Who made this assessment?
In Ontario property tax assessments are set by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation. They have more than 1700 employees across the province, and are responsible for assessing more than 5 million properties. To read more about MPAC, click here.
How is my assessment determined?
Depending on the property type, a variety of approaches might be used. For relatively small commercial properties, and for vacant land, a sales comparison approach is used. Many property types, such as hotels and nursing homes, are valued based on the income they generate. Most industrial properties are valued based on the physical characteristics and use of the buildings, using what is called the cost approach.
Can I challenge my assessment?
If you are within the deadlines to file an appeal or request for reconsideration, then yes, you can. The typical deadline is the last day of March each year, but there can be other deadlines applicable at times - for example, if you are issued an amended notice.
The rules around filing and proceeding with appeals have changed, and may be changing again. It is often beneficial to bring in an experienced consultant, to ensure your rights are protected. To see the Assessment Review Board’s page on filing an appeal, click here.
Yes, absolutely. With the sheer volume of assessments to produce, it is inevitable that errors will creep in. Additionally, appraisal and assessment are evolving fields, and with certain types of property, the method of valuation is far from standardized.
One example is with big box retail. The approach used on these stores has changed over the past several years. The current approach used by MPAC is viewed as controversial by many.
Many other property types have been successfully appealed.
Does anyone really get their assessment and taxes reduced?
Maybe. There are multiple factors which go into your taxes, and the assessment is the only one which is subject to appeal. Your local municipality sets the tax rate which is applied to your assessment. Property taxes are not directly subject to appeal.
Before filing an appeal it is important to know what you assessment should be. Otherwise, it is actually possible your taxes could increase. A qualified tax consultant can help you identify any opportunity, and highlight any potential risks.