Board of Review

Did You Know?

  • Southfield is home to over 10 outstanding colleges, universities and trade schools, including Lawrence Technological University, one of the nation’s “top 40” institutions specializing in engineering, architecture and business.

  • Southfield is an international city bustling with people from a rich array of cultural, racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds, including large Armenian, African-American, Jewish, Chaldean and Russian populations.

  • The City of Southfield celebrated its 50th anniversary of incorporation as a city on April 28, 2008.

  • The City of Southfield is Michigan’s undisputed business center – with more office space than the central business districts of Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis or Kansas City.

BOARD OF REVIEW

The Board of Review (BOR) consists of three persons appointed by the City Council. The Board of Review members serve two-year alternating terms. Members are registered voters of the city, at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, and must have lived in the city for at least 30 days & cannot be an assessor's relative. There are no statutory requirements regarding skills, training or experience that members must meet. Board members should be citizens interested in the public good, to the goal of fair, just and equitable property tax administration.

2018 March Board of Review (MBOR)

The 2018 Assessed and Taxable Values should be available on our website at www.cityofsouthfield.com by February 20,2018. The 2018 Notice of Assessment, Taxable Valuation and Property Classification (Assessment Change Notices) will be mailed out around February 17th and will show the change in Assessed and Taxable Values from last year to this 2018 year. If you disagree with the Assessed Value, you may schedule an appointment to appeal your value at the March Board of Review. The Assessed Value represents 50% of market value.

In addition, at the March Board of Review you may. . .

  • appeal a classification change if applicable, or 
  • file an Application for Hardship Exemption by completing the application and supplying required documentation for consideration by March 1, 2018, or 
  • file a 100% Disabled Veteran Exemption Affidavit for consideration that will give a 100% exemption from paying property taxes to those who qualify. This application is due in the Assessing Department by March 1, 2018. 
  • Also, a new law exempts Personal Property with a True Cash Value of less than $80,000 from taxes which requires State Tax Commission (STC) form 5076 to be filed no later than February 10, 2018. Information is on our website.

All March Board of Review appeals must be made in person at the Assessing Office, 26000 Evergreen Road, Southfield, MI.  To be fair to property owners and to the Board Members, the Assessor’s Office will review with you your property information as assessed for accuracy, so that any discrepancies can be addressed or corrected before any appeal is necessary.  The MBOR will meet at City Hall as outlined in your Assessment Change Notice,  Dates and times are as follows:

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. By Appointment Only 
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
then from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. By Appointment Only
Monday, March 12, 2018 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
then from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. By Appointment Only 
The Last Day to Make an Appointment is
Friday, March 3, 2017

Nonresidents may appeal their value to the MBOR by mail by submitting a completed and signed "Petition to Board of Review" (Form L-4035[618]) along with evidence supporting their position. The form must be mailed to the Southfield Assessor's Office at 26000 Evergreen Road, P O Box 2055, Southfield, Michigan 48037-2055. It must be received prior to the close of the March Board of Review, March 12, 2018 and all supporting documentation supporting your opinion of value must be attached.

Please remember that the March Board of Review is an appeal process to review property values, not tax bills. The Board of Review has no jurisdiction over the millage rates that are multiplied against taxable values in order to calculate the tax bill. Appeals are for the 2018 tax year only.

2018 July Board of Review (JBOR)

The July Board of Review will meet on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 to correct qualified Assessor Corrections. Actual appearance before the Board is not authorized unless requested specifically by the Board or for Hardship Appeals only. Appeals for your 2018 Assessed Value can only be appealed before 2018 March Board of Review.

2018 December Board of Review (DBOR)

The December Board of Review will meet on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 to correct qualified Assessor Corrections. Actual appearance before the Board is not authorized unless requested specifically by the Board or for Hardship Applications only. Appeals for your 2018 Assessed Value can only be appealed before 2018 March Board of Review.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q.     What are the responsibilities of the Board of Review?

A.     The Assessor turns the assessment roll over to the Board who can increase or decrease any improper assessment.  The Board has no control over millage rates or property taxes.  These meetings are open to the public under the Open Meetings Act.

The Board is an independent body of City residents who will review city sales records to assist those taxpayers who appeal their assessment to ensure accuracy.

Q.     When does the Board meet?

A.     Generally the Board meets in March.  It is best to check the schedule with the Assessing Department.

Q.     So then, what is True Cash Value (TCV)?

A.     True Cash Value (TCV) is synonymous with Fair Market Value.  It is the Michigan assessor’s opinion of the above factors, as of the previous December 31.

Q.     How is Assessed Value different from True Cash Value/Fair Market Value?

A.     Assessed Value (AV) is 50% of True Cash Value.  The official notice of AV is mailed to all property owners in February.  The notice spells out the dates and times that any property owner may appeal the AV to the March Board of Review.  This Board (3 non-employee members) is appointed by city council to review all AVs.

Q.     There is also a State Equalized Value (SEV).  Please explain what it is and how is it different from the AV?

A.     The SEV is the Assessed Value after it has gone through the Board of Review process, and has been reviewed (and adjusted if necessary) by County Equalization in April, and finally, has been  reviewed (and adjusted if necessary) by the State Tax Commission in May.

