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Business Personal Property FAQ's

What is business personal property tax?

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. 

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.

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 (www.detroitmi.gov). The forms are also available on the State of Michigan website: www.michigan.gov/treasury .

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

When is the Business Personal Property Statement/Exemption 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 on or before this due date.

Residential Property

1. Why are my taxes so high?

i.    A: Your taxes could be high due to many different reasons.  Examples:  Transfer of ownership(uncapping), value-producing home improvement factors, increase in home sales in your area, verifying correct square footage, etc.b.    Q:


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. 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. 

7.  Why did my taxes increase?  

Your taxes could increase due to many different reasons.  Examples:  Transfer of ownership(uncapping), When this occurs, the taxable value generally equals the State Equalized Value (SEV) and transfer of ownership can significantly increase the taxable value, which increases the taxes. Taxable value is generally lower than the SEV or capped value, and the SEV is traditionally 50 percent of the market value, other reasons include value-producing home improvement factors or increases in home sales in your area, etc.

8. Can you give me a tax estimate?  

Your taxable value can be provided to you for you to multiply by the local mills rate.

9. 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.


10. 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 but because it is only between related family members this should not cause an excessive tax increase because the property does not uncap. The taxes should only increase by the rate of inflation. 

 Commercial Property 

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

To have the tax bills corrected, please visit the Assessments Division - Personal Property Section located in Room 804 of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. 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 flowing 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.

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:https://detroitmi.gov/departments/office-chief-financial-officer/ocfo-divisions/office-assessor/property-assessment-documents


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 from the mortgagor & 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: https://detroitmi.gov/government/boards/board-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: https://www.misps.org/

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: https://www.waynecounty.com/elected/deeds/home.aspx

Property Sales (i.e. Sales and Analysis

1. What is a Transfer of Ownership? 

Transfer of ownership means the conveyance of title to or a present interest in property, including the beneficial use of the property and both 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. To file for a PRE exemption, visit the Assessment Division, Room 804 Coleman A. Young Municipal Center or call (313) 224-3035.

3. How can I submit my Property Transfer Affidavit and/or Principal Residence Exemption?

Electronically via email to [email protected].
In person in Room 130, The Detroit Taxpayer Service Center
Mon-Thurs 8AM-4:30PM

4.  What is the PTA penalty fee for a late filed PTA?

Residential since 1994 per parcel# = $5 a day Max $200

Commercial/Industrial per parcel#
Before April 1st, 2013, = $5 a Day Max $200
After April 1st, 2013, = $20 a Day Max $1000


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


  • 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