Taxpayer Failed to Present Evidence of the Property's True Cash Value
In Lansing Towers v. City of Lansing, Michigan Court of Appeals, No. 292756, November 16, 2010, an appeal of the Michigan Tax Tribunal's (MTT) judgment rejecting a taxpayer's challenge to a city's assessment for the 2006 property tax year, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that the taxpayer presented no evidence of the property's true cash value for the tax year.
The taxpayer argued that the MTT should have made an independent determination of the true cash value of the property. However, the MTT's duty to make its own independent determination of true cash value applied only when a taxpayer met its burden of going forward with the evidence.
Although the taxpayer believed that the MTT could have extrapolated the 2006 value from the taxpayer's 2005 appraisal figure, the taxpayer's counsel did not argue that point before the MTT. The taxpayer's counsel did provide some calculations for 2006 in his post-hearing brief, but neither the taxpayer nor its counsel was qualified as an appraiser and there was no evidence that the taxpayer's manipulation of the figures was valid. Moreover, the taxpayer did not explain whether the 2006 value should have been extrapolated up or down from the 2005 figure, and by how much.
The appellate court also concluded that the MTT's decision to exclude the testimony of a property maintenance manager about the repair and maintenance projects that needed to be done on the property was not an abuse of discretion. The evidence chiefly supported the taxpayer's case, but it did not rebut the city's expert testimony.