Like the rest of the country, people are having a hard time selling their homes here in the Detroit area. My friend Gregg Nathanson, a real estate attorney with Couzens Lansky in Farmington Hills, just sent me an email on this subject. And I'm hopefully accurately quoting:
Earlier this month the State of Michigan passed a new law permitting an additional exemption, under certain circumstances. If you bought a new home and are having trouble selling the old one, then you might be able to claim a homestead exemption for both houses. You can claim the second homestead on the old house if that property is not occupied, is for sale, is not leased or available for lease, and is not used for any business or commercial purposes. To claim this second exemption, you have to file a conditional rescission form with the local assessor, and verify annually, on or before December 31, that the property is still eligible for the special exemption. The form, Treasury Form 4640, Conditional Rescission of Principal Residence Exemption, is available at the Michigan Department of Treasury website. To qualify for 2008 tax relief, you must file this new form before May 1, 2008.
Gregg notes that "this letter is intended to be a summary of new law, and not legal advice." He's right. I'm not an attorney either, so ditto from me.