All non-exempt property must be assessed at 50 percent of true cash value and uniformly assessed with other property in the classification. The purpose of the board of review is to ascertain that this has been accomplished. A taxpayer may appeal his or her assessed value and/or taxable value. No person can appeal his or her assessment to the tax tribunal unless he or she has first appeared before the board of review.
The board of review consists of three members appointed by the township board for a two-year term that begins on January 1 of each odd-numbered year. Townships may appoint six- or nine-member boards of review to hear appeals in subcommittees composed of three members each. Two members of a subcommittee constitute a quorum. The assessment roll, however, must be endorsed by a majority of the entire board.
Each member must take the constitutional oath of office, administered by the clerk, within 10 days after appointment. Board of review members must be qualified electors, land owners and tax payers. No member of the school board or township board nor a spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, son or daughter, including an adopted child, of the assessor may serve on the board of review.
The township supervisor serves as board of review secretary and is statutorily responsible for the board of review minutes, but does not vote, except on poverty exemptions. In the absence of the supervisor, the board must appoint one of its members as secretary. The board of review’s minutes should provide an accurate account of what occurred at the meetings, including all assessment roll changes. The minutes must be filed with the township clerk together with any statements made by persons assessed. The State Tax Commision may prescribe the form of the record.
The board of review meets on the Tuesday following the first Monday in March to review and examine the property assessment roll made by the assessor–this meeting is often referred to as the organizational meeting. The board of review is not required to hear individual assessment appeals at its organizational meeting. However, the Open Meetings Act requires that citizens be given an opportunity for public comment at any open meeting of a public body. The board of review is governed by the Open Meetings Act and must allow for a public comment period. The board can establish reasonable rules for the public comment period, including limiting the amount of time an individual may speak and the time on the agenda when public comment will be permitted. Any established rules or procedures should be posted where the board of review meetings will be held and additional copies should be available for individuals attending the meetings.
Notice of the board of review’s meeting time, date and place must be published at least one week prior to the meeting in a newspaper of general circulation within the township. The notice must appear in three successive issues of the newspaper; if none is available, the notice must be posted in five conspicuous township places.
The board of review has the authority to do the following:
The board of review must also meet on the second Monday in March from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for not less than six hours to hear taxpayer appeals. It shall also meet for not less than six hours during the remainder of that week. Those appearing to file an appeal at a scheduled meeting or appointment shall be given an opportunity to be heard by the board.
The board must hold at least three hours of its required sessions during the week of the second Monday in March after 6 p.m. The board shall meet a total of at least 12 hours during the week beginning the second Monday in March to hear appeals. It must make such changes on the assessment roll as will make the valuation of property relatively just and equal. It may examine on oath any person appearing before it. A non-resident taxpayer may file an appearance or appeal by letter. If the township board chooses, they may pass a resolution or ordinance to also permit resident taxpayers to file an appeal to the board of review in writing, thus waiving the requirement of a personal appearance. Taxpayers must be notified by mail or in the published notice of such right to appear by letter.
The board of review must schedule a final meeting after it makes any change in the assessment of property or adds property to the roll. Every person who makes an appeal shall be notified in writing by the board not later than the first Monday in June of the board’s action on the appeal. This notice must include information concerning the right to further appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal, the time limits for such appeal and the tribunal’s address. A majority of the board must endorse the roll and sign a statement to the effect of its approval of the roll as amended. The completed roll must be delivered by the supervisor or assessor to the county equalization director not later than the 10th day after the board of review’s adjournment or the Wednesday following the first Monday in April, whichever date first occurs.
The board of review may also meet on the Tuesday following the second Monday in December, and on the Tuesday after the third Monday in July to review and correct any clerical errors or mutual mistakes of fact on assessments where such errors or mistakes are certified by the township supervisor or assessor. The mistakes can involve the current or preceding tax year. Public Act 74 of 1995 also allows the July or December board of review to grant a principal residence or agricultural exemption in the year for which the exemption was claimed or the immediate succeeding year.
The board may also grant poverty or hardship exemptions to qualified individuals under federal and township guidelines, including deviations from those guidelines for substantial and compelling reasons. A poverty exemption appeal may be heard at the July or December board of review, but only for the year in which the appeal is made.
Information based from Authorities & Responsibilities of Michigan Township Officials, Boards and Commissions. 2000 Revised edition. Author John H. Bauckham.