GOP Controlled Michigan Tax Commission Threatens Homeowners With Increased Taxes If Access Denied
“They should try to get inside every house so they can assure that the info on the (tax) card is correct.” -Kelli Sobel, executive director of the Michigan Tax Commission
Municipalities across Michigan have begun demanding access to the inside of private homes for inspection to see if any improvements had been made. Local tax assessors are claiming the Michigan Tax Commission, a government entity under the control of the Michigan Department of Treasury, has given them the authority to do so. In 2010, the tax commission sent all municipal tax assessors a memo stating, “local units are encouraged to annually inspect a minimum of 20 percent of the parcels each year.”
Homeowners need to be warned that denying the local assessor access to the inside of your home could could be costly and could result in higher taxes.
This is exactly what happened to one Michigan man denied his local tax assessor access to the inside of his home. John McLaughlin in Davison Township refused to let them in. So Davison Township assumed he made improvements and assessed his home at a higher value which then increased his property taxes.
Michigan Capitol Confidential states that of the 1,200 inspections last year in Davison Township, 308 residents denied entry to their homes; 459 had changes in their assessments.
McLaughlin also told Michigan Capitol Confidential he had nothing to hide but he sees it as a violation of civil rights, “I’m a former military member and signed up to protect the Constitution and I know that is a violation of my Fourth Amendment right.”
The 4th Amendment states,
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
In other words, you need a warrant to go inside a person’s home. An inspector would be able to come to the outside to an area called the ‘curtilage’ which just outside the structure of the home but can not enter or look in the windows. Once the assessor starts looking inside, they are violating the Fourth Amendment and need a warrant.
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