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Locals win property tax case over big box retailers

Oct 21, 2017

Credit Michigan Municipal League

Local governments in Michigan have won a major victory in a property tax fight with big box stores.

Millions of dollars in revenue for local governments – or tax savings for big box stores – are at stake.

In this case, now three years old, the retailer Menards wanted a property it had vacated in Escanaba to be taxed as closed and empty. But Menard’s property deed says it cannot be sold for a similar use, making it nearly impossible to redevelop.

The city said that’s not fair, and wants to tax it for its most-valuable use, including retail.

The Supreme Court stand a lower court decision in favor of Escanaba and other local governments. The case now goes back to the Michigan Tax Tribunal, which must take the court rulings into account when it makes its decision.