You need to consider an appeal of the assessment against you. Liability for corporate taxes is imposed under Michigan law on officers. It sounds like you resigned as resident agent. A resident agent, per se, is not liable. Did you previouslly resign as officer? You probably ceased to be an officer upon sale of the shares,
This answer is for discussion purposes only and will not be considered legal advice. Further, a court could potentially decide the question contrary to my answer.
The statute appears to be six years. See here, for information on the collection process, as well as what to do, in the event that you dispute the tax: http://www.michigan.gov/treasury/0,1607,7-121-1755-156496--,00.html
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I would need the details but the statute should have run unless there is something you have not mentioned.
Your fees will be determined on the time and expenses spent on your behalf, if it is simple, perhaps well under $1000, if complex multiples of that. Anyone willing to quote a fees on your present facts is not smart enough to represent you well.
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If I may take a stab in the dark here (an educated stab), then I would guess that you did not file a final sales tax return for the company. When you don't file a final sales tax return, the state assumes your business is still running at that you are simply not remitted the tax. Most states will estimate what you owe and go on the assumption that you do owe the tax until it is proven otherwise. You might be able to resolve this by simply calling the state and finding out specifically to what periods the tax relates. You might be able to simply file a very late final return that reflects zero taxes due, pay a late filing penalty, and be done with it.
Note - the statute of limitations may be six years - but the statute of limitations does not begin to tick if you don't file a return.
I hope this helps and good luck!
James Sutton, CPA, Esq.