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What Are the Key Real Estate Tax Laws in Michigan?

What Property Owners Need to Know

Navigating real estate taxes can be a daunting task for property owners in Michigan. This comprehensive guide will help you understand what real estate taxes are, how they are calculated, and whether they are deductible. By the end of this post, you’ll have a clear grasp of your tax responsibilities and potential benefits.

What Are Real Estate Taxes?

Real estate taxes, commonly known as property taxes, are levies imposed by local governments on property owners. These taxes fund essential public services such as schools, road maintenance, and emergency services, contributing to the well-being of the community.

How Are Real Estate Taxes Calculated in Michigan?

Assessed Value: Each property is assigned an assessed value by the local assessor, reflecting the property's market value. This value is crucial in determining your tax obligation.

Millage Rate: The local government sets a millage rate, which is a tax rate applied per $1,000 of assessed value. For example, if your property is assessed at $200,000 and the millage rate is 20 mills, your annual property tax would be $4,000.

Taxable Value: In Michigan, the taxable value is capped and cannot increase more than the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is lower, unless there is a transfer of ownership.

Paying Real Estate Taxes in Michigan

Property taxes are typically billed annually or semi-annually. You can pay these taxes directly to the local treasurer's office or through your mortgage escrow account if you have a mortgage.

Are Real Estate Property Taxes Deductible?

Federal Tax Deduction: Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, real estate property taxes are deductible on your federal income tax return, but with limitations. The total amount of state and local taxes (SALT), including property taxes, that you can deduct is capped at $10,000 per year ($5,000 if married filing separately).

Itemizing Deductions: To benefit from the property tax deduction, you must itemize your deductions on your federal tax return using Schedule A (Form 1040). If your total itemized deductions are less than the standard deduction for your filing status, it may not be beneficial to itemize.

Michigan State Taxes: While Michigan state income tax does not allow a direct deduction for property taxes, it's important to check for any specific credits or benefits for property owners.

Practical Advice for Michigan Property Owners

Keep Records: Maintain detailed records of all property tax payments. This documentation is essential for accurate reporting and potential deductions.

Consult a Tax Professional: Real estate taxes and deductions can be complex. Consulting a tax professional can help you maximize your tax benefits and ensure compliance with current laws.

Understand Your Local Tax Environment: Property tax rates and regulations can vary significantly by locality within Michigan. Understanding your specific area’s rules and rates is crucial.


Real estate taxes are a fundamental aspect of property ownership in Michigan, funding vital community services. While they are deductible on your federal tax return, the benefit is subject to limitations. By staying informed and consulting with tax professionals, property owners can effectively manage and potentially reduce their tax burden.

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