Tax Tribunal Lacked Jurisdiction to Correct Tax Assessments When Petition Was Not Timely Filed
In C.A. Kime, Inc. v. Township of Van Buren, Michigan Court of Appeals, No. 295323, March 3, 2011, the Court of Appeals ruled that the Michigan Tax Tribunal lacked jurisdiction to correct the 2007 and 2008 assessments of 231 parcels of property for local property tax purposes because the taxpayer did not file a petition with the tribunal by either July 31, 2007, or July 31, 2008. Although the taxpayer recognized this, it invoked as the sole basis for granting jurisdiction to the tribunal the statutory provision pertaining to a qualified error of omission or inclusion of a part of the real property being assessed. The taxpayer argued that because the entire dispute revolved around the township and the county erroneously assessing the property based on a statute that was declared unconstitutional in 2006, it was necessarily an error of inclusion.
The Michigan Court of Appeals held that the assessing bodies did not err when they assessed the property on December 31, 2005, with a higher value because of the presence of public improvements. At that time, the statute at issue was a valid statute, and it permitted taxing authorities to increase the taxable value of real property because of the installation of public service improvements on or near the property. The court also rejected the taxpayer's argument that adding the public service improvements to the property's taxable value constituted an error of inclusion of part of the property being assessed. The plain language of the applicable statutory provision required that an error relate to the inclusion of a part of the real property that would occur, for instance, when the taxing authority accidentally omitted or included a part of the real property being assessed. Consequently, the public service improvements were not an error of inclusion of part of the real property because they were not erroneously made a part of the real property being taxed.