Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – February 23, 2024

  1. Michigan Awarded Nearly $23 Million for Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

The State of Michigan recently announced that nearly $23 million has been awarded to multiple locations across Michigan for electric vehicle infrastructure. The funds are being allocated via the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program.

Why it Matters: Electric vehicle growth and EV infrastructure is an important clean energy and economic growth priority in Michigan. However, recent reports suggest the market for EVs is slowing, and the issue has become a hot-button topic in this year’s presidential campaign. A New York Times article discussed the contentiousness of the issue in a story this week titled, “For Michigan’s Economy, Electric Vehicles are Promising and Scary.”

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  1. Increase in the Small Business Property Tax Exemption

Eligibility for the so-called “Small Business Property Tax Exemption” has expanded. Legislation passed last October 2023, expands the exemption by increasing the eligibility limit to from the $80,000 true cash value limit to $180,000.

Why it Matters: The exemption is only for commercial and industrial personal property (residential/individuals are not subject to personal property taxes). Once filed, and if granted, the exemption will remain as long as the small business still qualifies. In other words, there is no need to file an exemption claim every year. Read more.

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  1. Michigan CRA Publishes January 2024 Data: Average Price Decreases

Per data released by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA), the average retail price for adult-use sales of an ounce of cannabis in January was $93.20, a decrease from $95.08 in December 2023. This is an increase from January 2023, where the average price was $80.16.

Why it Matters: While the prices of cannabis and cannabis-related products continue to decrease and make consumers happy, growers on the other hand are seeing profits decrease resulting in them seeking ways to halt new licenses to be granted in an effort to steady prices. Contact our cannabis law attorneys if you have any questions.

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  1. Michigan’s Repealed “Right-to-Work” Law Takes Effect

On Tuesday, February 13, 2024, Michigan’s repeal of the prior “right-to-work” law governing private-sector workers went into effect.

Why it Matters: The result of the repeal is that private-sector unions may permissibly negotiate to impasse, and enforce, “union security” provisions requiring membership in, or financial support through “Beck Objector” fees, of those unions. Read more.

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  1. Retroactive PPT Exemption

Some Michigan manufacturers who were not able to claim their 2021 ESA-PPT exemption due to COVID-19, have until March 14 to request approval from the State Tax Commission.

Why it Matters: The ESA is a State specific tax on personal property that is exempt from property taxes at the local level because the property meets certain eligibility requirements, such as being qualified manufacturing or industrial personal property. In order to elect out of local personal property taxes and into the ESA regime, manufacturers must file the required forms with their local assessing office by February 20th of each year. Learn more.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Energy, Utilities & Telecommunication | Sean Gallagher
Business & Tax | Paul McCord
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston

Increase in the Small Business Property Tax Exemption

Eligibility for the so-called “Small Business Property Tax Exemption” has expanded. Generally, all personal property used by businesses in Michigan is subject to property taxation. Beginning with calendar year 2014, however, an exemption was created for the personal property owned by businesses if the “True Cash Value” or, in other words, market value of their personal property either owned, leased, or possessed by a related party is less than $80,000 within any city or township. This exemption has become known as the “Small Business” exemption.

The exemption is only for commercial and industrial personal property (residential/individuals are not subject to personal property taxes). Legislation passed last October 2023, expands the exemption by increasing the eligibility limit to from the $80,000 true cash value limit to $180,000.

In order to claim the exemption, eligible small businesses must file a Form 507 no later than February 20, 2024, with their local assessor. Late filed claims are not accepted. Once filed, and if granted, the exemption will remain as long as the small business still qualifies. In other words, there is no need to file an exemption claim every year.

This alert serves as a general summary and does not constitute legal guidance. Please contact us with any specific questions.


Headshot of Fraser Trebilcock attorney Paul V. McCordFraser Trebilcock attorney Paul V. McCord has more than 20 years of tax litigation experience, including serving as a clerk on the U.S. Tax Court and as a judge of the Michigan Tax Tribunal. Paul has represented clients before the IRS, Michigan Department of Treasury, other state revenue departments and local units of government. He can be contacted at 517.377.0861 or pmccord@fraserlawfirm.com.

