Tax reversion is the process by which delinquent property taxes are collected, or in lieu of collection, the process which governs the disposition of real and tangible personal property upon which property taxes remain unpaid. On July 22, 1999, Governor Engler signed into law significant changes to the Michigan tax-reversion process.
The former process had often been criticized as both cumbersome and detrimental to economic development, due to the amount of time taken to return tax-reverted property to productive use. The new legislation will greatly simplify and expedite the tax-reversion process, ensure that the process produces marketable title to tax-reverted property, and permit counties to exercise significant control over the handling of tax-reverted property within their boundaries with minimal involvement by the State.
The new legislation establishes a three-year tax-reversion process compared to the former six-year process. Annual tax-liens sales were eliminated in favor of an annual forfeiture and judicial foreclosure process. Due process and notification procedures were significantly strengthened. In addition, changes were made to expedite the handling of abandoned tax-reverted property.
As under the former process, county treasurers are responsible for collecting delinquent taxes and for sending notices prior to forfeiture. County treasurers also are responsible for the foreclosure and sale of tax-reverted property unless a county elects to “opt-out” of those portions of the tax-reversion process. If a county elects not to participate in the foreclosure and sale of tax-reverted property, the State will be responsible for those portions of the tax-revision in that county.