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As part of a summer or winter tax bill, is the property tax administration fee applied to special assessments?

No. The law allows for a property tax administration fee of not more than 1% of the total tax bill per parcel to apply to property taxes. The application of the property tax administration fee is specific to summer and/or winter property taxes and does not apply to current special assessment installments. (MCL 211.44(3)).

Michigan case law has long drawn a distinction between ad valorem taxes and traditional special assessments. See, for example, Graham v City of Saginaw, (317 Mich 427; 1947). Further, In Kadzban v City of Grandville, 442 Mich 495; 502 NW2d 299 (1993), the Michigan Court of Appeals concluded that:

  • A special assessment is a levy upon property within a specified district. Although it resembles a tax, a special assessment is not a tax.
  • In contrast to a tax, a special assessment is imposed to defray the costs of specific local improvements, rather than to raise revenue for general governmental purposes.

Most special assessment laws require that the special assessment installment be due, collected, and returned for nonpayment in the same manner and at the same time as the ad valorem property tax levies of the municipality imposing the special assessment. However, these special assessment laws do not provide general legal authority for a local unit to impose the property tax administration fee to a special assessment installment.