Michigan law generally allows a homeowner to claim an exemption from property taxes levied for local school operating expenses. The exemption applies only to a homeowner’s principal residence and is claimed through the filing of an affidavit with the local assessor’s office by June 1 for the upcoming summer taxes, and November 1 for the upcoming winter taxes.
In order to qualify for the exemption, a homeowner must occupy the property as his or her permanent home and, when absent, intend to return. The exemption has historically been available without time limit for homeowners residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Not so for those serving in the military, however, whose principal residence exemptions were lost if they rented out their homes for more than three years while deployed.
That restriction is no more. On June 6, 2016, the Michigan General Property Tax Act was amended with immediate effect. Eligible homeowners who are absent from their homes while actively serving in the United States armed forces can now continue to claim the principal residence exemption as long as they establish an intent to return to their home, and: (i) they continue to own the home, (ii) they have not established a new principal residence, (iii) they provide for maintenance of the property while they are away, and (iv) the property is not used for business or commercial purposes except under certain limited circumstances.