The Assessor’s Office makes several property visits throughout the year. Most notably, the Assessor and/or staff visits all of the sites that have been issued a building permit throughout the year by the Township’s Building Inspector. Most of these appraisal reviews of new construction are completed in the winter toward the end of the year, as “Tax Day” each year is December 31st. From an assessment perspective, the valuation for the upcoming year’s assessment roll is based on “whatever the property looks like on ‘Tax Day,’ December 31st.” In other words, a new house that is only 50% completed as of year end will have an assessment in the upcoming year that reflects partial construction. The Assessor’s Office will then return to that property the following year to verify that the work was completed, and change the partial construction assessment to a completed house assessment for the subsequent year.
Based on this timeline and the necessity that the Assessor’s Office keeps a current project status of properties as of December 31st, several site visits must take place in the last few weeks of the year. In order to maintain an efficient schedule, the Assessor’s Office usually goes on neighborhood-wide permit reviews stopping at several sites throughout the day. If you have a project going at your home and would prefer a scheduled appointment, please do not hesitate to contact our office and we will arrange a site review. In addition, if your project is completed before the end of the year, please feel free to get a hold of us as we would be more than happy to complete our appraisal and assessment review of your home earlier in the year. The Assessor, Tyler Tacoma, is typically in the township office or completing fieldwork in the area every Friday morning from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
When completing our fieldwork, we are typically in a marked car and have with us business cards or other Township identification.
Any time a transfer of ownership takes place on a property, the buyer or grantee (person receiving the property) is required by Michigan State Law to file a Property Transfer Affidavit with the local Assessor’s Office within 45 days of the transfer.
The property transfer affidavit is a one page form that must be filed with the local Assessor’s Office for typical sales between unrelated buyers and sellers. In addition, it is also a required filing for any transfer of ownership. Some examples are a transfer to a trust, transfer to a spouse, sale of property using a land contract, quit claim deed, giving property to children or other estate planning transfers, foreclosures, etc.
The three main reasons this form is important to the local Assessor are:
The Assessor needs to know who the current owner of the property is so that the taxes are billed to the appropriate person.
The sale price must be given on this form, whether it was or wasn’t shown on the deed and whether or not the purchase price reflects the actual market value. The sale price is vitally important as it helps the local Assessor’s Office know what properties are currently selling for in the real estate market. Along with the sale price, items 10-15 on the form help the Assessor determine if the sale was a typical market transaction or if there were other factors that affected the sale price such as: purchasing from a relative at a discount, short sale at a reduced price before a foreclosure, a land contract with an excessive interest rate, or a purchase that included other items such as a vehicle or other personal property (appliances, furniture, etc.).
The transfer of ownership may or may not require an “uncapping” of the taxable value. Normally, the year after a property sells, the taxable value is “uncapped” and reset to whatever the property’s assessed value is. However, in some cases, the transfer of ownership may be exempt from “uncapping” of the taxable value. The information provided on the property transfer affidavit allows the Assessor to determine whether or not to uncap the taxable value.
Per state law, if this form is not timely filed with the local Assessor’s Office within 45 days of the transfer of ownership, a penalty of $5/day (maximum $200) will be applied to the winter tax bill on the property. Filing of the form by the buyer is a win/win situation that ensures the correct person receives the tax bills and that the Assessor’s Office gains valuable information about sales activity in the local market.
The yearly determination of a property’s assessed value is done by the local township assessing department. The Assessor is required by state statute to assess all real and personal property in the township at fifty (50) percent of market value as of December 31″ of each year. Market Value is defined as the most likely price that a property would sell for in an arm’s length transaction with no undue influence suffered by either the buyer or seller. An individual selling price does not establish the assessed value of any property, rather an analysis of all sales is done to establish uniform values for all properties in Port Sheldon Township. Various factors are taken into consideration when establishing the assessment, including, but not limited to location, size and utilization, age, style, surrounding properties, and land and improvement values.
With the advent of Proposal A (P.A. 415 of 1994), the value upon which property owners pay tax on is called the Taxable Value. This value is used to calculate one’s property taxes, and has been set at the 1994 assessed value and multiplied by the rate of inflation for every year that it has been owned by the same entity. As long as the property has not transferred ownership and not been added to, the annual increase in taxes is limited (or capped) by the rate of inflation. The previous year’s inflation rate was 1.7%.
If you own and occupy a property that is considered your principal residence, you can file an affidavit that allows you to claim an exemption from some school operating taxes. You must own and occupy the property as of June 1 of the year to qualify, and must be filed with the Township Assessor. This affidavit is also available online at this location.
If you have had any new construction or remodeling in the past year, you can expect a visit from the assessor or his assistant sometime between the middle of November and the middle of January.
For detailed tax and assessing information pertaining to your property online, click here.
Any property owner seeking property tax exemption must file a Property Tax Exemption Application form for the Township’s review.