Today is the deadline for business owners to apply for a major state tax exemption

Feb 10, 2014

Michigan business owners have until the end of the day to file a form that could potentially save them lots of money on their 2014 tax bill.

Michigan’s personal property tax applies to all kinds of things. Carmakers pay the tax on heavy machinery; restaurants pay it on new ovens and dishwashers.

But in order to qualify, business owners have to file a form with their local government.

“This is a big change, a very big change,” said Al Mooney. He’s been the assessor at the city of Grand Rapids for 26 years. The only change that he can remember that was bigger than this was one made to residential property taxes in 1994.

“This is certainly a smaller-scale version of that in terms of trying to get the word out and getting people to step up and help themselves in terms of reducing their tax burden,” Mooney said.

Mooney says about 1,000 businesses in Grand Rapids have filed the correct form so far. But he estimates that’s less than half the number eligible for the exemption. He estimates at least 2,500 of the city’s 4,700 businesses will be eligible for the exemption.

Mooney encourages business owners to contact their local assessor’s office to figure out how to apply for the tax break.

“Staff is there to help. They want this process to work for the taxpayers because nobody likes unhappy taxpayers who’ve missed out on potentially reducing their taxes,” Mooney said.

Michigan lawmakers repealed the tax in 2012.

This is the first tax year the new law applies. But voters still have to approve repealing the tax in Michigan’s general election this August.