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The following opinion is presented on-line for informational use only and does not replace the official version. (Mich Dept of Attorney General Web Site - www.ag.state.mi.us)



Opinion No. 6167

July 8, 1983


State Tax Commission--authority to require owner of real property to disclose information relating to purchase price of property

The State Tax Commission may require an owner of real property to furnish information as to the purchase price of the property.

Mr. Mark E. Luoma

Prosecuting Attorney

Alger County

Courthouse Complex

Munising, Michigan 49862

You have requested my opinion whether the State Tax Commission, under current law, has the authority to require an owner of real property in the State of Michigan to disclose information concerning that property's purchase price. You indicate that you believe that 1966 PA 134, Sec. 11, as last amended by 1968 PA 327; MCLA 207.511; MSA 7.456(11), evidences the legislative intent that a purchaser of real property need not disclose the purchase price of the property to the State Tax Commission.

The State Tax Commission is the administrative agency charged with the general supervision of the General Property Tax Act, 1893 PA 206; MCLA 211.1 et seq; MSA 7.1 et seq.

Section 150 of 1893 PA 206, supra, provides in pertinent part that:

'It shall be the duty of the commission:

'(1) To have and exercise general supervision over the supervisors and other assessing officers of this state, and to take such measures as will secure the enforcement of the provisions of this act, to the end that all the properties of this state liable to assessment for taxation shall be placed upon the assessment rolls and assessed at that proportion of true cash value which the legislature from time to time shall provide pursuant to the provisions of article 9, section 3 of the constitution.

. . ..

'(5) To furnish the state board of equalization at each session thereof an estimate of the actual cash value of the taxable property of each county in the state, and to meet with the state board of equalization when requested by said board to do so.'

To enable the State Tax Commission to adequately perform its mandated duties, the Legislature has provided the State Tax Commission with the necessary power to examine and investigate the transfer of property within the state.

1898 PA 206, supra, Sec. 18, provides, in part, that:

'Whenever . . . the state tax commission deems it necessary in the proper administration of this act to require from any person a written statement under oath of real property assessable to such person, it shall notify the person, and every such person, natural or legal, shall make such statement.'

1893 PA 206, Sec. 19; MCLA 211.19; MSA 7.19, provides:

'The written statement under oath, provided for in section 18 shall be in such form and of such content as may be prescribed by the state tax commission . . .'

Finally, 1893 PA 206, Sec. 148; MCLA 211.148; MSA 7.206, provides in pertinent part:

'The commission or any duly authorized representative thereof shall have the right . . . to require, upon blanks to be furnished by the commission, a statement under oath of the president, secretary, superintendent or managing officer of a corporation, of a member of a firm, or an individual, containing such information as the commission may require to enable it to arrive at the true cash value of the property of such corporation, firm or individual subject to taxation under the laws of this state, and any assessing officer who shall refuse to deliver his assessment roll upon demand of a member or representative of the commission, or any officer or stockholder of any such corporation, any member of any such firm, or any person or persons who shall refuse to permit said inspection, refuse or fail to make such statement, or neglect or fail to appear before the commission in response to a subpoena, or testify as provided for in this section, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000.00 or by imprisonment in the state prison for a period not exceeding 2 years, or by both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court.'

OAG, 1915, p 426 (March 24, 1915), concluded that the State Tax Commission may proceed under 1893 PA 206, Sec. 21; MCLA 211.21; MSA 7.21, against a property owner who refuses to provide requested information with reference to the value of his or her property. Thus, the State Tax Commission has the power to require from a property owner a statement detailing the conditions and the purchase price of real property sold in the State of Michigan.

It is also to be noted that in addition to the powers enumerated above, the State Tax Commission has the power, pursuant to 1893 PA 206, Sec. 148, supra, to issue subpoenas and to compel testimony from witnesses.

1966 PA 134, Sec. 11, supra, to which you have referred, is not relevant to an inquiry concerning the powers and duties of assessing authorities. 1966 PA 134; MCLA 207.501 et seq; MSA 7.456(1) et seq, provides for a tax upon written instruments which transfer an interest in real property. It is not a part of The General Property Tax Act, 1893 PA 206, supra. Consequently, 1966 PA 134, supra, does not deal with the powers and duties of the State Tax Commission.

It is my opinion, therefore, that the State Tax Commission has the power to require an owner of real property to furnish information as to the purchase price of the property.

Frank J. Kelley

Attorney General

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