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Local governments could recoup millions from appeals court ruling

Local governments say their taxpayers will benefit from a state Court of Appeals ruling that deals with a property tax break loophole for big box retailers.  

Major retailers like Lowes, Menards, and Meijer have successfully argued property tax assessors should compare their stores to vacant properties to establish their value.

That’s cost local governments millions of dollars in lost property taxes.

Steve Currie is with the Michigan Association of Counties.

He says the vacant properties have often been shuttered by the same big box retailers with deed restrictions that make them almost impossible to sell. The result, he says, is a tax shift to small business and residential taxpayers.

“It’s potentially going to lead to more equitable treatment, so everyone’s paying their fair share of taxes.”

The case could go next to the Michigan Supreme Court.

The state Legislature is also looking at the issue.

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