Michigan Property Tax Assessments & Appeals

Grand Rapids Attorneys Representing Michigan Property Owners

Michigan has some of the highest property taxes in the nation. For many commercial property owners, real estate taxes are their largest single operating expense on an annual basis.

Michigan’s real estate tax structure is complicated. It is often difficult for owners to figure out exactly what their property taxes are based on. With some exceptions (such as agricultural, industrial processing, conservation, veteran-owned and non-profit) most commercial property owners cannot take advantage of real estate tax exemptions frequently provided to residential homesteaded property. Most commercial property owners do not live in the taxing jurisdiction where the commercial property is located and cannot vote on millage proposals or use the schools but ironically end up paying the majority of the real estate taxes.

Michigan Real Estate Tax Assessment Appeals

Appealing your real estate taxes or assessed valuations before local boards of review and the Michigan Tax Tribunal (MTT) is a nuanced practice that requires expertise.

The Grand Rapids property tax attorneys at Visser and Associates, PLLC, have extensive experience and knowledge in the real estate arena. Attorney Donovan Visser was a commercial real estate salesperson prior to going to law school. Mr. Visser leverages knowledgeable and aggressive representation and has handled more than 75 cases before the tax tribunal representing property owners and tenants regarding the following types of real estate:

  • Vacant land;
  • Gas station and convenience stores;
  • Industrial property;
  • Retail strip center;
  • Auto strip center;
  • Commercial office building;
  • Multi-tenant mixed use retail and office marina;
  • Oil change, car wash development property;
  • Churches;
  • Warehouses;
  • Medical office buildings; and
  • Multiple building properties and multiple jurisdictional properties.

Each of the properties shown on this page was successfully appealed to the MTT by Visser and Associates, and had their property taxes significantly reduced.

Why Appeal a Real Estate Assessment

The annual savings in reduced real estate taxes can be significant and are recurring for every year the client owns the property. In many instances, Visser and Associates, PLLC can review property tax records and valuations at no charge to determine whether or not a property is being over-taxed. Many property tax appeals can be undertaken at no out-of-pocket expense to the taxpayer.

Each piece of property is unique but no taxpayer should be required to pay more than is absolutely required under the law. Contact Visser and Associates today to set up a free consultation and review of your property’s real estate tax situation.


On July 17, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court addressed the abhorrent policy and practice of municipal treasurers keeping the owner’s equity in valuable real property foreclosed upon for delinquent taxes. In Rafaeli v County of Oakland, the Michigan Supreme Court declared that property owners were entitled to the surplus of funds from sale of the property at a tax sale. While very often taxpayers purposefully decline to pay taxes because the property is of little value, there are instances where age, race, employment, hardships, lack of knowledge, infirmity, and other reasons cause property to go up for tax sale when the property is quite valuable – especially in comparison to the amount of taxes owed. The Michigan Supreme Court has now decreed that the practice of confiscating those surplus funds is an unconstitutional taking and that the taxpayer has a right to those surplus funds.

Visser and Associates, PLLC has extensive experience in all things related to real estate taxes including representing taxpayers who have had their property foreclosed on as well as purchasers of property at tax sales. The attorneys at Visser and Associates, PLLC have represented clients at both the trial court and appellate level in these matters. The Rafaeli decision adds yet another level of complexity to property tax foreclosures – but one that may partially rectify some of the gross inadequacies of municipal interpretive application of the General Property Tax Act and one which may open up the floodgates for owners who retain experienced counsel and expeditiously file claims and lawsuits.

While there is generally a three year statute of limitation on bringing your claims, that time likely does not begin to run until the property tax sale – when the surplus was realized. Certain claims may not be time-barred. If you believe that you have lost a significant amount of equity in property that has been foreclosed on for delinquent taxes then gather your documents and contact attorney Donovan Visser at donovan@visserlegal.com to setup a free initial consultation.