Property Tax Hardship Exemption Guidelines

This exemption is provided to Trenton residents who are asking for a hardship exemption for the property they own and occupy.  

The property in question must be your principal residence. 

The application and copies of all required documentation must be submitted to provide the Board of Review sufficient information upon which to evaluate your case, in accordance with MCL211.7u. Please refer to the guidelines below for required documentation.

This appeal is not a petition for review of your property assessment based upon value. It does not contend over-assessment or non-uniformity of assessment. This appeal is based entirely on the contention of hardship.

When requesting this exemption you must appear before the March, July, or December Board in person or send an authorized representative the first time you apply for hardship consideration.







                    WHEREAS, the adoption of guidelines for real property tax hardship partial exemption is required by the Trenton City Council for the City of Trenton; and


                   WHEREAS, the principal residence of persons and the board of review determines by reason of hardship to be unable to contribute to the public charge, is eligible for partial exemption from taxation under Public Act 253 of 2020 (MCL211.7u); and


                    WHEREAS, pursuant to PA 253 of 2020, the City of Trenton, Wayne County adopts the following guidelines for the Board of Review to implement.  The guidelines shall include but not be limited to the specific income and asset levels of the claimant and all residing in the household, including any property tax credit returns, filed in the current or immediately preceding year.




Section 211.7u(1) of the Michigan General Property Tax Act defines Poverty, or Hardship Exemption, as a method to provide relief for those who, in the judgment of the Board of Review, are unable to fully contribute to the annual property tax burden of their principal residence due to their financial situation.  To qualify for the Hardship Exemption, the claimant must meet all the following requirements.  It may be possible that a claimant meets the income standard for the Hardship Exemption but does not meet the asset standard or other standards as outlined in these guidelines.  In this instance, the claimant would not qualify for the exemption even though the income standard was met.


The Board of Review shall follow the policy and guidelines when granting or denying a Partial Hardship Exemption.  The same standards shall apply to each claimant in the City for the assessment year.  Hardship Applicants are not prohibited from also appealing the assessment of property for which the hardship claim is made before the Board of Review in the same year.


1. Partial Hardship Exemptions shall apply only to the Applicant’s qualified Principal Residence and the property must be classified as Residential for property tax purposes.  Under no circumstances shall a Partial Hardship Exemption be granted or applied to the property of a business, partnership, or corporation.


2. The amount of relief due to hardship that will be granted by the Board of Review for any Qualified Applicant shall be a partial exemption equal to a 25%, 50%, or 100% reduction in taxable value for the year in which the exemption is granted based on income/asset levels.  PA 253 of 2020 lists the specific percentage used by the City of Trenton for taxable value reduction that may be used by the board of review in granting a poverty exemption.  MCL 211.7u(5) states that if a person claiming the poverty exemption meets all eligibility requirements, the board of review shall grant the partial poverty exemption.


To be eligible for the exemption by reason of hardship, a person shall do all the following on an annual basis:


1. Applicant must be an owner of and occupy as a principal residence, (as defined by MCL 211.7dd), the property for which an exemption is requested.


2. Applicants must complete in its entirety annually a State of Michigan form 5737 “APPLICATION FOR MCL 211.7U POVERTY EXEMPTION” and form 5739 “AFFIRMATION OF OWNERSHIP AND OCCUPANCY TO REMAIN EXEMPT BY REASON OF POVERTY” (MCL 211.7u(2)).  All claims, including all required information listed below, must be filed with the City Assessor for review of completeness and eligibility compliance.  Applications are to be filed after January 1st and before the day before the last day of the March, July, or December Board of Review meetings for the assessment year.  Incomplete applications and/or applications of taxpayers not meeting the eligibility requirements will be returned to the Applicant and will not be considered by the Board of Review.  All first-time Qualified Applicants, or their authorized Representative, must appear in person before the Board of Review to be considered for relief due to financial hardship.  Applicants who wish to send a Representative to appear on their behalf must provide them with a Notarized Letter of Authorization.  The Representative will be required to present a photo identification along with the letter.  Applications meeting all eligibility requirements will be presented before the Board of Review.


