FAQ

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.

 

Why are my taxes higher than my neighbor's?
Most often, a comparison to your neighbor's property with regard to physical characteristics, such as components of construction class and quality, size, amenities, age and condition will account for differences in the value between the properties. Back to top

Why isn't the market value by the assessor the same as the price I recently paid for my home?
Sale price is not necessarily the same as market value. According to Michigan law (MCL 211.27(5)), "beginning December 31, 1994, the purchase price paid in a transfer of property is not the presumptive true cash value of the property transferred." The best indicator of fair market value is market activity. Therefore, the selling prices of properties like yours are analyzed to arrive at a fair evaluation of your property's value. Back to top

I made no changes to my property, so why did my assessment/taxes go up?
Physical change is not the only reason for a change in property value. The most frequent cause of a change in assessed value is a change in the local market. As buyers and sellers in the market create value, the Assessor studies the market and collects information about properties to estimate value. In a stable neighborhood, with no extraordinary pressure from the market, inflation may increase property value. Your taxes, however, are computed on your property's Taxable Value. With no physical changes to your home, Taxable Value shall increase no more than the increase in the immediately preceding year in the inflation rate multiplier (IRM) or five percent (5%), whichever is less, until ownership is transferred. Back to top

How is my property assessed if it is under construction?
Unfinished buildings are appraised for that portion of total value that is completed on December 31. Back to top

What can I do if I disagree with my assessed values?
The Board of Review is held once a year in March.  This is the one and only time a property owner can appeal the assessed value on their property for the current year.  There are three ways to present your appeal to the Board of Review:  (1) The owner can come into the Assessing Department to make an appointment to appear in front of the Board of Review, or (2) complete the Letter Appeal form on the reverse side of the Notice of Assessment and attach the evidence they've gathered, which must be received before the last statutory meeting of the Board of Review, or (3) he/she may write a letter of appeal and attach the evidence they've gathered, which must be received before the last statutory meeting of the Board of Review.  Your assessment notice will have instructions about meeting dates and times, deadlines and filing procedures. Back to top

After appealing my assessment and getting a reduction last year, why did this year's assessment increase to the previous level?
Decisions made at the March Board of Review sessions are applicable only to the current assessment year. The Assessor is required to annually prepare an assessment roll as of the assessment date, December 31. This new assessed value may be very similar to the previous year's value. Back to top

Must I file a personal property statement if my business has no personal property located in the city?
Yes. If a business has no personal property which is assessable, they still must sign and return the form with a declaration as to whether this business has personal property, and if so, where that personal property is located.  If you have gone out of business, the declaration should make that fact clear. Back to top

How are purchases or acquisitions of used personal property to be reported?
If the used property came from a location outside of Southfield, it is considered to be “Move-Ins” of used property. “Move-Ins” are items of assessable personal property that were not assessed in Southfield last year. Move-Ins” DO NOT include property that has been moved from another location within Southfield or that was assessed to another taxpayer within Southfield last year. All “Move-Ins” must be reported on page 2 of Form 4175 and on Form 3966. Back to top

Why is my business being audited if it filed a personal property statement?
It is the assessor’s responsibility to determine what personal property is present in the city and assess it in accordance with the General Property Tax Act. Where personal property statements assist the assessor in carrying out that responsibility, the act expressly states that an assessor is not bound by the taxpayer’s personal property statement. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the assessor to independently inventory any business with personal property assets and assess the property according to the assessor’s own inventory determination. Back to top