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Small Claims

Small Claims Division

The Michigan Tax Tribunal is an independent entity and is separate from the Michigan Department of Treasury, Michigan State Tax Commission, all local units of government, and local Boards of Review.

The Tribunal's Small Claims Division utilizes an informal hearing process to resolve most of appeals filed with the Tribunal. There is no formal record taken of the hearing and parties typically represent themselves. Small Claims hearings are telephonic and 30 minutes in length. The presiding judge is an administrative law judge or a Tribunal member. Depending on the Tribunal’s docket load, the time from the initial appeal filing to issuance of the final decision may be 12 to 18 months.

Overview of the Appeals Process

1. Starting the Appeal – Petitioner files a Petition

  • An appeal is started by e-filing a petition form or by the printing and mailing of a completed petition form.
  • The Tribunal's e-filing system is the most efficient way to initiate an appeal. Through the Tribunal's e-filing system, users can file a petition to initiate an appeal, respond to an appeal, file Stipulations for Entry of Consent Judgment, motions, and other documents, and pay required filing fees. To participate in the Tribunal's e-filing system, users or their attorneys or authorized representatives are required to register and create an account using a valid email address.

2. A Docket Number is Assigned

Tribunal Terms
You Should Know

Below are select terms you should know during a Tribunal case. See more terms in the Tribunal Glossary.

Answer – A document the Respondent files in response to a Petition they have received from a Petitioner. Use the Tribunal’s Answer Form.

Burden of Proof – Petitioner must generally prove they are right by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This means it is more likely than not that Petitioner is correct. It is a far lower burden than criminal cases that have a burden of “beyond reasonable doubt.”

Consent Judgment – This is a judgment based on a settlement between the parties. It has the same force of law as a judgment that follows a hearing. See Stipulation.

Evidence – Documents and testimony that parties submit to support their position that certain facts are correct. For instance, evidence of owning a house would be a copy of the deed to the house.

Jurisdiction – The extent of power that a court possesses to decide a case. The Tribunal may only decide on those cases that are timely filed using the proper procedures. For instance, if a Petitioner timely appeals a 2022 Board of Review decision, then the Tribunal has jurisdiction over the 2022 year at issue but will not have jurisdiction to decide matters involving 2021 or other years.

Motion – A formal request by a party to the Tribunal to act. For example, filing a motion to dismiss is requesting the Tribunal dismiss a case (for reasons stated in the motion).

Notice of Hearing – A document sent to the parties when the Tribunal has scheduled a hearing in a case. Read it carefully because it has important information you must follow.

Petition – The document filed to start an appeal in the Tribunal. It is always filed by the Petitioner. When a petition may be filed is set by Michigan statute. Use the Tribunal’s Petition Form.

Petitioner – The party who starts a case in the MTT by filing a petition against another party (known as the Respondent).

Proof of Service – A written statement that you file with the Tribunal indicating that you sent (or “served”) the documents on the other party. The Tribunal recommends you use the Proof of Service form provided.

Respondent – The party who is being sued by the Petitioner and responds to the filing of a petition by filing an answer.

Service – The act of sending a copy of court papers or other documents to the other party. He “served” his evidence on the Respondent by sending them a copy by mail. See proof of service.

Stipulation – A written agreement between the parties that is submitted to the Tribunal. A stipulation may be on limited facts of the case or may be a stipulation for entry of consent judgment that settles the entire case. The parties should use the Tribunal’s Stipulation for Entry of Consent Judgment Form .

Tax Day – In Michigan, property taxes for a particular tax year are determined on the immediately preceding December 31. For example, Tax Day for year 2022 is December 31, 2021.

Tax Tribunal Rules – The Tribunal has its own rules of procedure to conduct cases that the parties must follow. Review the Tax Tribunal Rules.

Tax Year at Issue – The tax year(s) that the Tribunal has jurisdiction to decide a case. For instance, someone who has filed a valuation appeal for tax year 2022 would have the 2022 tax year at issue.

Valuation Disclosure – Typically an appraisal or other document that attests to the true cash value of a property as of tax day(s) for the year(s) at issue.