General Assessing Information
Escanaba Township is staffed by Two assessors (Joe + Colleen Maki) who can be reached by calling 906-280-4365.
The assessor is responsible for identifying and valuing all taxable real and personal property within the township. Escanaba Township has 2707 parcels.
The Assessor determines values through an analysis of recently sold properties. By law assessments must be set at 50% of the true cash value (Market Value). There are three key components to each property that must be calculated every year:
-State Equalize Value SEV: Half of Market Value
-Capped Value: (last year’s taxable value –losses) X Consumer Price Index + additions.
-Taxable Value: The lesser of SEV or capped value.
Assessment change notices are mailed annually (Late February). This is the taxpayers opportunity to review important information pertaining to his or her property. Please be sure to examine valuations (mentioned above), classifications, legal descriptions and principle residence exemption status.
In addition the assessor is responsible for:
-Maintaining property record cards for each parcel within the unit – these records include legal descriptions, land values, land improvements, building information, exemption status, value enhancing amenities, zoning information, etc.
-Creating and maintaining an assessment roll annually.
-Maintenance of all sales transactions on both vacant and improved properties; identifying and recording new ownerships, processing related property transfer affidavits, homeowners principle residence exemptions and requests to rescind.
-Establish land values throughout the township annually.
-Field inspections of all new construction projects and updating property record cards accordingly.
-Land Division requests
-Defending appeals to the Michigan Tax Tribunal.
Approved by Michigan Voters in 1994 Proposal A significantly altered Michigan Property Tax Law. Prior to 1995, taxes were calculated on State Equalized Value, which approximates half of market value. Beginning in 1995, taxes were based on a new value: Taxable Value. By law the increase in Taxable Value cannot exceed the lesser of two factors: Consumer Price Index (C.P.I.) or 5%. However, some circumstances will alter that computation, namely: Transfers of ownership, new construction or demolition.
If a transfer of ownership occurred in 2012 then the capped value no longer applies. For 2013 the State Equalized Value will be the new Taxable Value. We refer to this as an “uncapping of taxable value”. The new purchaser will be subject to a new starting base taxable value. Barring any physical changes to the property (new construction or demolition), the taxable value will again increase at the lesser of the two rates: C.P.I. or 5%. Assessed values, as equalized, are still required to be at 50% of Market Value. Assessments are reviewed and updated annually. Increases in assessment are not subject to any cap or formula.
Every Division of land in Escanaba Township that is not in a platted subdivision or site condominium is required to file a land division form with the assessor or zoning administrator. Land division has been the State of Michigan name for the division of parcels since March of 1997 (it was previously known as the Subdivision control act). Parcels divided and sold without an approval are not required to be treated as separate parcels in the assessment roll. A copy of the Parcels Division application can be obtained “here”.
What are the eligibility requirements for receiving the Homeowners Principle Residence Exemption?
A. You are a resident of the State of Michigan.
B. You own and occupy the home as your principle residence before May 1st of any particular year.
C. Neither you, nor your spouse if you file a joint income tax return, receive an exemption, deduction, or credit substantially similar to Michigan Homeowner Principle Residence Exemption on property you own in another State.
D. You have not filed a non-resident Michigan income tax return.
E. You have not filed a tax return as a resident of another state.
F. Property which is vacant and contiguous to your principle residence is eligible for the exemption.
What is a Michigan Resident?
You are a Michigan Resident if Michigan is your permanent home. Your permanent home is the place you intend to return to whenever you go away.
A temporary absence from Michigan, such as spending the winter in another state, does not make you a part-year resident.
What determines a principle residence?
Michigan law defines principle residence as the one place where a person has his or her true, fixed and permanent home to which, whenever absent he or she intends to return and that shall continue as a principle residence until another principle residence is established. In order to verify a persons claim that a particular property is a principle residence, Treasury will accept various documents including Drivers license, voter registration card, cancelled checks listing the property address, income tax records indicating the mailing address and insurance policies.
If a residence no longer qualifies for the Homeowners Principle Residence Exemption, you must file a request to recind form.
Why does the assessed value change from year to year?
The assessed value must reflect 50% of market value. Market Value is a product of the prices paid for multiple properties in a municipality. As the sale prices of properties increase/decrease, so does the market value and assessed value. All property values do not change to the same degree, as some have water frontage or scenic views for example that may increase their value more rapidly than others. Some may have limited access or limited utilities which could affect the value. Homeowners have a responsibility to report any changes made to their property that would affect its value, such as a building destroyed by fire. A building permit is required for all new buildings and the assessor is notified by the building department of these.
If I am unhappy with the assessed value, what can I do about it?
The first thing to do is talk to your local assessor about the valuation on your parcel. Check the appraisal records to make sure all the components of the property are correct. Appraisal record cards are considered public records and can be reviewed by calling the assessor. If you wish to proceed at this point, you can appear before the Board of Review which meets during the second week of March each year. The three member Board of Review is set up under the Michigan General Property Tax Law, members recommended by supervisors, and approve by the Township Board at a public meeting. If you are gone from the area and wish to appeal to the Board of Review you may send a personal representative or a letter explaining the reason for appealing (be sure to include the assessed value, parcel number your address and telephone number). The Board of Review will notify you by first class mail of their decision. If you wish to further appeal you may file an appeal with the Michigan Tax Tribunal on or before June 30 of the current year.