3. Applicants must provide copies of the following forms, including all supporting documents and schedules, for all persons residing in the household, filed in the immediately preceding year or in the current year:

  1. Federal Income Tax Return (1040 or 1040A), Applicant must file this tax return even if they owe no income tax or are not required to file a Federal Income Tax Return if they meet the requirements for receiving an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and any 1099’s received.
  2. State of Michigan Income Tax Returns (MI-1040), Applicant must file this tax return even if they own no income tax or are not required to file a Michigan Income Tax Return if they were granted a Federal Income Tax Credit.  The State will provide a 6% supplement EITC when the Applicant files his/her State Income Tax Return.
  3. If the Applicant did not file a Federal or State Income Tax return, they must complete and file an Income Tax Exemption Affidavit (Treasury Form 4988) for all persons residing in the residence who were not required to file in the current or the immediately preceding year, and who did not meet the qualifications for receiving an EITC.
  4. Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credit Claim (ML-1040CR).
  5. W-2 Forms
  6. Social Security Benefit Statement (form SSA-1099) for all persons residing in the household, who receive Social Security benefits.
  7. Proof of all sources of income if not included on the W-2 Forms, including any check stubs or receipts of other persons living in the household, or from State or Federal Government Checks.
  8. Bank and/or credit union statements, for all current and preceding six months, of all checking and savings accounts.
  9. A copy of a valid Michigan driver’s license or another legal form of photo identification, which indicates the residing property address for all persons in the household.
  10. Copies of the most recent year’s tax bills and taxable values of all property other than the Homesteaded/Principal Residence owned or partially owned by the hardship Applicant.

The City requires all Applicants to provide copies of their originally filed tax returns and will not accept summary information reports or reproduced tax returns.  Federal and State tax returns must be signed unless “e-filed” documents are included. The City retains the right and is authorized to request a copy of any household occupant’s federal income tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service or Michigan Income Tax Returns from the Department of Treasury pursuant to MCL 205.28, and all vehicle or titled asset registration information from the Secretary of State. Applicants may present other information in support of hardship status.


4. Applicants must meet the “City of Trenton Income Standards for Eligibility Guidelines” as adopted by the City of Trenton, provided such alternate guidelines do not provide income eligibility requirements less than the federal guidelines. 





Board Action:

Board Action:

Board Action:

Board Action:

Family Size

100% Exemption Federal Standards

50% Exemption

25% Exemption

No Hardship Relief Granted

1 Person

14,580 or less

14,581 < 18,225

18,226 < 23,328

Above 23,328

2 Person

19,720 or less

19,721 < 23,664

23,665 < 31,552

Above 31,552

3 Person

24,860 or less

24,861 < 29,832

29,833 < 39,776

Above 39,776

4 Person

30,000 or less

30,001 < 36,000

36,001 < 48,000

Above 48,000

5 Person

35,140 or less

35,141 < 42,168

42,169 < 56,224

Above 56,224


Each additional person adds:     5,140                       6,168                                         8,224                              n/a


The Board of Review shall consider income from all sources and all occupants of the household when determining whether an Applicant meets the hardship income standards adopted by the City of Trenton.  Income includes:

  1. Money, wages, and salaries before deductions.
  2. Regular payments for social security, railroad retirement, unemployment, worker’s compensation, veteran’s payments, and public assistance.
  3. Gifts, loans, and contributions by all persons, whether living in the household or not.
  4. Alimony, child support, and military family allotments.
  5. Private pensions, government pensions, regular insurance or annuity payments, and inheritance payments.


In addition to meeting the income level requirements as noted above, Applicants must also meet requirements based on asset level, or otherwise stated requirements, such as saving accounts, checking accounts, certificates of deposit, investments, (including collectible items purchased for their investment value), stocks, bonds, inheritances, life insurance policies, interest earnings/dividends, retirement funds, and ownership in other real estate property, not to exceed $50,000.


5.  To be eligible for a partial exemption based on the asset level, or other standards, the following requirements will be met:

  1. Applicant shall report the total value of savings accounts, checking accounts, and certificates of deposit, all investments, stocks, bonds, inheritances, life insurance policies, interest-earning/dividends, and retirement funds from all household members.
  2. Applicants shall not own interest in any real estate or leasing other than their principal residence.
  3. The total value of any recreational vehicles or equipment shall not exceed the amount of the current annual property tax obligation.  Recreational vehicles include snowmobiles, boats, jet skis, camping trailers, travel trailers, motorcycles, motor homes, off-road vehicles, or anything else that may be considered a recreational vehicle.



ADOPTED, APPROVED, AND PASSED by the City Council of the City of Trenton, on the 18th day of December 2023.