Taxpayers' Property Tax Claims Within the Jurisdiction of the Michigan Tax Tribunal
In McCormick v. City of Petoskey, Michigan Court of Appeals, No. 293278, December 21, 2010, the taxpayers' claims fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Michigan Tax Tribunal because the nature of their claims constituted an attempt to obtain a reduction in their local property taxes despite the taxpayers having couched their complaint in terms of a different legal theory.
The taxpayers argued that the trial court erred in concluding that it lacked jurisdiction to hear their claims because the taxpayers' complaint raised issues of statutory interpretation, constitutional issues, and contractual issues independent of property tax law. However, jurisdiction was determined not by how the taxpayers phrased their complaint, but by the relief sought and the underlying basis of the action.
In this case, the taxpayers challenged the level of services they received in contrast to the amount of taxes being assessed. This essentially constituted a challenge to the validity of the assessment under the property tax laws.