Welcome to the Grand Traverse County Equalization Department Division home page
Under general direction of the Board of Commissioners, the Equalization Department conducts the statutory annual equalization of property tax assessments to create uniformity by property classification among the various taxing jurisdictions within the county.
The Equalization Department ensures that assessment standards mandated by the Headlee Amendment are maintained and explains departmental procedures, tax laws and the assessment process to the public. The Department also provides information on property ownership, property descriptions and assessments and prepares and files necessary reports with the State Tax Commission and other affected units of government.
The Equalization Department may furnish assistance to local assessors in performance of duties imposed by the State of Michigan. These include the development and maintenance of accurate property descriptions; the discovery, listing and valuation of properties for tax purposes; and the development and use of uniform valuation standards and techniques for assessment of property.
Annually in April, Michigan law requires that the County Board of Commissioners shall meet to determine the equalized value of the county. The County Equalization Department was formed to assist the county with this task. The Department is required by the state constitution to create uniformity by class among the various taxing jurisdictions within the county. There are 6 classes of real property (Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Timber Cutover and Developmental) and 5 classes of personal property (Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial, Residential and Utility).
The local assessors are responsible for annually reviewing every assessment in their taxing jurisdiction. Tax Day is December 31 of each year and the property is assessed at 50% of its 'True Cash Value' as of that date. The local assessors, through the local Boards of Review, are the only entities allowed to change individual assessments. The Equalization Department may not change individual assessments; it may only change the entire class of property by adding to or deducting from the assessment roll. This is done by applying a multiplier (i.e., a factor).
The Equalization Department serves as a liaison between the County Board of Commissioners, the State Tax Commission, the local units of government, and the public. Through the course of normal business, the Equalization Department personnel interact with the general public allowing them to answer questions regarding the assessment and property taxation function. In addition, the Equalization Department periodically holds educational training sessions for the local units of government.
Most of the information gathered by the Equalization Department is available to the public during the course of regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) Some of the information available consists of parcel maps, aerial photographs, parcel descriptions, sales information, Equalization reports, Millage rates, and more.