are not selling it, you are required to file a Request to Rescind Homeowner's Principal Residence Exemption (2602). This form must be filed within 90 days of the change. The exemption remains in effect through December 31st of that year.
What if I sell my house and buy a new one?
You need to rescind the principal residence exemption on the house you sold and request an exemption on your new house. Use a Request to Rescind Homeowner's PRE (2602) form to rescind your old exemption and the Principal Residence Exemption Affidavit (2368) form for your new residence. The Michigan Department of Treasury recommends the forms be completed and distributed by the closing agent who supervises real estate transactions. PRE forms are also available at the Assessor's Office. 
How are my taxes computed?

Taxes are computed by multiplying your taxable value times the total mills. A mill is $1.00 per thousand dollars of taxable value. An easy formula to calculate taxes is shown below: 

Taxable Value x Mills / 1,000 = Taxes

Remember: A principal residence is exempt from 18 mills of school operating taxes. (This is only meant as an example formula, not necessarily an accurate estimate of your taxes.)

Why did my taxes increase?

Taxes can increase because:

  1. The millage rate increased.
  2. Your taxable value increased.
  3. Taxable value was adjusted by the annual Consumer Price Index.
  4. Taxable value was uncapped after property ownership transferred.
  5. New construction or omitted items were added.
Why are my neighbor's taxes less than mine?
Property values are determined individually and differences in style, size, condition, and amenities cause differences in taxable value. If you recently purchased your property, your taxable value was uncapped. Your neighbor's taxable value may still be capped and less than yours. A lower taxable value means lower taxes.
I'm building a new house. How can I estimate the taxes?
Estimate your annual taxes by multiplying 1/2 of the estimated total value of the completed home times the tax rate. Be sure to add land value to your value estimate before computing your estimated taxes.
I don't have any children in school. Why do I have to pay school taxes?
Michigan law requires everyone to support local public schools through property taxes. Eligible homeowners may be exempt for 18 mills of school operating taxes, but are still responsible for school debt, building funds, and state education taxes.
My mortgage company raised my house payment because of my taxes.Why did the taxes go up so much?
Typically this happens about one year after you buy a new house. Your mortgage company probably based your original tax escrow payment on the last known taxes. After you purchased the property, its taxable value was uncapped for the next tax year. The taxes were then based on a higher value. Once this happens, your mortgage company re-evaluated your escrow amounts and changed your payment to cover the actual taxes on your home. They may also increase your payment to make up any shortfalls in the previous year.
How can I estimate my monthly tax escrow payment?
One way to avoid escrow shortages is to base your tax escrow payments on estimated taxes. Use 1/2 of your sale price (if it is a market value sale) times the tax rate to estimate your total taxes. Divide by 12 to get a monthly amount. Feel free to call the Assessing Office at (989) 362-6241 if you need assistance.
Do I have any delinquent taxes on my property?
Because the Assessor has access to the City Treasurer's payment records, we can answer questions about current taxes due. Taxes due for prior years must be checked at the Iosco County Treasurer's Office at (989) 362-4409.
Who owns the vacant lot next to the brown house on ____ Street?
When trying to locate information on vacant property, it is sometimes easier to visit the Assessing Office and allow us to help you locate the property on a tax map. 
How can I find my property lines?
If you need to find your property lines, you should contact a local surveyor to perform this service. Several are listed in the yellow pages of the phone books. We can provide your lot size and a copy of your plot map to get you started, but we cannot survey or locate stakes on your property.
Where can I get a copy of my deed?
Copies of recorded deeds and land contracts can be obtained from the Iosco County Register of Deeds Office in Tawas City.
I have a question that wasn't answered on this page. What do I do?
Please contact the Assessing Office at (989) 362-6241 or via email