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – February 16, 2024

  1. Michigan Eliminates Pharmaceutical Company Immunity

Governor Whitmer recently signed Senate Bill 410 into law, which repeals the provision under Michigan’s Product Liability Act which granted immunity to pharmaceutical companies. A rebuttable presumption of non-liability and caps on non-economic damages remain intact.

Why it Matters: Pharmaceutical companies have had near-total immunity from product liability claims in Michigan for approximately 30 years. The law took effect on February 13, 2024.

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  1. Retroactive PPT Exemption

Some Michigan manufacturers who were not able to claim their 2021 ESA-PPT exemption due to COVID-19, have until March 14 to request approval from the State Tax Commission.

Why it Matters: The ESA is a State specific tax on personal property that is exempt from property taxes at the local level because the property meets certain eligibility requirements, such as being qualified manufacturing or industrial personal property. In order to elect out of local personal property taxes and into the ESA regime, manufacturers must file the required forms with their local assessing office by February 20th of each year. Learn more.

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  1. Michigan’s Repealed “Right-to-Work” Law Takes Effect

On Tuesday, February 13, 2024, Michigan’s repeal of the prior “right-to-work” law governing private-sector workers went into effect.

Why it Matters: The result of the repeal is that private-sector unions may permissibly negotiate to impasse, and enforce, “union security” provisions requiring membership in, or financial support through “Beck Objector” fees, of those unions. Read more.

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  1. Michigan Cannabis Exceeds $242 Million in January ‘24

Cannabis sales surpassed $242 million in January, via the monthly report from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Michigan adult-use sales came in at $240,289,360.60, while medical sales came in at $2,523,333.56, totaling $242,812,694.16.

Why it Matters: Marijuana sales remain strong in Michigan, particularly for recreational use. However, there still are significant concerns about profitability and market oversaturation that the industry is contending with.

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  1. Client Alert/Reminder: Form W-2 Reporting Due for Employer-Provided Health Care / Disclosure Due to CMS for Medicare Part D

Unless subject to an exemption, employers must report the aggregate cost of employer-sponsored health coverage provided in 2023 on their employees’ Form W-2 (Code DD in Box 12) issued in January 2024. Please see IRS Notice 2012-09. Additionally, group health plans offering prescription drug coverage are required to disclose to all Part D-eligible individuals who are enrolled in or were seeking to enroll in the group health plan coverage whether such coverage was creditable.

Why it Matters: The filing deadline is 60 days following the first day of the plan year. If you operate a calendar year plan, the deadline is the end of February. If you operate a non-calendar year plan, please be sure to keep track of your deadline. Contact your Fraser Trebilcock attorney for any questions.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Business & Tax | Paul McCord
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Employee Benefits | Bob Burgee
Employee Benefits | Sharon Goldzweig

Michigan’s Repealed “Right-to-Work” Law Takes Effect

On Tuesday, February 13, 2024, Michigan’s repeal of the prior “right-to-work” law governing private-sector workers went into effect. The result of the repeal is that private-sector unions may permissibly negotiate to impasse, and enforce, “union security” provisions requiring membership in, or financial support through “Beck Objector” fees, of those unions. See NLRB FAQ’s.

Michigan’s “Freedom to Work” law enacted under Republican Governor Rick Snyder became effective in 2013. That law prohibited public and private sector employees from being required, as a “condition of employment,” to belong to a labor union or to pay a “service fee” in lieu of membership. The 2013 law invalidated any collective bargaining provision to the contrary, and prohibited enforcement of such unlawful provisions.

In 2023, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law legislation repealing the Freedom to Work law insofar as it applies to private-sector employees. Governor Whitmer also signed a separate bill that would similarly repeal this prohibition as to public sector workers in the event the U.S. Supreme Court reverses a 2018 decision that essentially adopted similar “right-to-work” principles with respect to public sector employees and unions, which reversal has not occurred.  So, the present change does not affect the current prohibition of a membership requirement in a public sector collective bargaining agreement.

Per data collected by researchers available at unionstats.com, in 2022, close to 39,000 private sector workers in Michigan were covered by a collective bargaining agreement but were not union members paying dues or service fees. Now, those individuals may permissibly be required to pay dues or fees if “union security” provisions are bargained into, or “suspended” in, applicable collective bargaining agreements. In that event, affected employers could be required to fire bargaining unit workers who refuse to pay dues or fees under the enforcement of a lawful union security clause.

