Office of the Assessor FAQs

Frequently asked questions regarding property tax assessment.


Business Personal Property

1. What is business personal property?

Business personal property is the equipment used for operating a business that is not real estate. General explanation – the Michigan Constitution provides for the assessment of all real and tangible business personal property not exempted by law. 

2. How do I obtain a business personal property number?

Personal Property appraisers create business personal property numbers. The business personal property numbers are created according to the property address of the business.

3. What are examples of business personal property?

Examples of business personal property include furniture and fixtures, machinery and equipment, office and electronic equipment, computer equipment, coin operated equipment and etc.  Rental equipment, as well as, certain leasehold improvements that are not part of real property. This list is not inclusive.

4. Where do I get a business personal property statement?

The Assessor sends the statements/exemption forms out the first part of January each year. They are sent to taxpayers that have an operating business within the City of Detroit. If you do not receive a statement but have assessable business personal property you are still required to file. Forms are available at the Detroit Taxpayer Service Center (DTSC) in suite 130  and in the Forms Library outside of suite 130.  Taxpayers can also access the forms via the links listed on the Office of the Assessor’s website ( The forms are also available on the State of Michigan website: .

Taxpayers can also email [email protected] if they have any  questions or to request statements.

5. When is the business personal property statement/exemption filing deadline?

The statutory due date for filing a business personal property statement is February 20th of each year. If you had assessable business personal property on December 31st of the preceding year, you are required to complete and submit a business personal property statement and/or personal property exemption form (L-5076) on or before this due date.

6. What happens if I don't file by the statutory deadline?

If a completed statement of personal property cannot be obtained from a person or entity, or if the assessor suspects that a statement is incorrect, the assessor may examine under oath a person having knowledge of the taxpayer’s property and is authorized to make an estimated assessment in the amount that the assessor considers reasonable and just.

7. How do I report that the business is closed?

To report a business closed, the taxpayer must file a discontinuance of business form.

Forms are available at the Detroit Taxpayer Service Center (DTSC) in the Forms Library outside of suite 130. Taxpayers can also access the form via the links on the Office of the Assessor’s website (




Residential Property

1. Why are my taxes so high?

Your taxes can be affected by many different reasons including but not limited to the following examples:  Transfer of ownership (uncapping), value-producing home improvement factors, increase in home sales in your area, verifying correct square footage, etc.

If you feel taxes are too high, you should make your opinion known to the Assessor's Office. The staff will be glad to answer your questions and explain how to appeal if you cannot come to an agreement. The Assessor's Office relies on the property owner for information. You can help by providing accurate information. Be sure to take advantage of the state's property tax relief programs. 

2. What is an uncapping?  

In accordance with the Michigan Constitution as amended by Proposal A of 1994, a transfer of ownership will cause the taxable value of the transferred property to uncap in the calendar year following the year of the transfer. Ultimately the taxable value becomes equivalent to the assessed value the year following the sale.

3. How do I appeal my assessment? 

An appeal can be made during the February Assessors Review Period for the first 3 weeks in February from the 1st to the 22nd.


4. Will my taxes increase if I add an addition to my house? If so, how much? 

An addition can increase the assessed value which may affect the taxable value.  An appraiser would have to conduct a field review to measure and gather information for a determination.

5. How are the property taxes calculated?  

Individual tax bills are calculated by taking the taxable value and multiplying it by the local mill’s rate.

6. How is my property valued?

The Office of the Assessor utilizes a two-year sales study to analyze market values within each neighborhood.

7. What is Assessed Value? What is Taxable Value?  

The Michigan Constitution requires the property to be uniformly assessed at 50% (Assessed Value) of the usual selling price, also referred to as True Cash Value. Taxable Value is the value on which property taxes are calculated. The assessed value is determined by a property’s market value.  Taxable value is the value used to determine the property owner’s tax liability.  Taxable value increases from year to year by the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is less.

8.  Why did my taxes increase?  

Your tax rate is affected by many different reasons including but not limited to the following factors:  A millage increase will cause your taxes to increase. Also, a transfer of ownership (uncapping) would generate an increase in taxes as well.  Under Michigan law, property taxes can increase by 5% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

9. What about owner/occupied properties that there is no PRE on file?

Owner/occupied properties that do not have a PRE on file will NOT be exempt from paying the local school operating cost.

