Property Tax Hardship Partial Exemption

This exemption is provided to Trenton residents who own property within the city that are asking for a hardship exemption for the property they own.  

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 contention of hardship.

When requested 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.


The following guidelines were adopted by the City of Trenton City Council on December 14, 2020 and where amended on February 16, 2021, and amended on June 21, 2021 to incorporate Public Act 253 of 2020 amended MCL 211.7u related to poverty exemptions.

 Section 211.7u(1) of the Michigan General Property Tax Act defines the 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.  In order to qualify for the Hardship Exemption, the claimant must meet all of 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 set forth 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 Residential for property tax purposes.  Under no circumstances shall a Partial Hardship Exemption be granted or apply to the property of a business, partnership, or a corporation.

2.  Applicants who have purchased their principal residence within the current year or preceding two calendar years are not eligible for the exemption.  When a home is purchased, it is expected that the buyer considers the cost to maintain the home, including the State mandated property taxes, when determining their affordability of the home purchase.  Not doing so, creates a self-induced hardship, which will not be considered eligible for an exemption.

3.  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% in taxable value for the year in which the exemption is granted.  PA 253 of 2020 list 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 of 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 being 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 prior to 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 in order 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 a person’s 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 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 in 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 other legal form of photo-identification, which indicates 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-filled 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. 


Family Size

 Annual Income

1 Person  


2 Person


3 Person


4 Person


5 Person


6 Person


7 Person


8 Person


Additional greater than 8 persons, add $4,641 for each additional person

The Board of Review shall consider income from all sources and from 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 and 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 collectable 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 requirement will be meet:

  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 which may be considered a recreational vehicle.

                    ADOPTED, APPROVED AND PASSED BY THE City Council of the City of Trenton, this June 21, 2021.