Employers with unionized workforces should anticipate attempts by unions to enforce “suspended” union security clauses or negotiate such provisions into future collective bargaining agreements, and plan accordingly. If you have questions about the new law or require assistance, please contact David J. Houston or your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

This alert serves as a general summary and does not constitute legal guidance. Please contact us with any specific questions.


Attorney David J. HoustonFraser Trebilcock Shareholder Dave Houston has over 40 years of experience representing employers in planning, counseling, and litigating virtually all employment claims and disputes including labor relations (NLRB and MERC), wage and overtime, and employment discrimination, and negotiation of union contracts. He has authored numerous publications regarding employment issues. You can reach him at 517.377.0855 or dhouston@fraserlawfirm.com.

Retroactive PPT Exemption

February is for lovers, and who doesn’t love a tax exemption? Some Michigan manufacturers who were not able to claim their 2021 ESA-PPT exemption due to COVID-19, have until March 14 to request approval from the State Tax Commission.

Eligible Michigan manufacturers can elect out of the personal property taxes and instead pay an Essential Services Assessment (ESA) at the state level. The ESA is a State specific tax on personal property that is exempt from property taxes at the local level because the property meets certain eligibility requirements, such as being qualified manufacturing or industrial personal property. In order to elect out of local personal property taxes and into the ESA regime, manufacturers must file the required forms with their local assessing office by February 20th of each year.

During calendar year 2021, some manufacturing businesses were not able to file the required paperwork by the due date as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

On November 14, 2023, the Governor signed 211 PA 2023. As the legislation was not given immediate effect, that law went into effect February 13, 2024. The legislation allows manufacturers who did not elect out of local personal property taxes and into ESA due to the COVID-19 pandemic to retroactively claim eligible manufacturing personal property exemption for 2021.

If you have any questions as to whether your business can claim a retroactive 2021 ESA/PPT exemption, please contact your Paul McCord or your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

This alert serves as a general summary and does not constitute legal guidance. Please contact us with any specific questions.


Headshot of Fraser Trebilcock attorney Paul V. McCordFraser Trebilcock attorney Paul V. McCord has more than 20 years of tax litigation experience, including serving as a clerk on the U.S. Tax Court and as a judge of the Michigan Tax Tribunal. Paul has represented clients before the IRS, Michigan Department of Treasury, other state revenue departments and local units of government. He can be contacted at 517.377.0861 or pmccord@fraserlawfirm.com.

Client Alert/Reminder: Form W-2 Reporting Due for Employer-Provided 
Health Care / Disclosure Due to CMS for Medicare Part D

Upcoming Deadlines: (1) Form W-2 Reporting of Employer-Provided Health Coverage; and (2) Medicare Part D Notices to CMS

Reminder: Form W-2 Reporting on Aggregate Cost of Employer Sponsored Coverage

Unless subject to an exemption, employers must report the aggregate cost of employer-sponsored health coverage provided in 2023 on their employees’ Form W-2 (Code DD in Box 12) issued in January 2024. Please see IRS Notice 2012-09.

The following IRS link is helpful and includes a chart setting forth various types of coverage and whether reporting is required; see here.

Please note this is a summary only and Notice 2012-09 should also be consulted. The IRS has issued questions and answers regarding reporting the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan, which can be found here.

If you have questions regarding whether you or your particular benefits are subject to reporting, please feel free to contact us.

Deadline Coming Up for Calendar Year Plans to Submit Medicare Part D Notice to CMS

As you know, group health plans offering prescription drug coverage are required to disclose to all Part D-eligible individuals who are enrolled in or were seeking to enroll in the group health plan coverage whether such coverage was “actuarially equivalent,” i.e., creditable. (Coverage is creditable if its actuarial value equals or exceeds the actuarial value of standard prescription drug coverage under Part D). This notice is required to be provided to all Part D eligible persons, including active employees, retirees, spouses, dependents and COBRA qualified beneficiaries.

The regulations also require group health plan sponsors with Part D eligible individuals to submit a similar notice to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”). Specifically, employers must electronically file these notices each year through the form supplied on the CMS website.