Q.     There is also a Taxable Value (TV) regarding real property. Would you explain that, please?

A. Taxable Value and State Equalized value were exactly the same in 1994 – the year TV
was created by a vote of the people of Michigan. It was called Proposal A. Each year after
that, TV was the lower of SEV, or Capped value.

Q.     There’s another value!  What is Capped Value?

A.     Capped Value (CV) is a mathematical calculation found by taking last year’s TV, deducting any losses, such as fire damage, adjusting for the Consumer’s Price Index (CPI) and adding any new construction.  In the year after a sale, we UNCAP the TV and change it to equal the SEV. 

         NOTE:  Your tax bill is calculated by multiplying the TV by the tax rate (millage rate).

Q.     Why doesn’t the assessor simply take half of the selling price as the new Assessed Value?

A. 1.  You’re speaking of the Sales Approach.  That method is only one of the three
  approaches.  While you might not intend to rent your house, many neighboring houses are
being purchased and then immediately being rented out.  The income approach can show
how the actual rents charged may indicate a higher value to an investor.  The cost approach
will indicate a value appropriate to a new house.

2.  Condition at time of sale – typically motivated sellers fix up their house to its best
possible condition and most typically motivated buyers want a home in move-in condition. 
If it is a fixer-upper, the sale price does not include the cost of the repairs that a typical
contractor would charge. 

3.  Financing – If you buy a house with no money down and I buy an identical house for all
cash, I would expect to get a discount.  Since most homes are purchased with a
conventional mortgage, the appraiser should adjust the sale price for any other type of
financing terms.

4.  One sale does not a market make.  While one sale may not represent the market, all the
arms-length sales will provide us with a better overall picture.  The ultimate goal of the
assessor is to find a pattern that best describes the greatest number of properties, and then
apply that pattern in a uniform manner across all properties.  Uniformity means treating all
properties in the same fair and equitable manner. 


5. Sale date might not match statutory time period.  State law instructs assessors to use sales
from the previous two years for collecting sales data for the assessment.

Q.     What is the best way to get my property tax assessment lowered?

A.     If you already have a recent appraisal of your home  bring it in.  If you do not have one, do not go out and order one unless you are sure that its cost is not going to be more than you would save if your assessment is lowered.  Other ways of doing this would be to go to the city website at City of Southfield.com and under the Highlights category, click on Assessment Data.  Then click on Access Assessment and Tax Data.  If you want to find information about your property or any property in the City of Southfield, click on the Property and Land Search button.  If you want to find comparable properties that have sold recently, click on the Assessing Comparables search button.

Q.     Why doesn’t the assessor use foreclosure sales?

A.     The assessor DOES use foreclosure sales, but because of the strict guidelines set up by the State of Michigan, only a few such sales are actually used for comparison purposes.  The types of sales that we do not consider to be representative are, for example, a sale from the county sheriff to a bank.  Quite often, the subsequent sale by the bank is simply the bank’s equity in the house, and is not a true indicator of what the house is worth.  The best indicator of a representative sale is from one homeowner to another.

Q.     Is there any evidence that is acceptable, other than an appraisal?  How recent does the appraisal have to be?

A.     Providing the board with an appraisal does not automatically lower your assessment.  The board looks at many other factors, such as an appraisal by a staff appraiser. You may provide  other information such as comparable property sales in your neighborhood and include the sale price and the assessed value.   In the final analysis, the Board strives to achieve fairness, equity and uniformity.

Q.     How can I make an effective appeal of value?

A.     Start by reviewing your assessment and any sales information at City Hall.  You must provide evidence to show that the assessment is incorrect.  The Board needs good reasons to alter an assessment.  It is imperative to be able to answer the questions “What do you think your property is worth?” and “What are you basing that opinion on?”

All assessments are to be based on sales, rental rates or construction costs of similar properties.  You may hire a professional appraiser, or you can look at sales in your neighborhood and compare them to your home.  Most assessor’s offices will give you sales information.  But remember, this is your appeal, and you should do the paperwork.

Q. Are the Board’s decisions final?

A.     No.  The decisions are binding only for the current assessment year but can be appealed to the Michigan Tax Tribunal.

Q.     How will I know of the Board’s decision?

A.     The Board will probably not give the decision at the time of the hearing, but will mail the decision by the end of April.  Along with this notification, will be information about the possibility of further (higher) appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal.

Q.     Can I appeal the Board’s decision?

A.     Only those assessments reviewed by the Board can be appealed to the Michigan Tax Tribunal.  Their appeal deadline is July 31st.  The Michigan Tax Tribunal website is:   www.michigan.gov/taxtrib

Commercial and industrial property owners can appeal directly to the MTT by May 31st at P.O. Box 30232, Lansing, Michigan 48909

Q.     How should I present my protest?

A.     If you are protesting on the value of your property, you should be prepared to justify why your property would not sell for twice the assessed value.

The better information you bring to the Board, the better they will be able to make a fair determination.