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Citizens Research Council of Michigan
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Ad Valorem Tax: A tax computed from the value of a property. Property taxes and part of the Michigan vehicle weight tax are levied based on the value of the property or automobile. Contrasted with these taxes are most special assessments, which are levied based on a measure of how the property is benefited by a capital improvement such as frontage, or the prior method of taxing vehicle registrations, which was the weight of the automobile.

Captive Insurance Company: An insurance a company that insures risks of its parent, affiliated companies, controlled unaffiliated business, or a combination of its parent, affiliated companies, and controlled unaffiliated business.

Carryback: A loss sustained or a portion of a credit not used in a given period that may be deducted from taxable income or a prior period.

Collateral Heirs: Persons who receive the assets of an individual who has died.

Earmarked: The dedication or setting aside of assets or revenues for a specific use.

Excise Tax: A tax levied on the purchase of individual products and services. Taxes levied on tobacco products, alcohol, beer and wine, gasoline are examples of excise taxes. Contrasted with these are general sales and use taxes that are levied because a retail sale has occurred rather than because of the product purchased.

Fiscal Year: An accounting period of twelve months at the end of which a government determines its financial condition and the results of its operations and closes its books. The state fiscal year runs from October 1 through September 30 of the following year. Many Michigan local governments have fiscal years that run quarterly: January 1 to December 31, April 1 to March 31, July 1 to June 30, or October 1 to September 30.

Grantor Trusts: Trusts where the income is taxed to the party placing the money into the trust or some other person under subpart E of subchapter J of the federal internal revenue code.

Gross Receipts: Entire amount received by a taxpayer from any business activity for direct or indirect gain, benefit or advantage to the taxpayer.

Mill: One one-thousandth of a dollar of assessed value, meaning that one mill is worth $1 of tax per $1,000 of assessed value.

Nexus: The amount or level of presence in a state that is required before a company is subject to taxation by that state.

Par Value: The face value of a security.

Pari-Mutuel: A system of betting in which the amounts wagered are placed in a pool to be shared by those who bet on the winners minus a percentage for the management.

Personal Property: Generally considered things movable. Contrasted with personal property is real property, which is all things attached to the realty. Personal property is embraces both tangible property other than realty and intangible property.

Real Property: Land, buildings and fixtures on the land, and appurtenances to the land.

Severance Tax: A tax imposed distinctively on removal of natural products such as oil, gas, other minerals, timber, or fish and measured by value or quantity of products removed or sold.

Situs: The place where something exists or originates. For tax purposes, examples of situs might include the location of a residence or business, the place of work, and the origination of an estate or trust.

Specific Tax: Article IX, Section 3, of the Michigan Constitution provides for the uniform general ad valorem taxation of real and tangible personal property not exempt by law. The Constitution permits the legislature to provide for alternative means of taxation of designated real and tangible personal property in lieu of general ad valorem taxation. These taxes levied in lieu of ad valorem taxes are specific taxes.

Stumpage Value: Values determined from log grade value tables.

Subchapter S Corporation: A small business corporation limited to no more than 15 shareholders. Statutorily, it is defined as a corporation electing taxation under subchapter S of chapter 1 of subtitle A of the internal revenue code, sections 1361 to 1379 of the internal revenue code.

Tangible Assets: Items that are capable of being perceived especially by the sense of touch. Contrasted with tangible assets are intangible assets, which include items such as stocks, bonds, and bank holdings. Intangible assets were taxed under the property tax in Michigan until 1939, when the state began collecting the Intangibles Tax. The Intangibles Tax was phased out as of January 1, 1998.

Transient Guest: A person staying less than 30 consecutive days at a particular establishment.

True Cash Value: A cash value of property determined by finding out what one could reasonably expect to get in an "arms length" transaction.

Value Added: Microeconomics explains that for a business endeavor to be successful, revenues will be equal to the cost of labor, the cost of materials, depreciation, and interest as well as allowing some profit for the owners or investors. The "value added" is simply the difference between these revenues and the value of the cost of materials purchased from other firms to produce the product.

Value Added Tax: A broad-based tax levied on that portion the "value added" of the final product of a business that is over and above the value of the materials it purchased. Each business is taxed on the addition to value it contributes to the final product or service. By applying the tax against the added value, multiple taxation of the same business activity is avoided and transactions between business are treated the same as those between internally integrated operations within a single firm.

There are two methods of arriving at this tax base for a value-added tax: the deduction method and the addition method. Under the deduction method, the value added by any individual firm is equivalent to its total sales receipts less its costs for materials. Michigan utilized the deduction method when it levied the Business Activities Tax from 1953 to 1967. The addition method bases the tax on the total of the firm's profits, that is federal taxable income, with the addition of items that reflect the value added by the business that are excluded from federal taxation. These include the cost of labor, depreciation, and interest. This method is used in computing the Single Business Tax.







Last Updated July 22, 2008