Property Owner's Appraisals Lacked Credibility
In Marwaha v. City of Rosehill, Michigan Court of Appeals, No. 299546, December 20, 2011, a taxpayer's small claims petition protesting a property's assessed true cash value and taxable value for local property tax purposes was properly denied by the Michigan Tax Tribunal because the appraisals that the taxpayer submitted lacked credibility, all the comparables chosen were bank-owned, and the taxpayer did not provide evidence to indicate that the sales were arms's-length and subject to normal market conditions. According to the taxpayer, the use of bank-owned properties in sales studies was approved by the State Tax Commission. However, the fact that bank-owned property sales may be used in sales studies did not mean that the Tax Tribunal was required to find the sales to be credible evidence of true cash value in the absence of evidence showing the sales to have been conducted at arm's length.
The taxpayer also alleged that the Tax Tribunal erred as a matter of law by affirming the city's valuation figure simply because the tribunal found the taxpayer's valuation figure to be unpersuasive and because it failed to make an independent finding regarding valuation. However, the Tax Tribunal found that the methodology used by the city was sound and that the figures the city arrived at were persuasive. The Tax Tribunal was not forbidden from accepting the city's valuation as the basis of its determination of true cash value.