Tax time is appealing for Jaffe attorney

By John Minnis
Legal News

It is time to file those appeals — property tax appeals — and a new online resource can make the job much easier and less time consuming.
“A reason a lot of attorneys don’t do this,” says Trey Brice of Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss, “is the time it takes to gather this information.”
That is, until now.
Brice’s expertise can be tapped through an interactive Internet tool called True Tax and is available at
“Before coming to Jaffe,” he says, “I worked on the government side. We did property tax work for cities.”
True Tax is the brainchild of Jim McCay, president of the Tax Appeal Team. Brice, who helped put the Web site tool together and did the instructional videos, explains that McCay had a friend who had gone before the local board of review to appeal his property assessment.
“He got nowhere,” Brice recalls. “It was like banging his head on the wall. It shouldn’t be that hard. People should be able to do this on their own.”
So Brice and McCay teamed up with real estate professionals, other attorneys and IT specialists to create a Web site that guides the user step-by-step through the process to “preparedly” approach the local board of review or the Michigan Tax Tribunal with evidentiary support for reducing property taxes.
True Tax gives users access to a suite of tools that navigate the complex landscape of the valuation and appeals process.
Before appealing a property assessment, one must understand the assessor’s role and how true market values and taxable values are determined. The True Tax site answers all those questions and more.
A major part of appealing a property assessment is gathering sales data from comparable homes that sold within the previous calendar year.
Previously, the data was only available from city hall or by hiring an expert for some $500 to do the work.
Now that information is available at the True Tax site without having to leave the home or office.
Even better, four- to five-minute videos provide step-by-step instructions on how to evaluate comparable home sales in determining the value of your client’s home.
“Before True Tax, the process of appealing property valuation assessments was, for all intents and purposes, impossible or, at the very least, extremely difficult for the average homeowner,” says MacKay. “True Tax not only presents information on specific property valuations, but it also leads the user through an explanatory process to construct a strong property tax appeal.”
True Tax then provides a professional presentation — complete with pictures if the user chooses to upload them — that will impress the board of review and, more importantly, provide the information necessary to accurately set the property’s true value.
“When you walk into the board of review with this,” Brice says, “you are not just telling the board what the value should be but why.”
The Tax Appeal Team even tells what and what not to say to the board of review. Do not, Brice says, complain that “taxes are too high” or that “property values on average went down by 20 percent so why hasn’t your client’s.” Brice has even provided users with the most likely questions to be asked by the board of review.
“If the board of review doesn’t give you what you want or does nothing,” he says, “we take you to the next step, the Michigan Tax Tribunal.”
The True Tax tool is also good for providing a quick appraisal for estate and even divorce attorneys. Attorneys at banks stuck with properties can use True Tax to challenge their taxes.
“You are saving your clients money,” Brice says. “You are saving your estate money. I don’t know anybody who it doesn’t impact in some way.”
The True Tax online tool is priced at $97. The report remains accessible in case the appeal goes to the tax tribunal, which has a backlog of some two years.
“I’ve been to the board of review,” Brice says, “and I’ve experienced that awful feeling personally. I’ve done it. This is what I do 100 percent of the time. This is how you do it.”
For more information, go to the True Tax Web site,


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