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147384 - Sal-Mar Royal Village v Macomb Co Treasurer

Sal-Mar Royal Village,
 
Myles B. Hoffert
 
Plaintiff-Appellee,
Paige Harley Bachand
v
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
 
 
(Macomb – Viviano, D.)
 
Macomb County Treasurer,
 
Frank K. Krycia
 
Defendant-Appellant.
 

Summary

​In 2007, plaintiff Sal-Mar Royal Village filed a property tax appeal against Macomb Township in the Michigan Tax Tribunal and did not pay its property taxes while the appeal was pending, thus incurring substantial interest. Ultimately, the parties entered into a consent judgment that included a provision waiving any penalty and interest due from either party if all applicable taxes or refunds were paid.

However, the Macomb County Treasurer, as representative of Macomb County, refused to recognize the waiver-of-interest provision and issued Sal-Mar Royal Village a revised tax bill that included interest of $127,971.29. Sal-Mar Royal Village did not pay the interest; instead, it sought to enforce the waiver-of-interest provision in the consent judgment. The circuit court granted Macomb County summary disposition, ruling that the consent judgment only applied to Sal-Mar Royal Village and the township because they were the only parties to the tax appeal.

In a published opinion, the Court of Appeals reversed the circuit court’s decision and held that the county was bound by the consent judgment because it was in a legal relationship with the township with respect to the litigation; the two parties shared the same interest in collecting property taxes, and worked together to collect those taxes. The Court also held that the tribunal had the authority to waive interest on the delinquent taxes.

The Macomb County Treasurer sought leave to appeal in the Supreme Court, which, in lieu of granting leave, remanded the case to the Court of Appeals “for consideration of whether the plaintiff’s complaint for relief falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Michigan Tax Tribunal.”  The Supreme Court retained jurisdiction over the case.  On remand, the Court of Appeals held that Sal-Mar Royal Village’s complaint for relief did not fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Michigan Tax Tribunal.”

The case then returned to the Supreme Court, which granted leave to appeal on April 23, 2014.  The Supreme Court has directed the parties to “address whether interest and administrative fees for delinquent taxes assessed pursuant to MCL 211.78a(3) can be waived in a Michigan Tax Tribunal proceeding in which the Macomb County Treasurer was not a party, and, if so, whether the Treasurer was in a legal relationship with Macomb Township for purposes of waiving interest and fees under § 78a(3)” and “whether the plaintiff’s complaint for relief falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Tax Tribunal.”