Topics (British Columbia)
Topics (Alberta) -Alberta has not created the
smokescreen of a municipally owned "assessment corporation".
Assessments are performed directly by the municipality. Appeals
are directed to the Province and Court of Queen's Bench.
(available to members and associate members)
in becoming an associate member?
summary and overview
1- Avoiding the pitfalls:
How to manage and conduct a successful appeal of your property
tax assessment without the expense of a lawyer or consultant.
"MUNICIPAL PROPERTY ASSESSMENT CORPORATION - A WOLF IN
SHEEP'S CLOTHING" by lawyer Bruce Haines (Queen's Counsel)
2- Understanding the adversarial nature of disputes
between you [the taxpayer] and the Municipal Property
Assessment Corporation (MPAC)- a private agency employed
solely by your local municipality. by Bruce Haines Q.C.
3-The judicial functions of the Assessment Review
Board, its process, and the "streams" available
to you for resolving disputes with MPAC. "The minimum
information required for a fair hearing- to be provided as
part of the pre-hearing stream"
4-About the Process: How to write an effective 'Statement
of Issues' [including form, content and sample appeal
5- What to expect from MPAC.
6-How to make the Rules and Procedures of the Assessment
Review Board work in your favour. Summary of the Rules
of Procedure prepared by Bruce Haines Q.C.
Tips to insure a fair hearing and successful outcome.
Index to useful precedents.
2008 update on MPAC and ARB appeal procedures, by Bruce Haines
Finding, forming or joining neighborhood networks where like-minded
property owners can compare notes, share information and exchange
archive contains some useful information on how to appeal
your property assessment, prepared by prominent Toronto lawyer
and Queen's Counsel Bruce Haines. The file includes documents,
forms, and general background that will assist property owners
in understanding the process.
other things, the self-help topics provide examples of how
to write a 'request for reconsideration', and a 'statement
of issues', as well as the procedure needed to level the playing
field, and take advantage of the 'prehearing stream'. Online
question-and-answer feedback and editorial comment is available
for those needing help.
following remarks from Mr. Haines Q.C. are dated January 1,
2004 but remain relevant to 2012 as well (see updates in italics).
Mr. Haines is a past-chairman (2007-08) of the Canadian Justice
November you received our first email entitled "Municipal
Property Assessment Corporation - A wolf in Sheep's Clothing."
The purpose of that email was to try to give you some understanding
about challenging MPAC's valuation of your property for the
2004 municipal taxation year.
MPAC has started to send out form letters to all property
owners who sent MPAC a "Request for Reconsideration." The
letter advises that MPAC will try to make a review before
March 31st which is your deadline for filing an appeal with
the Assessment Review Board. Some property owners are under
the impression that unless they send MPAC a "Request for Reconsideration"
they will not be entitled to bring a formal complaint or an
appeal before the Assessment Review Board (ARB).
as an attachment with this email is a Summary of the new
Rules of the Assessment Review Board which should help
you in initiating appeal proceedings with the Board. Unless
you take this step before March 31st, MPAC will not likely
give your review request much consideration. Why not? Because,
MPAC knows that without an appeal you have no remedy to challenge
them. (In 2008 the procedure for filing a complaint was
modified to separate residential, farm, managed forest or
conservation land, from other types of land. The process for
the latter remains the same but the process for the former
is new and requires that a "Request for Reconsideration"
must now be filed first with MPAC before an appeal can be
filed with the ARB. Mr. Haines has prepared a 2008 update
paper explaining what to do)
don't need to hire a lawyer to attend with you before the
Assessment Review Board. The attached summary should help
demystify the appeal process. It will also help you in your
dealings with MPAC during the "Request for Reconsideration."
They should be prepared to provide you with the same information
that they will have to provide should you not settle with
them and proceed with the appeal.
what you want to do is ask MPAC for their data base on all
actual sales in your neighborhood for that period.
You can bet your bottom dollar that MPAC is accessing that
data base. In fact MPAC probably has access to other data
bases which have been paid for by public money and should
therefore be freely available to you. (among other things,
the "Self-help" topics listed on the left hand sidebar
show how to force MPAC to disclose the information you need)
sure that you keep records of everything you do, and make
notes of all conversations with MPAC's people, and with the
people at the Assessment Review Board. Don't trust to your
memory because information which you obtain today if not recorded
will surely flow like water through a seive and be lost down
the drain. Why not start by opening a file and placing this
email in it?
free to send this email to like minded property owners who
are fed up with being hosed by MPAC. You might consider complaining
to your local Councillor and your MPP!
MPAC is a corporation operated by 444 municipalities. It
is not a provincial crown corporation.
As a result of public complaint, in 2006 the Office of the
Ombudsman of Ontario issued a Report critical of MPAC's policies
and procedures and property assessments were frozen until
January 2008. Key recommendations from the Ontario Ombudsman
have not, as yet, been implemented.