The filing deadline is 60 days following the first day of the plan year. If you operate a calendar year plan, the deadline is the end of February. If you operate a non-calendar year plan, please be sure to keep track of your deadline.

At a minimum, the Disclosure to CMS Form must be provided to CMS annually and upon the occurrence of certain other events including:

    1. Within 60 days after the beginning date of the plan year for which disclosure is provided;
    2. Within 30 days after termination of the prescription drug plan; and
    3. Within 30 days after any change in creditable status of the prescription drug plan.

The Disclosure to CMS Form must be completed online at the CMS Creditable Coverage Disclosure to CMS Form web page found here.

    1. The online process is composed of the following three step process: Enter the Disclosure Information;
    2. Verify and Submit Disclosure Information; and
    3. Receive Submission Confirmation.

The Disclosure to CMS Form requires employers to provide detailed information to CMS including but not limited to, the name of the entity offering coverage, whether the entity has any subsidiaries, the number of benefit options offered, the creditable coverage status of the options offered, the period covered by the Disclosure to CMS Form, the number of Part D eligible individuals, the date of the notice of creditable coverage, and any change in creditable coverage status.

For more information about this disclosure requirement (including instructions for submitting the notice), please see the CMS website for updated guidance found here.

As with the Part D Notices to Part D Medicare-eligible individuals, while nothing in the regulations prevents a third-party from submitting the notices (such as a TPA or insurer), ultimate responsibility falls on the plan sponsor.

This email serves solely as a general summary of the Form W-2 reporting requirements and CMS disclosure for Medicare Part D.


Robert D. Burgee is an attorney at Fraser Trebilcock with over a decade of experience counseling clients with a focus on corporate structures and compliance, licensing, contracts, regulatory compliance, mergers and acquisitions, and a host of other matters related to the operation of small and medium-sized businesses and non-profits. You can reach him at 517.377.0848 or at bburgee@fraserlawfirm.com.


Attorney Sharon GoldzweigSharon Goldzweig is Of Counsel at Fraser Trebilcock, specializing in matters pertaining to employee health and welfare benefits. In a field where the laws are constantly changing, Sharon is constantly looking out for anything that might involve her clients including changes to ERISA and other federal laws. She can be reached at sgoldzweig@fraserlawfirm.com, or at 718.808.5140.

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – February 9, 2024

  1. Reinstatement of Michigan’s Prevailing Wage Act Takes Effect February 13

On March 24, 2023, Governor Whitmer signed into law a bill reinstituting Michigan’s Prevailing Wage Act (the “Act”). The new Act, which takes effect February 13, 2024, will require every contractor and subcontractor in Michigan to pay the prevailing wage and benefit rates to employees working on most state funded construction projects.

Why it Matters: Contractors that fail to pay prevailing wages may have their contract terminated, be required to pay any excess costs incurred by the state for contracting with a new employer, and be fined up to $5,000.

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  1. A Health Professional’s Guide to Navigating the Disciplinary Process: What to Expect if You Are Facing a Professional Licensing Investigation or Administrative Complaint

Health professionals are committed to caring for patients with expertise, compassion, and integrity. However, in the heavily regulated healthcare field, those professionals can sometimes find themselves navigating not just the medical challenges of their patients but licensing issues of their own as well. Licensing issues can arise unexpectedly, and, when they do, they can cause tremendous stress and uncertainty.

Why it Matters: As an attorney with years of experience handling professional licensing matters for health professionals, Robert J. Andretz has witnessed firsthand how professional licensing investigations and Administrative Complaints can disrupt health professionals’ careers and their ability to provide patient care. He will explore how to navigate the disciplinary process in Michigan so that you can know what to expect if you are ever faced with a threat to your license. Learn more.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Welcomes Robert J. Andretz to the Firm

We are pleased to announce the hiring of attorney ​Robert J. Andretz who will work primarily in the firm’s Lansing office.

Why it Matters: Helping clients for more than two decades, Rob is an experienced criminal defense and professional licensing attorney who has successfully represented clients in both state and federal courts in felony and misdemeanor cases in more than 50 counties across the state of Michigan. He is passionate about what he does, and, understanding the direct and collateral consequences that a criminal conviction or professional licensing sanction can bring, he compassionately works with his clients to focus on what matters most to them. Learn more.

