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Poverty Exemption

MCL 211.7u provides for a property tax exemption, in whole or part, for the principal residence of persons who, by reason of poverty, are unable to contribute to the public charges. In order to receive a poverty exemption, a taxpayer must annually file a completed application form, and all required additional documentation, with the supervisor, assessor, or the Board of Review where the property is located.

To ensure an application is received in time to be heard by a Board of Review, the State Tax Commission recommends the claimant contact the local governing unit directly to verify deadline dates for submission of an application.

To request a poverty exemption, a taxpayer must file:

1. Form 5737 Application for MCL 211.7u Poverty Exemption.

2. Form 5739 Affirmation of Ownership and Occupancy to Remain Exempt by Reason of Poverty.

3. All required additional documentation (such as federal/state income tax returns).

Forms 5737 and 5739, along with any additional documentation, must be filed with the local assessing unit where the property is located. Do not file these forms with the Department of Treasury or the State Tax Commission. The forms may be submitted to the local assessing unit on or after January 1 but before the day prior to the last day of the December Board of Review during the year in which the exemption is requested. 

Taxpayers should contact the local assessing unit directly to verify deadline dates for submission of the forms to ensure the application gets reviewed by a Board of Review during that calendar year.

In addition to filing Forms 5737 and 5739 and any supporting documentation, a taxpayer must do all the following to be eligible for the poverty exemption:


1. Own and occupy the property as a principal residence.

2. Provide federal and state income tax returns for the current or immediately preceding year, including any property tax credits, for all persons residing in the principal residence (disclosure of the income of an owner who is not residing in the principal residence is not required). Federal and state income tax returns are not required for a person residing in the principal residence if that person was not required to file a federal or state income tax return. Instead, Form 4988, Poverty Exemption Affidavit may be filed for all persons residing in the residence who were not required to file federal or state income tax returns in the current or immediately preceding year.

3. Produce a valid driver license or other form of identification, if requested.

4. Produce a deed, land contract, or other evidence of ownership of the property, if


5. Meet the federal poverty guidelines published in the prior calendar year in the Federal Register by the United States Department of Health and Human Services or alternative guidelines adopted by the local assessing unit. The alternative guidelines cannot provide income eligibility requirements less than the federal guidelines.

6. Meet the asset level test adopted by the local assessing unit.

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