LANSING, Mich. (Feb. 9, 2021) — Today, Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) and Rep. Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids) introduced legislation to waive penalties and interest for certain property and business owners who didn’t pay their summer 2020 property taxes due to financial and economic hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate Bill 112 and House Bill 4185 would direct the Michigan Department of Treasury to create a form that taxpayers can use to claim a waiver of penalty and interest from their local unit of government. Once summer property taxes are paid in full by the deadline, the local taxing unit would then verify the eligibility of applicants, after which the state would reimburse local governments for the waived penalties and interest.

“COVID-19 has placed a substantial economic strain on Michiganders across our state, and we shouldn’t be compounding their misfortune with penalties and fees,” Sen. Brinks said. “It is important that we provide this option as an additional mechanism to relieve homeowners and local businesses suffering from an unprecedented event caused by no fault of their own, and do so without hurting local government services.”

Businesses eligible for the waiver would include bars, restaurants, and other food service establishments; entertainment venues such as theaters and sports stadiums; and, exercise facilities and recreation facilities like bowling alleys and skating rinks.

For homeowners, the penalty and fee waiver request must be for their principal residence.

“Many businesses have been unable to maintain a steady revenue due to COVID-19 and are facing great difficulty paying their property taxes, so it’s critical that we provide them with financing options through their own local governments to ensure that we have a continued diversity of local businesses in our communities,” Rep. Hood said. “Equally important will be ensuring communities continue to receive services from their local governments, such as law enforcement, fire, education, and much more. This legislation will also ensure that funding for essential services — including law enforcement, fire, education, and more — continues as we work toward a return to normalcy.”