The Michigan Court of Appeals supports the Michigan Tax Tribunal decision to accept the recommendation of the hearing referee in a Small Claims case. [Schellenberg v. Township of Bingham, Michigan Court of Appeals, No. 289801, May 11, 2010]
The Tax Tribunal did not err by ignoring substantial evidence that proved the taxpayers' contended true cash value of their property for the local Michigan property tax years at issue. The tribunal upheld the hearing referee's findings that the land value established by one of the taxpayers' appraisers was too low, and that the one submitted by the township was too high, and that the proper methodology was the one used by the taxpayers' other appraiser. The referee arrived at an independent determination of true cash value on the basis of substantial evidence. It was not necessary for the referee to discuss each piece of evidence submitted. The findings of the referee were in turn adopted by the Tax Tribunal, upon appropriate review, and the tribunal likewise was not obliged to discuss each piece of evidence. Further, there was sufficient evidence for the Tax Tribunal to make an independent determination of the true cash value of the taxpayers' property.
The Tax Tribunal also did not err in determining that it did not have jurisdiction for three earlier tax years at issue because the taxpayers failed to appeal the assessments for those tax years. Therefore, there was nothing for the Tax Tribunal to review.