10. Can you give me a tax estimate?  

Upon request your taxable value can be provided. You can then use it to multiply by the local mills rate.

11. If I didn't buy or sell my house/property or make any improvements last year, why did my taxes increase?

There are two components in calculating the tax bill amount - the taxable value and the millage rate. The taxable value increases in conjunction with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and changes in the millage rates are determined by various referendums approved by the voters. Multiply the taxable value by the millage rate to estimate the tax bill amount.

12. My parents, sibling, cousin, etc. gave me a house. Why did my taxes increase? 

Even though there was no sale, a transfer of ownership occurred. However, there are certain transfers that are exempt from the definition of "transfer of ownership", that would not result in the uncapping of your property's taxable value.  For example, “related first infinity” family members. Otherwise, in accordance with the Michigan Constitution as amended by Proposal A of 1994, a transfer of ownership will cause the taxable value of the transferred property to uncap in the calendar year following the year of the transfer of ownership, unless it meets a requirement for exemption.

13. I recently had changes done to my property. In what instance should I reach out to the Assessor?

Changes to the property that include, but are not limited to, the following: Additions to the property, demo of a structure, garage removal and change in class (two- family to single- family) are reasons to contact the Assessor.

An unforeseen circumstance, such as fire damage, would also be a reason to reach out to the Assessor. However, if in doubt, please contact the Assessors Office.

14. What abatements can a residential property owner apply for?

The property owner may apply for the NEZ abatement.



Commercial Property 

1.   I no longer have a business in Detroit, so why am I still receiving tax bills?

To report a business closed, the taxpayer must file a discontinuance of business form. Forms are available at the Detroit Taxpayer Service Center (DTSC) in the Forms Library outside of suite 130.  Taxpayers can also access the form via the links on the Office of the Assessor’s website (

However, if your business was in the city of Detroit on December 31 you are liable for current property taxes.

2. If I purchase a Commercial/Industrial property in the City of Detroit, how much will my taxes be?

As far as the projected taxes, our aim as assessors is to value properties based on their highest and best use at a level that is typically seen for a given property type. The taxes, following a transfer of ownership, are based on 50% of the market value determination against which the millage rate is applied, a mill is 1/1000 of a dollar (approximately $88 commercial millage/$1,000 of Taxable Value). 

50% of the market value becomes the assessed value and the taxable value. Your property taxes are based only on your taxable value, and they are computed by multiplying the taxable value of the property by the number of mills levied.

Michigan Department of Treasury Property Tax Estimator Website:

3. Can I change the zoning of my commercial property?

Yes, you must apply for a re-zoning with the City Planning Commission

4. I just purchased a commercial property why have my taxes doubled?

 Whenever you purchase a property in the state of Michigan due to Proposal A, once ownership is transferred, the property’s taxable value is uncapped and increases to the same level as the assessed value in the year following the sale, which limits the growth in property taxes to the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is less, but only until ownership of the property is transferred. The formula under Proposal A ensures a property’s taxable value does not grow as fast as the property’s assessed value, which should be at or near 50% of market value. 

However, by state law we cannot disregard the statutory transfer or ownership, we must uncap a property's taxable value in the year following the transfer of ownership of that property to reflect the current market value. Therefore, your payments will not be the same as the previous owner’s.

5. Why do I have three parcel numbers?

You have three parcel numbers because the property is receiving a tax abatement. 

The Ad valorem parcel is the first parcel = Land value taxed at ad valorem rate.
The F parcel is the second parcel = Pre-rehab building portion of the TV which remains frozen for the duration of certificate, taxed at ad valorem rate.
The N parcel is the third parcel = Contributory value of the improvements made to the building. 

Taxpayers can also access:




Land Records Maintenance

1. How do I request a split or combination of my parcel(s)?

Taxpayers can email [email protected]  if they have any questions, or to request a copy of the Parcel Revision Application.

