Legislative changes to the Property Tax Law address the issue of principal residence exemptions held by property owners not properly qualified for the exemption. Public Act 105 of 2003 was signed by the Governor on July 24, 2003 and took immediate effect.
View the complete text of PA 105 (MCL 211.7cc). (State of Michigan Legislature Website)
Beginning November 1, 2003 St Joseph County began a County-wide audit of existing principal residence exemptions.
Property owners identified as receiving an exemption without qualification are required to pay the 18 mill levy for the current year and up to three preceding years, with interest and penalties applied from the date the taxes were last payable without interest or penalty.
Properties will be identified based on information provided by the State of Michigan , as well as by an evaluation of each property’s current qualification factors.
If the cursory review of the property’s exemption qualifications is insufficient to validate the exemption, the property owner(s) will receive notification that the property is being audited. In most cases a questionnaire will be part of the notification mailing. The questionnaire must be completed by the property owner(s) and returned to the County by the date specified on the questionnaire. Failure to return the form may result in the denial of the exemption.
Determining how long it might take to complete any given property’s qualifications is uncertain. However, we anticipate that the vast majority of the determinations can be accomplished within thirty days of receipt of the completed questionnaire. Of course the more complex the circumstances the greater the time required to validate qualification.
Regardless of the outcome, every property owner receiving a notice of audit will receive notification of the findings. If it is determined that the property does not qualify for exemption, or is entitled to a partial exemption, the notice will also explain the reason(s) for the denial or reduction to the exemption and your rights to appeal the County decision to the Michigan Tax Tribunal, Small Claims Division.
Contact the St. Joseph County Land Resources Centre for more information (269) 467-5576.