Clock is ticking on dark stores

By KAREN HOPPER USHER
Capital News Service
LANSING — A delay in changing the tax math for big-box stores could cost local governments big bucks for generations, say supporters of a bill that would stop the stores from claiming big tax breaks. “That’s the really scary thing,” said Greg Seppanen, a former Marquette County commissioner fighting low tax assessments as part of the county’s Citizens for Fair Share. The Michigan Tax Tribunal hears appeals from taxpayers who think their municipality has over-assessed the value of their property. In 2013, the tribunal agreed with a big-box store that said the value of its property had more to do with their business and less to do with property characteristics. This ushered in a wave of big-box stores demanding tax breaks and pointing to vacant big-box stores  as evidence that local governments were overcharging them.

"Dark stores" tax discussion continues in Michigan

By Riley James
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

The Michigan Tax Tribunal has had many discussions about passing a law that will lower the taxes of big-box stores like Kohl’s, Meijer, and Walmart. These discussions and proposed bills have been referred to as “dark stores.”

“What is being discussed is the proper evaluation and taxation of large, retail stores,” said Tricia Kinley, the senior director of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. “‘Dark stores’ is really just lingo. It’s a topic. It’s been coined as ‘dark stores.’ It’s really more of a debate, and it’s a topic that is going on.”

The dark stores discussion is to assess and tax the big-box stores fairly because many corporations and representative groups, including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, feel that the stores are being over-taxed.