Assessor's Office

Overview of the Assessing Department

The Assessing Department establishes assessed and taxable values of all taxable property within the City of Dearborn Heights. To establish the assessed value of each real property in the city, the Assessing Department lists, inventories, inspects, analyzes sales and income data, calculates depreciated costs, and appraises the value of each taxable property within the City of Dearborn Heights. 

To establish the taxable value of each property in the city, the Assessing Department monitors transfers of ownership to determine when the taxable value of a property becomes uncapped. To establish the taxable and assessed value of the personal property, the Assessing Department identifies new business owners by performing street surveys, processes personal property statements, and audits the records and examines the personal property of a sampling of businesses. 

Other duties of the Assessing Department include administering the rescission and granting of principal residence exemptions, processing divisions of land, the write up legal descriptions, reviewing and processing exemption applications, establishing special assessment districts, and apportioning the special assessment within that special assessment district, defending assessed and taxable values before the Michigan Tax Tribunal and assisting other departments and divisions within the city with valuation, real estate, and property.

Please be advised that appraisers will be out in the field verifying permits, and sales, and reviewing property records, per state-recommended guidelines. Our field appraisers have i.d.s and vests. We ask for your cooperation if you should have any contact with the appraisers during their field inspections. This information will be used to compile the next year’s assessments and it is imperative that all reviewed information be accurate. A door tag will be left on the property if you have been visited. If we are unable to access the property or contact the owner, an estimate will be made based on all the information we are able to gather.

General Definitions of Assessing Terminology

Within the context of the Assessing Department and its related activities, it is helpful to have a familiarity with the major terms and concepts relevant to the property tax administration.

State Equalized & Assessed Value

This value for a property represents 50% of its estimated fair market value. A 24-month sales study is performed by the county equalization department to determine the total assessment percentage change by class (residential, commercial, industrial, personal).

Upon completion of county equalization, the Michigan State Tax Commission uses the same procedures to equalize each class of property in each of the 83 counties in the state. The local assessor's responsibility is to appropriately spread the class increase among all the various areas of the city, as determined by analysis of sales within each area.

The assessed value for a given property may increase or decrease to any amount that the sales analysis indicates. Subsequent to the processes of county and state equalization, the assessed value becomes the state-equalized value. In most contexts, assessed value and state-equalized value is used in an interchangeable sense.

Taxable Value

This is the value used to calculate your property taxes. A property's taxable value can only increase annually by the rate of inflation or 5%, whichever is less unless there is an addition to the property (i.e., physical improvement or omitted property) or the property's ownership transferred during a previous tax year. See Michigan Compiled Laws 211.27a and MCL 211.34d. A property's taxable value can also decrease if there is a physical loss to the property. See MCL 211.34d. The taxable value may not be the same as the property’s true cash value, assessed value, or state-equalized value, but it can never be greater than the property’s assessed value or state-equalized value.

Uncapping the Taxable Value

When the property's ownership is transferred during a previous tax year, the property's taxable value may be uncapped. If uncapped, the taxable value becomes the same as the property's state-equalized value. Transfer of ownership is defined in MCL 211.27a. Please review the Explanation of Taxable Value Uncapping Page for further details.

Principal Residence Exemption

This is an exemption of the tax levied by the local school district for school operating purposes when the property is the principal residence of the owner. See MCL 211.7cc.

Poverty Exemption and Guidelines

Poverty Exemptions will be heard three times a year at the March, July, and December Boards of Review. The current year application and guidelines are available below under the Forms section. For exact dates, please see the Appeal Process Page

Have More Questions?

Please contact our office at 313-791-3460. Our staff is happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have with the valuation of your property. Ensuring your record is accurate and up to date is always a good place to start when questioning the accuracy of your assessment.