The Assessing Department is responsible for determining the state equalized value for all real and personal property, processing land division applications and maintaining the computerized property records.
Grand Haven Township’s tax, assessing and special assessment information is hosted by BS&A Software. This information is also available during normal business hours of the Township Hall, 8:00am – 5:00pm.
If you have had a building/zoning permit in the past year or newly purchased your property, you can expect an Assessing Department staff person to visit your property sometime between the middle of November until the end of December to verify information.
Why does my taxable value go up?
Prior to 1994, in areas of rapidly increasing property values, property taxes jumped dramatically from one year to the next. Proposal A, passed in 1994, has provided for a modest, stable increase in the value used to compute your property taxes, through good and bad times. This new value, used to compute your property taxes, is called taxable value.
Under Proposal A, the increase in your taxable value is limited to the rate of inflation or five percent, unless something new is added to the property or something is taken away. Your taxable value can also not be greater than your assessed value. Your assessed value should represent, within the limits of mass appraisal, fifty percent of what your property is worth.
The inflation rate used is derived from many sources. In addition to housing prices, it also includes such things as the price of gas, food, medical care and other expenditures. The same inflation rate is used throughout the state.
My assessment is going up. Shouldn’t the assessment be going down?
Should assessed values be going down? To determine this we have to look at the properties that have sold. We can not use sales such as pay offs of old land contracts, sales between related parties, or forced sales, such as sales from a lending institution after a mortgage foreclosure or family sales.
According to State guidelines, we take sales from a two year period and compare them to their Assessed values (example: 10/1/12-10/1/14).
The difficult challenge for local assessors will be in determining from the sales whether each neighborhood is going up, is stable, or is going down. When determining assessed values, the assessor is barred by law from taking 50% of the sale price and using it as the new assessed value. The limits of mass appraisal are that they must, using the sales in each neighborhood, come up with a consistent system and apply it to all properties in that neighborhood. Some homes may be assessed for slightly more, some slightly less than their actual selling price.
When I look at my taxable value and assessed value and that of my neighbors, their difference is significant, whereas my taxable value and assessed value has less of a difference, why?
Depending on when the house was built and the additions (new construction) and losses (removal of items i.e. decks, fences, sheds) to taxable value which have occurred since 1994, will make a significant difference between taxable values and assessed value.
At the start of Proposal A, all houses did not have the same assessed and taxable value and since then each house has indexed in taxable value by a percentage which has made the gap between some houses larger than others.
Other houses have undergone a transfer of ownership which in the year following the transfer “uncaps” the taxable value and the assessed value and taxable become the same number. After this year of uncapping, the taxable value again becomes “capped” to increase each year at rate of inflation, with the except of any additions (new construction) or losses (removal of items).