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Michigan Property Tax Updates

UPDATED MARCH 2019

Beware of Michigan E-Filing Pitfalls

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently issued a decision that should cause all tax attorneys and consultants to sit up and take notice.   In the lead case of Centerpoint Owner LLC v City of Grand Rapids, the Court upheld the Tax Tribunal’s dismissal of 81 cases that were determined to be untimely filed.    All of the cases were filed by a single consulting firm shortly after the 11:59 pm, May 31, 2017 filing deadline.   Personnel from the consulting firm attempted to e-file 189 petitions on May 31, but ran into a number of problems, including not having the correct type of credit card, the length of time required to process each e-filing, etc.   As a result they had to file many of the petitions the following day.   The Tribunal dismissed all petitions filed after May 31, and Centerpoint appealed.

The Court of Appeals rejected Centerpoint’s claim that it was denied due process, citing that the consultant’s choices were what caused the untimely filing (they could have filed by mail or by hand).  The Court also found that the Tax Tribunal did not have an obligation to notify practitioners of the alleged e-filing “glitch” because there was no widespread problem and no one other filers complained.   Finally, the Court rejected the argument that the Tribunal had the authority to accept late filings.   The lesson here is if you plan to e-file a pleading with the Michigan Tax Tribunal you should review the requirements and allow adequate time to complete the filing.

Centerpoint has filed an application for leave to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Stewart Mandell
Honigman LLP

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