MCL 211.27a incorporates the limitations on property taxes adopted with Proposal A, specifying the exceptions to the otherwise-applicable rule that a conveyance of real estate will "uncap" the limits on taxable value.
Our initial posting on this amendment was made just over a year ago. The language used in the Public Act is that a conveyance is not subject to uncapping "if the transferee is related to the transferor by blood or affinity to the first degree." Our shorthand description of that exception in the post was "from a parent to a child (or vice versa)." While that is accurate, the exception turns out to be broader than that.
The phrase is not defined in the statute or anywhere else in the Michigan Compiled Laws. There appears to be some uncertainty and lack of agreement about which relatives are regarded as "first degree," so the MTC decided to address this issue.
It should be recalled that the statute uses very stilted language in declaring that certain conveyances are or are not a "transfer of ownership," triggering an uncapping of the property tax under Proposal A. The phrase is intended to have a precise technical meaning. A conveyance of land does indeed transfer ownership of the land, but the statute provides that certain transfers will not be called a "transfer of ownership" for Proposal A purposes.
The Guidelines include a section regarding conveyances to "Children and Other Relatives." The pertinent provisions under are:
Is a transfer of property from a parent to a child a transfer of ownership?Further, Bulletin 23 was issued on December 16, 2013, and provides:
No, beginning with transfers occurring on and after December 31, 2013. However this is true only for property classified residential real and if the use of the real property does not change following the transfer of ownership.
Does this include adopted children?
Yes, P.A. 497 of 2012 indicated that beginning December 31, 2013, a transfer of residential real property is not a transfer of ownership if the transferee is related to the transferor by blood or affinity to the first degree and the use of the property does not change following the transfer of ownership. See MCL 211.27a(7)(s).
Does this include relatives other than those related by blood?
Affinity to the first degree includes the following relationships: spouse, father or mother, father or mother of the spouse, son or daughter, including adopted children, son or daughter of the spouse and stepchildren, stepmother or stepfather.
What is the definition of relationship by blood?
The State Tax Commission offers the following definition: a first degree blood relative is a person who shares approximately 50% of their genes with another member of the family. First degree blood relatives include parents, children or siblings.
Does this exemption apply to a trust, limited liability company or to distribution from probate?
No, due to the blood or affinity to the first degree relationship clause, the State Tax Commission has defined transferee and transferor as both being individuals.
Is a change in use limited to a change in property classification?
No, there are numerous changes that could be considered a change in use and a change in use is not limited to a change in property classification.
The Commission’s position is that it was legislative intent that the phrase “related to the transferor by blood or affinity to the first degree” intended to apply the first degree test to both affinity and to blood relationships. Therefore, the Commission is including the following definition:We have found the Genetics Home Reference, published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, which provides two accepted definitions and which may be the source of the definition adopted by the MTC:
A first degree blood relative is a person who shares approximately 50% of their genes with another member of the family. These relatives include parents, children or siblings.
Simply put, a transfer of residential real property is not a transfer of ownership if the transferee has one of the following relationships to the transferor and the use of the property does not change:
2. Father or Mother
3. Father or Mother of the Spouse
4. Son or daughter
5. Adopted son or daughter
6. Son or daughter of the spouse
Any relative who is one meiosis away from a particular individual in a family (i.e., parent, sibling, offspring)Note that the MTC Transfer of Ownership Guidelines do not have the force of law. They are of persuasive value and are commonly followed by assessors and equalization departments in implementing the provisions of the property tax laws.
Definition from: GeneReviews - from the University of Washington and the National Center for Biotechnology Information
A first degree relative is a family member who shares about 50 percent of their genes with a particular individual in a family. First degree relatives include parents, offspring, and siblings.
Definition from: Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms - from the National Human Genome Research Institute