Property Tax & Assessment FAQ

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Property Tax & Assessment Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between real and personal property taxes?

Real property generally is interpreted to include land plus the buildings and fixtures permanently attached to it.

Personal property generally is interpreted to be that not permanently affixed to land: e.g., equipment, furniture, tools, computers. In Michigan, only businesses pay the personal property tax. If you had business personal property in the city limits of Owosso on December 31 (Tax Day), you are responsible for summer and winter taxes for the following year, even if your business closed during the year. 

How is property assessed?

Real property assessments are based on market values and are assessed yearly by the Assessor’s Department. Assessment notices are mailed to taxpayers of record in February of each year. An important part of assessing property is the appeal process. Real property assessments can be appealed at the March Board of Review.

Personal property assessments originate from a filing of a statement by the taxpayer. If a personal property statement is not furnished the assessor, he/she is authorized to assess such amount of personal property as deemed reasonable and just. The business property owner is required by law to report the value of property owned on a personal property statement form provided by the local assessor. Assessment notices are mailed to business personal property owners in February of each year. Personal property assessments can also be appealed at the March Board of Review.

For more information on property assessments contact the Owosso City Assessor’s Office – (989) 725-0530.

How is my tax rate determined?

In the summer tax cycle, council approves the tax levy of the City and the State Education Tax levy is authorized by the State of Michigan. The Shiawassee Board of Commissioners approves the County Tax Rate. The City of Owosso utilizes its tax collections for the operating fiscal year that commences July 1st of the tax year being billed and continues through June 30 of the succeeding year. The State Education Taxes collected are applied to the State of Michigan operating fiscal year from October 1 through September 30 of the next year. The County tax collected provides monies for the operating fiscal year that commences January 1 of the current year and continues through December 31 of the same year.

Winter tax bills, levied December 1, have the balance of the County levy. Millages are also approved by the Shiawassee District Library Board for a fiscal year December 1 to November 30; and the Owosso Public Schools for school operating and voted levies for use during the fiscal year July 1 to June 30. 

What is the difference between assessed value and taxable value?

Taxable value (TV) is the value used to compute your tax bill and applies to real property only. “TV” is determined yearly as the LESSER of assessed value (market based as determined by assessor) and capped value. Capped value is the prior year’s taxable value, less taxable value of losses, “capped” by an increase of the lesser of 5% or the rate of inflation, plus assessed value of additions. Taxable value becomes uncapped when property is sold or transferred. 

What is a principal residence exemption and how do I know if I have one?

Principal residence exemption entitles the owner of real property an exemption from the 18* mills of school operating tax for the percentage of taxable value used as a primary residence. The homestead exemption must be claimed on form 2368 Homeowners Principal Residence Exemption and filed with the City Assessor’s Office. The principal residence exemption for your property will be included on your assessment notice expressed as a percentage. The principal residence exemption percentage will also be displayed on your summer and winter tax bill. A principal residence exemption of 100% means your property is exempted from 100% of school operating taxes. Voted school bonded debt millages are NOT exempted.

Principal residence exemption forms are available from the City Assessor’s Office or on line from the Department of Treasury under local government, property tax forms @ www.michigan.gov/treasury.

For questions on your principal residence exemption, please contact the City Treasurer’s Office at(989) 725-0515 or City Assessor’s Office at (989) 725-0530.

*or less subject to Headlee Amendment roll back 

How can I receive a homestead credit or have my property taxes reduced?

The credits available do not originate from the City. The State of Michigan has a homestead property tax credit that can be calculated annually as part of the state income tax filing. In addition a separate calculation is available for senior citizens for their homestead property taxes. More information on these credits can be obtained at the web side www.treas.state.mi.us or by calling 1(800) 482-7000. Information regarding principal residence exemptions and poverty exemptions are available from the City Assessor’s Office (989) 725-0530. 

How can I receive a summer tax deferment?

Summer taxes may be deferred until February 14 if your total household income is less than $40,000 and you meet one of the following requirements:

  • Senior Citizen, age 62 by December 1 of a given year 
  • Paraplegic, quadriplegic 
  • Eligible service person, veteran, widow or widower 
  • Blind person 
  • Totally and permanently disabled

Forms must be filed by September 15 in the Treasurer’s Office, phone (989) 725-0599, or may be accessed at www.michigan.gov/treasury , local government, forms, property tax forms Form 471 Application for Deferment of Summer Taxes. 

I am a business owner, are there any tax abatements available?

Owners of industrial property may be eligible for an Industrial Facilities Tax Abatement.  There are two types of IFT’s, new and replacement.  New projects are taxed at ½ the normal rate while replacement projects are taxed at the full rate, but the taxable value is frozen.  Abatements are also available for Obsolete Property Rehabilitation, Brownfield Rehabilitation and NEW personal property tax.  For more information on these issues, please contact the Planning Director at (989) 725-0540. 

When can I expect to receive a tax bill and when is it due?

The summer tax bills are mailed by July 1 and are due without late collection fee by August 31, unless that date falls on a weekend in which case the due date is the next business day.  The winter tax bills are mailed by December 1 and are due the following February 14, unless that date falls on a weekend in which case the due date is the next business day.  The due date will always be clearly indicated on your tax bill.  Payments must be received by the due date or late collection fees will be assessed.  Postmarks will not be accepted as the date of payment. 

