Michigan blows it on disabled veterans property tax relief...

Written by Posted On Friday, 20 December 2013 17:19


Back on November 22nd I posted here about a recently passed law that provides property tax relief for Michigan veterans who are 100% disabled.  Little did I know at the time that my post might be the only way that many disabled Michigan veterans would hear about this new law.


Since that post I’ve had lots of feedback from disabled veterans that they hadn’t seen or heard anything about the law until they saw my blog post. Even worse, when the disabled vets tried to get help from their local township officials, many hit exactly what I had predicted in my post – townships offices that had no knowledge about the law or how to implement it and who did not even have the necessary forms for the disabled veterans to fill out in order to get the tax relief. In essence Michigan blew it again on this law.


 Michigan is probably not the only state in which this happens. Well-meaning state-level law makers pass laws that must be implemented at the County and Township levels; but, they provide little to no guidance as to how to implement the law or don’t provide local–level training or the necessary support to implement the laws. In this case they also passed a law that reduced local revenues at the County and Township levels and just left it up to those bodies as to how they would make up for that lost revenue. Apparently, one way is for local officials to stonewall the people that the law was intended to help; so that they can’t get the break that the law allows.


I’m sure that the majority of the local officials aren’t really out to prevent disabled veterans from taking advantage of this tax relief; but, I’m equally sure that the state lawmakers blew it in terms of providing for the necessary publicity and implementation help for local governmental bodies. The Michigan lawmakers were focused upon providing some relief for their disabled constituents, without any concern about how their new law would be implemented. That has become common since terms limits have assured that we'll have lawmakers serving with little to no experience most of the time. Just the timing of the passage of the law shows that lack of understanding about implementation – it was passed and signed into law with immediate effect on November 12,  with the 2013 tax appeal deadline in most jurisdictions less than a month away. By the time most disabled vets heard about it there was only a week or two before the 2013 deadline. Then, many disabled vets ran into befuddled township officials with no idea what to do.


The implementation of this new law looks a lot like a Detroit Lions fake field goal – all screwed up. Whomever the original sponsors of were of this worthwhile law were; they need to revisit whether they now need to provide some retroactive relief for 2013 taxes to those disabled veterans that got left out due to the poor communications involved. While I don’t mind hearing from all of the vets that have contacted me, I advise them to seek out their elected officials at the local and state level and raise a lot of cane about how this was handled. The lawmakers just kicked the can on down the road, but the people who need the help are left holding the bag for 2013 property taxes.


The other things that I’ve heard is that some Townships apparently have local property taxes that they enacted over time, or fees that they have called taxes and attached to the property tax collection. They are apparently still going to try to collect these local property taxes from disabled vets, even thought that certainly violates the spirit of the state-level aw. Those are battles that need to be fought locally. I suspect that not many local politicians would like to be on the wrong side of a vocal battle with groups of disabled vets. Maybe it’s time for a few of those local politicians to yield their seats to those who have served their country honorably and paid a heavy price.


Disabled vets should not give up in disgust. You still need to file for the exemption for 2014 taxes. You should also contact your elected county and state officials and complain about how this was handled and demand retroactive relief for the 2013 tax year. The intent of the law was clearly to provide that relief and the fact that there was poor communications about the law and how to implement it is not your fault. Do not go quietly into the night on this issue! Demand better of your elected officials.


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Norm Werner

Norm Werner is a Realtor at the Milford office of Real Estate One serving the southeastern Michigan area of Oakland and Livingston Counties. Norm specializes in residential real estate. Norm lives and works in Milford Michigan and is married to Carolyn Werner. Norm and Carolyn live in a historic home just three blocks from downtown Milford, with their two dogs - Sadie and Skippy. Norm specializes in the historic homes of Milford and the surrounding area and is on the Board of Directors of the Milford Historical Society. Norm especially enjoys working with first time buyers and those at the other end of the real estate spectrum who are downsizing into their retirement home. 

In addition to his Movetomilford.com web site, Norm also owns and m,aintains TheMilfordTeam.com web site, the HuronValleyRealtor.com web site. He is also the webmaster for and the MilfordHistory.org web site and the MilfordCar Show.com web site, as well as his church web site - Spiritdrivenchurch.com. In addition to blogging about real eastate, Norm has a personal blog - NormsMilfordBlog.com - on which he shares inspirational messages and the occasions personal observation about life. 


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