The Parcel Revision Application can also be located at:


2. How do I submit my parcel modification request?

Parcel Revision Application and documentation can be submitted in person at the Detroit Taxpayer Service Center (DTSC), 2 Woodward Avenue, Suite 130, Detroit, MI 48226, or by emailing the completed parcel revision application and scanned documents (photos will not be accepted) to:  [email protected]

3. What are the requirements for all parcel modification requests?
  • Parcels must not have any unpaid Property or Personal Property taxes, water bills or property tax liens.
  • All taxes and fees assessed on any involved parcel must remain current until resultant parcels take effect.
  • Written approval on official letterhead from mortgagor and/or lienholders must be provided, when applicable.
  • Parcels must not have an open Michigan Tax Tribunal (MTT) case.
  • To combine properties purchased from the Detroit Land Bank Authority within the last 5 years with parcels that were not, a 5/50 waiver must be provided. Please contact Detroit Land Bank Client Services at (313)974-6869 or [email protected] to request waiver(s).
  • Parcels must not have a Special Assessment or PILOT (with the exception of NEZ-Hs and DLBA Purchases with waivers).
  • Exemption status and type must be consistent for all parcels.
  • Resultant parcels subject to Zoning requirements (Detroit City Code – Chapter 50 – Intensity and Dimensional Standards).
4. I submitted a parcel modification request for review. Can I transfer ownership?

There must not be any transfer of ownership while the parcel modification is under review.

5. When would the parcel revision request go into effect?

The parcel revision application must be approved by December 31st (Tax Day) to go into effect for the following year.

6. How long does the parcel revision process take?

The Parcel Revision Application may take up to 45 days to be reviewed.   

All taxes, fees, and water bills must be paid in full on all involved parcels before division applications are sent to the Law Department for review, and combination applications are processed. 

Until the new parcel(s) become effective, property tax bills may be issued using the parent parcel number(s) and all bills must be paid timely to avoid issues with processing of the application. 

7. How long will incomplete parcel revision applications be held?

You may be asked for additional documentation for the application to be considered complete.  Incomplete applications will be held for one year. After one year, a new application must be filed.

8.  Can I split my duplex into two parcels?

Yes, but most will require a variance for minimum lot size through the Board of Zoning Appeals:

9. How do I get a survey of my property?

You can find licensed surveyors for hire at the Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors here:

10. I am having a fencing or boundary line dispute with my neighbor; how do I handle it?
11. How do I get a new/additional address?


12. Where can I obtain a copy of a deed?

At the Wayne County Register of Deeds:



Sales and Analysis

1. What is a Transfer of Ownership? 

Transfer of ownership is the conveyance of title to, or a present interest in property, including the beneficial use of the property and both the buyer and seller must agree to the terms of the transfer.

2. What is a Principal Residence Exemption (PRE)?

The State of Michigan provides an exemption of 18 mills from a portion of the property tax bill for a taxpayer’s primary residence. You must own and occupy your home.

3. How can I submit my Property Transfer Affidavit (PTA) form L-4260 and/or Principal Residence Exemption (PRE) form 2368?

Property Transfer Affidavit (PTA) and Principal Residence Exemption (PRE) forms can submitted:

Electronically via email to [email protected]   or

In person at the Detroit Taxpayer Service Center (DTSC), 2 Woodward Avenue, suite 130, Detroit, MI 48226. 

Office hours: Monday - Thursday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

The completed Property Transfer Affidavit (PTA) must be filed by the new owner with the assessor for the city or township where the property is located within 45 days of the transfer.

Forms are available at the Detroit Taxpayer Service Center (DTSC) in suite 130 and in the Forms Library outside of suite 130.  The forms are also available via links on the Office of the Assessor's website ( 


4.  What is the Property Transfer Affidavit (PTA) penalty fee for a late filed PTA?

Property Transfer Affidavit (PTA) penalties: 

Residential parcels, since 1994, per parcel number = $5.00 per day/ up to a maximum of $200.00.

Commercial/Industrial per parcel number
Before April 1st, 2013, = $5.00 per Day /up to a maximum of  $200.00.
After April 1st, 2013, = $20.00 a Day /up to a maximum of  $1,000.00.


5. What proof of occupancy is acceptable for a Principal Residence Exemption (PRE)?


  • Both sides (front and back) of State of Michigan Driver's license with the property address
  • Federal and/or State Income Tax returns with the property address
  • A voter's registration record
  • Motor vehicle registration
  • Utility bills with the mailing address of the property address (actual bill)
  • Cable bills with the mailing address of the property (actual bill)
  • Telephone bills with the mailing address (actual bill)
  • Banking or credit card statement with account number redacted
  • Medical bills with the mailing address of the property