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Alternative Dispute Resolution FAQ
FAQ - Alternative Dispute Resolution
These frequently asked questions (FAQs) are intended for potential and current petitioners, respondents, and their representatives, seeking information about the Tribunal and our processes and procedures, and are not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. The Michigan Tax Tribunal cannot provide parties legal advice or assistance. If you need legal assistance or advice, you should consult an attorney or other knowledgeable individual.
a. Mediation (Entire Tribunal and Small Claims Divisions)
a. Mediation (Entire Tribunal and Small Claims Divisions)
What is mediation?
Mediation is an alternative to a hearing and a settlement process. It is process in which a mediator facilitates communication between parties, assists in identifying issues, and helps explore solutions to promote a mutually acceptable settlement.
Is mediation voluntary?
Yes, Mediation is voluntary. The Tribunal cannot refer a case to mediation.
Is a mediator like a judge?
No. A mediator cannot provide any legal advice and cannot make a decision in your case. A mediator will facilitate the conversation and settlement negotiations between the parties.
Who can attend mediation sessions?
The parties to the appeal, the parties’ attorney or authorized representative, anyone else involved in the dispute or may have to be bound by the Consent Judgment, if the case is settled.
How do I request referral to mediation?
The parties must agree to mediation and file a stipulation with the Tribunal.
What information does the Stipulation for Mediation have to include?
The parties must identify the name of the mediator, state that the mediator is certified by the Tribunal, state that the mediator has disclosed any potential basis for disqualification, and state that the parties and the mediator have agreed to compensation of the mediator and payment of the compensation.
What happens after a Stipulation for Mediation is filed with the Tribunal?
If the parties have filed a proper Stipulation for Mediation, the Tribunal will issue an Order for Mediation along with an order holding the case in abeyance. The Order will provide the deadline for the completion of mediation and require the mediator to file a Mediation Status Report within seven (7) days of completing mediation.
What is a Mediation Status Report?
A Mediation Status Report is a document filed by a mediator stating whether the mediation was completed or whether it was deemed inappropriate, identifying the mediation participants, whether the case was settled, and whether further mediation is necessary.
How do I become a mediator?
An individual desiring to be a certified mediator with the Tribunal must file a mediation application. The fee for the filing of the application is $50.00. If you qualify, you will be included on the Tribunal’s published list of mediators for one year.
What are the qualifications to become a certified mediator with the Tribunal?
There are two qualifications:
What happens if we successfully mediate our case?
The parties must file a stipulation for entry of consent judgment, with appropriate filing fee, and a consent judgment may be entered if the stipulation is found to be acceptable to the Tribunal.
Am I required to settle the case if my case is ordered to mediation?
No. If the parties are unable to settle their case through mediation, the Tribunal will remove the case from abeyance and proceed with the case.
b. Settlement & Informal Settlement Conferences (Small Claims Division only)
Can I resolve my case without a hearing?
You can settle your tax matter at any time. You should contact the opposing party before the hearing date and ask if he or she is willing to discuss settlement of your appeal. If you settle your case and you have a hearing scheduled, you must contact the Tribunal to advise us of the settlement. If you do not contact the Tribunal, and fail to appear for your hearing, your case may be dismissed. Specifically, the parties are required to submit a copy of the stipulation signed by all parties no later than 4:30 p.m. on the business day immediately preceding the day of the scheduled hearing. The failure to submit a copy of the signed stipulation by 4:30 p.m. on the preceding business day will require the parties to attend the hearing scheduled for the next day even though the case has settled. This submission may be made via email to email@example.com. Our contact information is located at 'Contacting the Tribunal'.
What form do I file if I settled a case with the other party?
If you reach a settlement, you must file a written agreement (stipulation) signed by both parties, which provides the original and revised values. Forms are available, see stipulation forms. In the Small Claims division, there is a $25.00 fee for the filing of the stipulation. The fee is waived if you are appealing the valuation of your property in Small Claims and the property under appeal has received a principal residence exemption of at least 50% or more for the tax years under appeal. In the Entire Tribunal, there is a $50.00 fee for filing a stipulation. For more information on fees click filing fees.
What is an informal settlement conference?
An informal settlement conference is a meeting between the parties to discuss issues in an effort to settle the case.
What cases may be discussed at an informal settlement conference?
The parties may not request an informal settlement conference to discuss an appeal of a principal residence exemption that was denied by either the Michigan Department of Treasury or a County. All other case types are eligible for an informal settlement conference.
Are informal settlement conferences required to be held in every Small Claims case?
No. This is a voluntary process that may be requested by a party to the opposing party.
When can an informal settlement conference be requested?
An informal settlement conference may be requested after the petition has been filed and the Tribunal has issued a Notice of Docket Number. The informal settlement conference must be requested before a Small Claims hearing has been scheduled.
Who can request an informal settlement conference?
A petitioner or a local tax collecting unit may request an informal settlement conference.
How do I request an informal settlement conference?
The request must made be in writing, served on the opposing party, and a copy of the request must also be filed with the Tribunal. The request must include a statement attesting to the service of the request on the petitioner or local tax collecting unit. The statement must also identify the name of the person upon whom the request was served and the date and method that the request was served on that person. For the parties’ convenience, the Tribunal has created a Request for Informal Conference form that may be used to request an informal settlement conference.
What is the process if a petitioner requests the informal settlement conference?
The local tax collecting unit must schedule and hold the conference within 60 days after receipt of the written request. The conference must be held by either telephone or at the offices of the local tax collecting unit. If the local tax collecting unit does not schedule and hold the conference within 60 days after receipt of the written request, the petitioner may file a motion to compel the informal settlement conference with the Tribunal. If the Tribunal issues an order to compel the conference, and the local tax collecting unit does not schedule and hold it, an expedited default hearing* will be scheduled. *A default hearing is a hearing where the respondent is prohibited from providing any testimony or documentary evidence.
What is the process if the local tax collecting unit requests the informal settlement conference?
The local tax collecting unit must schedule and hold the conference within 60 days after delivery of the written request on petitioner. The conference may be held by telephone or at the offices of the local tax collecting unit. A petitioner is not required to respond to the request for an informal settlement conference and is not required to attend the informal settlement conference. If petitioner does not respond to the request or attend the conference, the petitioner’s appeal will still continue to hearing where both parties may present testimony and evidence.
What is the informal settlement conference is successful and the parties have come to an agreement?
The parties may enter into a Stipulation for Entry of Consent Judgment. The Stipulation must be filed with the Tribunal and a $25.00 filing fee paid, if a fee is required. A fee is required if the petitioner did not have at least a 50% principal residence exemption at the time the petition was filed. The Tribunal will review the Stipulation and if it is acceptable to the Tribunal, it will enter it as the final order by issuing a Consent Judgment. The Consent Judgment adopts the parties Stipulation and closes the case. If the Tribunal reviews the Stipulation and determines it is not proper, it will deny it by order. If the Stipulation is denied, the petitioner appeal will continue to a Small Claims hearing before a Tribunal Member or Administrative Law Judge.
What is the informal settlement conference is not successful and the parties could not come to an agreement?
If the parties cannot negotiate an agreement, the appeal will continue to a Small Claims hearing before a Tribunal Member or Administrative Law Judge.