Latest News

Real Estate Tax Appeals

In Michigan, property owners receive an annual assessment notice which identifies the value the local assessor believes is the value of a property owner's property.  If a property owner believes the assessment is incorrect, it is their responsibility to take immediate action and prepare to challenge the assessment. 

If a property owner believes their assessment should be challenged, it is imperative that they engage a firm like Kickham Hanley (“KH”) to assist them in challenging the assessment.  KH has the requisite knowledge and experience to challenge assessments.  Whether the property at issue is an apartment complex, retail center, industrial or office building, or vacant land, KH can assist property owners in challenging their assessments.  The challenge is a technical process which requires a working knowledge of the administrative process.  It is rather common for KH to reach equitable settlements with local assessors.  However, where local assessors are overly insistent in refusing to reduce an assessment, and KH has evidence supporting its position, KH will take the matter to trial in the Tribunal and, if necessary, appeal the Tribunal's decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

 KH has challenged successfully the real estate tax assessments of virtually every classification of commercial property, including office, retail and industrial buildings, resulting in millions of dollars in reductions in the assessed value.  Among other recent victories, KH successfully challenged the tax assessments for Northland Mall in Southfield and Summit Place Mall in Waterford Township, Michigan. KH routinely handles tax appeals for owners of shopping malls, retail strip centers, industrial and commercial properties.

 KH is a firm that only represents property owners and can vigorously challenge assessments without a conflict with a municipality.  KH is not a tax service that settles a challenge at the first mention of litigation.  Rather, KH is a law firm that embraces the opportunity to challenge an assessment before the Tribunal.  KH will diligently represent a property owner's interest and will not settle or resolve their challenge until it makes sense to do so.    

What is the cost of KH's services?  KH is compensated from the refund it achieves for the property owner for each year under appeal.  KH typically receives 33.33% of the reduction in taxes (typically paid out of a refund of previously paid taxes), if the appeal is settled prior to a trial and 45% of the reduction if a trial is necessary to resolve the matter.  KH will consider an hourly arrangement in limited circumstances.

Michigan has experienced an unprecedented and precipitous reduction in real estate values which should cause every property owner to evaluate their property's value.  If a property's true cash value is not consistent with the annual assessment, the property owner should challenge the assessment.  Kickham Hanley stands ready to make those challenges.

For more detailed information concerning  property assessment, click HERE.