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Escanaba wins key appeal in dispute over big-box values

May 28, 2016

ESCANABA, Mich. (AP) - An Upper Peninsula city has won a key ruling in a legal dispute over how to value big-box stores for tax purposes.

Value has been a hot issue in Michigan, especially in the U.P. where communities have been forced to give refunds based on decisions by the Michigan Tax Tribunal.

But Escanaba successfully argued that the Tribunal used the wrong standard to determine the value of a Menards store. In a 3-0 decision released Friday, the Michigan appeals court sent the case back to the Tribunal for more work.

The Michigan Retailers Association doesn't see much significance in the ruling, saying it's "not a victory for anyone" because "nobody knows" the final result. But groups representing local governments hope the decision will reinforce the need for a change in law.