I didn’t receive a tax bill, what should I do?

Call our office at (989) 725-0515.  Please note, it is the taxpayers responsibility to pay the taxes by the due date regardless of whether a bill was received or not. 

My bill has someone else’s name on it, what should I do?

First make sure it is your bill, i.e., check the permanent parcel number and/or legal description.  If it is your bill, most likely there has been a recent ownership change and the taxpayer information hasn’t been updated.  If this is the case, you may pay on the bill you received.  Again, please note it is the taxpayer’s responsibility to pay the taxes by the due date. 

How do I change the mailing address for my tax billing?

The City Assessor maintains mailing addresses.  Please call city hall at (989) 725-0530 to request any mailing address changes. 

Where can I pay my taxes and what payment options are available?

  • At our office – City Hall is located at 301 W. Main Street, Owosso, MI 48867. Our office hours are 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday. 
  • Mail – Please send the entire bill if you would like to have a stamped receipt returned. DO NOT SEND CASH. 
  • Drop Box – There is a drop box conveniently located next to the drive between the City Hall and Public Safety Buildings. DO NOT PLACE CASH IN THE DROP BOX. 
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR) – Tax bills can be paid by phone: Dial 1-855-332-3789 and follow the prompts, inputting data where necessary.  Please be aware there is a convenience fee for using this service. 
  • Online – Tax bills can be paid via credit/debit cards or electronic check.  Please be aware there is a convenience fee for using this service.  Click the following link for more information regarding paying your taxes online:  Pay Online Now

What if I can’t pay the tax bill when it is due?

Installment payments are permitted.  Taxpayers may, at any time after the taxes are levied and prior to March 1 of the next succeeding year, pay City and State Education Taxes in installments plus late fees due on the portion so paid to the date of payment. 

What are the collection fees for late payment of taxes?

Summer taxes: 2% late fee on unpaid principal on September 1, with 1% added each additional month until 4% total has been added. 3% additional will be added from February 15 until March 1. Unpaid real property taxes are turned over the Shiawassee County Treasurer as of March 1 of the succeeding year. Contact the Shiawassee County Treasurer at (989) 743-2224 for payment information on taxes turned over delinquent.

Winter taxes: 3% late collection fee is collected after the due date and before March 1. Unpaid real property taxes are turned over to the Shiawassee County Treasurer as of March 1 following the due date. Contact the Shiawassee County Treasurer at (989) 743-2224 for payment information on taxes turned over delinquent. Business personal property taxes remain payable at the City Treasurer’s Office. 

The taxable value or principal residence exemption for my property is being corrected at the Board of Review; should I wait for a corrected tax bill before paying?

No. The bill you received is due and payable by the due date and in the amount stated on the bill. Partial payments made in anticipation of an assessment correction are “at your own risk”; i.e., any residual balance due after corrections will bear late collection fees if past due. The City Board of Review meets in July and December to correct errors to the tax roll for both the current and prior year only.

If a change to your account by the Board of Review is necessary, it will be processed by the Treasurer’s Office within ten days of receipt of the final report of adjustments from the Board. Until we receive a valid change to an account, the original billing remains as stated. Our office cannot adjust any accounts prior to receiving final authorization from the Board of Review.

If the change requires a refund, due to the over-payment of tax, it will generally be processed within thirty days of the adjustment to your account. 

What is a special assessment?

A special assessment is confined to local impositions upon property for the payment of the cost of public improvements in its immediate vicinity and levied with reference to special benefits to the property assessed. 

How is a special assessment placed on my property?

The Owosso City Council establishes projects after a hearing of necessity.  Each affected property owner is notified and given an opportunity to provide input at a public hearing before a project is approved. 

Do I have to pay off a special assessment when property is sold?

The City of Owosso allows assessments to be assumed by a new owner.  Some lenders, however, require payoffs prior to issuing a mortgage. 

I am a senior citizen or permanently disabled individual; are special assessment deferments available?

The State of Michigan provides a deferment for special assessments for seniors or totally or permanently disabled citizens who meet certain guidelines. The State will pay the assessment, but place a LIEN on the property which must be paid with interest at the time of the sale of the property or close of the estate. Form 2748 may be accessed at www.michigan.gov/treasury, local government, forms, property tax forms, Form 2748 Senior Citizen or Totally or Permanently Disabled Person Affidavit Requesting Special Assessment Deferment. 

When are special assessments billed and when are they due?

Special assessments are mailed to taxpayers on September 1 of each year and are due by December 1.  Interest accrues from September 1 of each year.  Payoff amounts are available at any time of the year by calling the Treasurer’s Office at (989) 725-0515. 

What happens if I don’t pay my special assessment?

After the December 1 due date, the current installment is charged a late fee of 1% per month. If unpaid by the following March 1, the current installment is sent to the County Treasurer’s office with the delinquent tax roll. For late payment before March 1, call the City Treasurer’s Office for payoff required at (989) 725-0515. When delinquent, call the Shiawassee County Treasurer for payoff at (989) 743-2224.