The mission of the Assessor’s Office is:
- To annually provide the residents and property owners of Royal Oak with fair and equitable assessments
- To provide information to the general public that is accurate and reliable and mindful that service is the reason for our existence
- To provide information to other city departments efficiently and allowing them to better perform their duties
- To provide all of these services in a professional and courteous manner which complies with the Charter of the City of Royal Oak and the constitution and laws of the State of Michigan
The Assessor’s Office uniformly and accurately values all taxable property in the City of Royal Oak. The office is responsible for preparing the Assessment Rolls and Tax Rolls of the City for all classes of property subject to taxation. The State Constitution and statutes require that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, the assessed values placed upon the assessment roll shall be at fifty percent (50%) of true cash value.
Passed by the voters in March of 1994, Proposal A placed additional limits on values used to compute property taxes. Starting in 1995, property taxes were calculated using “taxable value”. This value is capped by the inflation rate multiplier until a property transfers ownerships. Prior to Proposal A, taxes were calculated on the “State Equalized Value” (SEV). This value represents market or true cash value and changed annually regardless of changes in ownership.
The Assessor’s Office is a valuable source of information for the public, maintaining data on each parcel of property in the City. This includes plat maps and record cards for over 25,000 real property parcels. Approximately 2000 parcels are personal property which are maintained by contract with Tax Management Associates. The total parcels include, as well as ad valorem parcels, Industrial Facilities Tax (IFT), Tax Increment Financing Authority (TIFA), Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Brownfield Redevelopment Authority properties.
Principal Residence Exemption
Another function of the Assessor’s Office is to record, maintain and edit the status of each parcel of property in the City to determine whether it qualifies for a “principal residence exemption” for a portion of school tax. The office also analyzes deeds and affidavits on every transferred property within the City that would trigger an “uncapping” of taxable value in accordance with Proposal A.
Land Divisions & Combinations
The administration of land divisions and combinations is the responsibility of the City Assessor while coordinating review efforts with Planning, Building, Engineering and Treasury through completion with the Oakland County Land Division and the Land and Address Management System. The Assessor assists and guides the property owner through the process. This procedure includes plat and condominium developments.
Change of Assessment Notices
Change of Assessment Notices are mailed in February of each year and taxpayers are given the opportunity to protest their assessment before the City’s Board of Review in March. The Board of Review is composed of six City residents, split into two boards, appointed by the Commission for two year terms. The Board has the discretion and authority to make adjustments to an individual’s assessment if warranted.
Board of Review
General Property Tax Law also provides for a special meeting of the Board of Review to be held on specific days in July and December for the purpose of correcting clerical errors or mutual mistakes.
With the legal assistance of quality, professional outside counsel, the Assessor’s Office is able to settle, dismiss, and defend the Tax Tribunal appeals that are brought against the City.
On or before the first day of July of each year, the City Assessor delivers a certified copy of the assessment roll on which the City tax has been apportioned and spread, with the warrant annexed to the City Treasurer. The assessments are utilized with the millage rates adopted by the various taxing authorities (Oakland County, Parks & Recreation, Zoological Authority, Art Institute Authority, Public Transportation Authority, Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, Berkley, Clawson and Royal Oak Schools, Oakland Community College, Oakland Schools ISD) to generate tax revenues for the authorities within the City’s boundaries.
Each township and city in Michigan is rated annually by state equalized value requirements as compiled by the Assessment and Certification Division of the Michigan Department of Treasury. There are four (4) levels of assessing units and they are Level 1 (lowest), 2, 3 and 4 (highest). The State’s rating requires that an individual be licensed by the Assessment and Certification Division at that level of certification in order to certify the assessment roll. The City of Royal Oak is rated at Level 4 and the City Assessor is a certified Michigan Master Assessing Officer (MMAO). The staff consists of two Appraisers, one part-time Appraiser, one Municipal Clerk and one part-time clerk.
The Assessor’s Office operates under the provisions of the General Property Tax Act of 1896, as amended along with any applicable City of Royal Oak Charter provisions.