Procedural Errors Did Not Warrant Dismissal
In Carrigan v. City of Ann Arbor, Michigan Court of Appeals, No. 300381, February 2, 2012, the Michigan Tax Tribunal abused its discretion by dismissing the taxpayers' petition challenging the assessment of the value of their residential condominium for local property tax purposes because the Tax Tribunal was required to consider the factors summarized by the Michigan Court of Appeals in Vicencio v. Ramirez, MD, PC, 536 N.W. 2d 280 (1995), before imposing the drastic action of dismissal.
Although the Tax Tribunal's order of default was mailed to the taxpayers' address of record, the taxpayers advised the tribunal that they did not receive the order and so their failure to timely cure the default was not willful. The taxpayers' filing of the petition was timely and there was no showing of any history of noncompliance with orders or deliberate delay. Additionally, despite the fact that the taxpayers did not state a precise cash value, state equalized value (SEV), or taxable value (TV) for the property in the petition, they did indicate that they were seeking a 20% to 30% reduction in assessment. Therefore, the city was aware of the degree of difference between its assessment and the taxpayers' opinion regarding the value of the property and was not prejudiced by the absence of the taxpayers' precise statement of cash value, SEV, or TV on the petition form. Moreover, the taxpayers indicated that they were ready to provide the requested materials to cure the defect. Further, the tribunal did not consider and did not recognize that it had discretion to consider options other than dismissal when determining the appropriate sanction for the deficiency in the taxpayers' filing.