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Proof of Service

Proof of Service in the Tax Tribunal

Parties are required to send (or "serve") a copy of all documents that they file with the Tribunal on the opposing party. The only exception to this rule is that parties are not required to serve the petition, answer, or any evidence or supporting documentation filed with the petition and answer in the Small Claims Division. Any other documentation or evidence filed in the Small Claims Division must be served on the opposing party.

*All filings in the Entire Tribunal Division MUST be served and be accompanied with a proof of service.

Proof of Service

is a written statement that you file with the Tribunal indicating that you "served" (sent a copy) of the submitted documents to the opposing party.

Failure to include a proof of service form with your filing

Failure to include a proof of service for all Tribunal submissions can result in no action being taken on the filing or the exclusion of evidence, which means it will not be considered by the Tribunal. This can also happen if the proof of service is "defective" because it is not signed or lists an incorrect address for the other party.

Failure to include proof of service (or filing defective proof of service) can also result in the filing party being held in default.  If you are held in default for no proof of service or defective proof of service, the case will not proceed until the defect is corrected. This is referred to as "curing" the default. You will be given an opportunity to submit or correct the proof of service, but failure to timely do so may result in dismissal of your appeal or the conducting of a default hearing where you will be precluded from providing any evidence or testimony or otherwise participating in the proceeding. You may also be required to file a motion to set the default aside and pay a filing fee to cure the default.

What if a party states in their proof of service they served the opposing party, but the documents were not actually served on the opposing party?

If a proof of service has been filed attesting to service of a document on a party, and the party did not actually receive a copy of that document, that party can file a motion for default against the party who failed to serve them.  

The Tribunal recommends using its proof of service forms: 

See the Tribunal Operations and Procedures FAQ for more information.

Tribunal Rules about Proof of Service involving specific filings:

  • Amended pleadings, see TTR 221
  • Answers, see TTR 229
  • Appearance by attorney or authorized representative, see TTR 211 and TTR 223
  • Discovery, see TTR 243
  • Evidence, see TTR 287
  • Exceptions, see TTR 289
  • Interrogatories to the Parties, see TTR 239
  • Motions (including motion to adjourn and summary dispositions), see TTR 225
  • Petitions, see TTR 219
  • Request for Production of Documents, see TTR 287
  • Special Assessment Petition, see TTR 221(8)
  • Stipulations, see TTR 219

10 Tips for a proper Proof of Service

  1. Send the papers to the correct parties.
    • Petitions and answers in a Small Claims Division cases do not need to be served on the other party, so a Proof of Service is not necessary.
    • When serving a Petition in an Entire Tribunal property case, there are five specific parties, beyond the local government, that must be served.
    • For Petitions in a non-property Entire Tribunal case, it is only necessary to send the proof of service to the institution that is assessing the tax. For instance, serve the Department of Treasury, if the tax is assessed by Treasury. Serve the clerk of the local government, if the tax (usually income tax) is assessed by the local government.
    • In all other cases for both Entire Tribunal and Small Claims, all filings require a proof of service and should be served on the opposing party.
    • Note that the Tribunal is NOT a party to the matter, but the administrative agency overseeing the appeal.  For this reason, the proof of service should never indicate that documents were served on the Tribunal, but that they were served on the taxpayer, local unit of government (City, Township, or County) or other agency involved in the appeal (such as the Michigan Department of Treasury).
  2. Do not list the Tribunal as one of the parties being served.
  3. Send the papers to the correct address. The party's address is generally listed in their first filing in the case. For instance, use the Petitioner's address from their Petition or use Respondent's address listed in their Answer. The service is defective (and will be rejected) if it is sent to the wrong address.
  4. Send the papers by the deadline. Some papers must be sent to the Tribunal and the other party within a certain time limit. For instance, in Small Claims Division cases, parties must serve their evidence on the other party 21 days before the hearing, or it may be excluded from consideration at the hearing.
  5. When serving attorneys or authorized representatives. If a party is represented by an attorney or authorized representative, send the papers to them only. Their address may be in the party's first pleading like the petition or answer. If the attorney or representative has filed an "Appearance" (meaning they have informed the Tribunal and all parties that they will be involved in the case), then use the address listed in that attorney's Appearance (available from the Docket Lookup).
  6. State the docket number along with the date that you served or mailed the documents to the other party. The Tribunal will not accept a proof of service if the docket number or date are missing.
  7. Correctly identify exactly what documents were served on the other party. The Tribunal will not accept a proof of service if the documents are not identified.
  8. Sign the Proof of Service. Proof of service must be signed, and it must also indicate that the documents were served on the opposing party, or their authorized representative if they have one, at the email or mailing address identified in the petition or answer filed with the Tribunal, unless an appearance or other documentation identifying a different address has been filed.  
  9. Send the Proof of Service form to the Tribunal at the same time you send the documents to the other party. It is important that the Tribunal receive a timely Proof of Service.
  10. If the Tribunal rejects your proof of service, you must submit a new one that has corrected the errors.