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Still Time to Appeal: Executive Order and Bills Aim to Extend Property Tax Assessment Appeal Dates in Michigan and Provide Additional Tax Relief in Illinois

May 20, 2020

House with bags of money

The 2020 appeal season is moving and changing quickly, so be sure to not miss any filing deadlines. The deadline for filing petitions with the Michigan Tax Tribunal is set by statute as May 31. On May 14, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-87 (the “Order”), to extend the deadline to protest 2020 property tax assessments to grant some amount of relief to individuals and businesses amid the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis.

Meanwhile, Illinois officials recognize the financial impact of COVID-19 and the need for some economic relief to taxpayers. Two recent Illinois House Bills offer property tax relief on 2019 tax bills due in 2020 by amending the Property Tax Code.

Michigan

The deadline for filing petitions with the Michigan Tax Tribunal is set by statute as May 31. However, as we reported in our May 7, 2020, alert, there was a rising effort to amend this date either by statutory amendment or Executive Order. On May 14, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-87 (the “Order”), to extend the deadline to protest 2020 property tax assessments in order to grant some amount of relief to individuals and businesses amid the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis. The Order is retroactive to April 6, 2020, and this alert summarizes some of the more relevant provisions.

Commercial/Industrial/Personal Property Appeals

The Order postpones the deadline for disputing assessments in the Michigan Tax Tribunal for commercial, industrial or developmental real property, and commercial, industrial, or utility personal property from May 31, 2020, to July 31, 2020. The existing July 31, 2020, deadline for assessment disputes regarding agricultural real property, residential real property, timber-cutover real property or agricultural personal property has not changed.

Residential Property Appeals

By statute, appeals of residential property values must first be heard by the local board of review in March. An appeal of the local board of review’s March 2020 decision must then be filed with the Michigan Tax Tribunal by July 31, 2020. However, if a board of review was not able to hear protests in March 2020, the Order requires that they meet on July 21, 2020, to hear protests. The Order permits residential taxpayers to file protests by letter without a personal appearance by the taxpayer or his or her agent. Decisions with respect to protests heard in July must be issued by September 1, 2020, and appeals of assessed values from the July board of review to the Michigan Tax Tribunal are due within 35 days after the final decision, ruling or determination. Classification appeals from the July board of review to the State Tax Commission are due by September 1, 2020. The Order does not provide for a rehearing or reconsideration by a July board of review of a protest, request, or other property tax matter that was previously denied by a March board of review.

In addition to this Order, there are currently two identical bills (H.B. 5766, which was passed by the House on May 19, 2020, and S.B. 917) working their way through the Legislature which would amend the Tax Tribunal Act to extend the property tax appeals deadline for commercial and industrial property from May 31, 2020, to August 31, 2020. However, assuming that either bill passes in both the Senate and House, it is unclear whether the Governor would veto the bill, given that this statutory amendment would extend the filing deadline one month beyond the Governor’s recently passed Order. As there is uncertainty whether a statutory deadline can permissibly be extended by Executive Order, and it is unclear if these statutory amendments will be passed by the Legislature, appeals should be submitted as soon as possible, and preferably before May 31, 2020.

Illinois

Illinois officials recognize the financial impact of COVID-19 and the need by taxpayers for some economic relief. Two recent Illinois House Bills offer property tax relief on 2019 tax bills due in 2020 by amending the Property Tax Code. H.B. 5772  proposes to postpone the delinquency date, for 2019 property taxes payable in 2020, for 90 days after each installment would have otherwise become delinquent. During the postponement, no penalties nor interest would be charged. A copy of the bill may be found here. H.B. 5774 proposes to waive all interest from being imposed on any delinquent property taxes due in 2020. A copy of this bill may be found here.

While these measures recognize the economic impact due to COVID-19 and provide some temporary tax relief to Illinois taxpayers during this very difficult time, taxpayers may want and deserve more long-lasting tax relief.

The 2020 appeal season is moving and changing quickly, so be sure to not miss any filing deadlines. At Dykema, we are prepared to file client’s tax appeals as soon as they are received. Please contact one of our tax appeal attorneys listed below to discuss how the Order and Bills may affect your appeal. Prior to accepting a case, we will review the matter at no charge to you. As a service to our clients who own or lease industrial or commercial real property and industrial personal property, we undertake property tax assessment appeal cases on a contingent fee arrangement based on the net tax savings for the tax years under appeal. There may be an additional basis for taxpayers to appeal the assessed value based on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected its property value. We will continue to monitor this, but feel free to contact any of the following Dykema attorneys to discuss.

Carl Rashid, Jr., at 313-568-5422 or crashid@dykema.com
Douglas J. Fryer at 248-203-0767 or dfryer@dykema.com
Margaret E. Graham at 312-627-2138 or mgraham@dykema.com
Todd C. Schebor at 313-568-6672 or tschebor@dykema.com

For more information on Dykema's Real Estate practice, please visit www.dykema.com/realestate.

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As part of our service to you, we regularly compile short reports on new and interesting developments and the issues the developments raise. Please recognize that these reports do not constitute legal advice and that we do not attempt to cover all such developments. Rules of certain state supreme courts may consider this advertising and require us to advise you of such designation. Your comments are always welcome. © 2020 Dykema Gossett PLLC.