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  1. Understanding How Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents Protect Your Business

Copyright is the exclusive legal protection that covers an original work of authorship. Copyrights vest upon creation of the work, which means placing the work onto a tangible medium.

Why it Matters: Similar to trademark law, it can be difficult to enforce your copyright if the work is not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Learn more on this series about trademarks, copyrights, and patents from Fraser Trebilcock attorney Andrew Martin.

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  1. Client Alert/Reminder: Form W-2 Reporting Due for Employer-Provided Health Care / Disclosure Due to CMS for Medicare Part D

Unless subject to an exemption, employers must report the aggregate cost of employer-sponsored health coverage provided in 2023 on their employees’ Form W-2 (Code DD in Box 12) issued in January 2024. Please see IRS Notice 2012-09. Additionally, group health plans offering prescription drug coverage are required to disclose to all Part D-eligible individuals who are enrolled in or were seeking to enroll in the group health plan coverage whether such coverage was creditable.

Why it Matters: The filing deadline is 60 days following the first day of the plan year. If you operate a calendar year plan, the deadline is the end of February. If you operate a non-calendar year plan, please be sure to keep track of your deadline. Contact your Fraser Trebilcock attorney for any questions.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Professional Licensing | Robert Andretz
Intellectual Property | Andrew Martin
Employee Benefits | Bob Burgee
Employee Benefits | Sharon Goldzweig

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – February 2, 2024

  1. A Health Professional’s Guide to Navigating the Disciplinary Process: What to Expect if You Are Facing a Professional Licensing Investigation or Administrative Complaint

Health professionals are committed to caring for patients with expertise, compassion, and integrity. However, in the heavily regulated healthcare field, those professionals can sometimes find themselves navigating not just the medical challenges of their patients but licensing issues of their own as well. Licensing issues can arise unexpectedly, and, when they do, they can cause tremendous stress and uncertainty.

Why it Matters: As an attorney with years of experience handling professional licensing matters for health professionals, Robert J. Andretz has witnessed firsthand how professional licensing investigations and Administrative Complaints can disrupt health professionals’ careers and their ability to provide patient care. He will explore how to navigate the disciplinary process in Michigan so that you can know what to expect if you are ever faced with a threat to your license. Learn more.

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  1. Understanding How Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents Protect Your Business

Trademark registration separates your business from your competition and makes you unique. It is one method of protecting your intangibles while publicly providing notice to other businesses or individuals to avoid copying or infringing on your intellectual property rights.

Why it Matters: But when do you need this? When do you get them? And what are they for? Learn more on this series about trademarks, copyrights, and patents from Fraser Trebilcock attorney Andrew Martin.

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  1. Ward Off 2024 Tax Season Flu – File Early and Electronically

Earlier this week, January 29, 2024, marked the start date for the 2024 filing season and the first date that the IRS will begin accepting and processing 2024 returns. The IRS will issue most electronically filed refunds within 21 days, however there are a variety of factors that can delay the issuance of any refund claim outside of the 21-day period, so one should not rely on receiving a refund within 21-days.

Why it Matters: It is important to file early and electronically to avoid any delays in receiving a refund, if applicable. If you have any questions, contact your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

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  1. The DOL Issues Final Rule Creating New Standard for Classifying Workers as Employees vs. Independent Contractors

On January 9, 2024, the United States Department of Labor released its final rule on worker classification under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Why it Matters: This new rule, effective as of March 11, 2024, signals a return to a standard more likely to classify workers as employees than contractors. Thus, it is more likely that employers will be determined to have misclassified workers as contractors, resulting in liability. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

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  1. Michigan Legal Cannabis Sales Hit New Record in 2023

Licensed cannabis dispensaries in Michigan registered a record $3.06 billion in sales in 2023. This represents a 25% increase over sales in 2022. Recreational cannabis accounted for $2.74 billion of total sales in 2023.

Why it Matters: According to an analysis by Metro Times, more than $274 million in tax revenue from cannabis sales will go to local governments, schools, and roads.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Professional Licensing | Robert Andretz
Intellectual Property | Andrew Martin
Business & Tax | Paul McCord
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher