Guide to Property Assessment in Ontario: Part III
This chapter describes the assessment process after current value assessments are determined.
The main topics are:
- Property Assessment Notices
- Annual Assessment Rolls
- Omitted or supplementary property assessments
- Property owners’ rights to assessment information
- Resolving assessment concerns
Once the property classifications have been assigned and current value assessments determined, MPAC issues Property Assessment Notices. The information contained on each Notice is also provided to municipalities/local taxing authorities on annual assessment rolls.
Each Property Assessment Notice sent by MPAC, accompanied by an explanatory insert, contains the property’s assessment roll number; the owner(s) names and those tenants directing school support; property location and/or legal description; property classification; current value assessment; phased-in amount for each year of the four-year assessment cycle (excluding non-municipal territory outside locality boards of education); school support designation (excluding non-municipal territory outside locality boards of education); and additional property information. Click here to view a sample Property Assessment Notice.
The information contained on each Property Assessment Notice is provided to municipalities/local taxing authorities in December on assessment rolls. The phase-in assessment for the particular taxation year is included on the rolls and used by municipalities/local taxing authorities to calculate the following year’s property taxes.
The following are some examples of the information found on the assessment rolls.
- Description of the property
- Property owner’s name(s) and mailing address
- Current value assessment (2005 and 2008)
- Phased in amount for the particular tax year
- Property classification
- Name of every residential tenant who is a supporter of a school board
- School support of owners and tenants (excluding non-municipal territory outside locality boards of education)
Between annual assessment rolls, changes to properties continue taking place; new homes are constructed, owners renovate, additions are built, the use of the property changes, etc. Provincial legislation allows municipalities to collect property taxes on these changes and improvements through the omitted or supplementary assessment process as soon as they begin to be used.
MPAC assists with this process by visiting properties with changes to determine the current value assessment of the improvements.
Once the current value assessments of the improvements have been determined, MPAC notifies municipalities throughout the year by issuing omitted/supplementary assessment listings. Municipalities use these listings to update the taxes owing on the improvements and/or changes. MPAC also advises property owners of the change in their current value assessment or classification by mailing Property Assessment Change Notices for omitted and supplementary assessments.
- Omitted Assessments are issued when the current value assessment for an improvement (e.g., a new home or addition) was not previously recorded on the annual assessment roll. When an omitted assessment is added to the roll, the municipality can collect property taxes for the current year and, if applicable, for any part or all of the previous two years.
- Supplementary Assessments are issued when there has been a change to a property during the current taxation year due to a change in property classification, an addition, renovation or new construction. When a supplementary assessment is added to the roll, the municipality can collect additional property taxes from the date the use commences to the end of the current taxation year.
Property owners have the right to know the information MPAC maintains about their property. They are also entitled to receive information and assistance to help them understand their assessment.
A property owner can obtain detailed information about their property and information on up to 24 additional properties of their choice and up to six selected by MPAC, free of charge.
Property owners have several options for resolving assessment concerns.
As a first step to resolving assessment concerns, property owners are encouraged to contact MPAC to verify details about their property, ask questions about their current value assessment or request information about other similar properties.
If they believe that important information may not have been considered when the current value assessment for the property was determined, they may wish to have MPAC review it through the Request for Reconsideration process.
There is no charge for filing a Request for Reconsideration (RfR) with MPAC. If a property, or portion of it, is classified as residential, farm or managed forest, property taxpayers must first file a RfR with MPAC before being eligible to file an Appeal with the Assessment Review Board (ARB). See Appeal Process for further details. RfRs can be filed any time before March 31 of the tax year for which the assessment applies.
A RfR must be submitted in writing and can only be filed by the owner of the property or their authorized representative. The preferred method is to complete a RfR form. Contact MPAC or click here to download a form. It is important to include the basis for the review and all relevant facts, such as property comparisons, sales information, rental data, farm leases, etc.
Some reasons for filing a RfR are:
- the assessed value of the property appears to be different than similar properties in the area;
- the property has been incorrectly classified;
- a person is wrongly placed on or left off the assessment roll;
- the school support is incorrect;
- MPAC’s records are incorrect (e.g., wrong lot size, building area);
- the property was purchased close to the valuation date for a significantly different amount than the assessed value;
- the value, classification or effective date on the Property Assessment Change Notice or Amended Notice is incorrect; and
- there are factors that negatively impact the property’s current value, which may not be reflected in the current value assessment.
Upon receipt of the RfR, MPAC will:
- Provide a standard disclosure package which includes details about how the property was assessed. For most residential properties, this will include:
- Subject Property Profile
- Property Assessment Details
- Acknowledgement letter
- Review the concerns and may contact the owner for more information.
- Review the assessed values and sales information for other comparable properties in the area.
- Verify the property details including:
- property size and location;
- structural details such as building area, condition, finished basement, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.; and
- other factors which may impact the current value of the property such as proximity to a major commercial or industrial property, etc.
- Review the property for changes since MPAC’s last visit. Any changes are taken into consideration and quite often a follow-up inspection is arranged with the property owner.
Once these steps have been completed, MPAC confirms the outcome of the review by providing the property taxpayer with a written response. MPAC will respond to the RfR by September 30 of the taxation year, unless the property taxpayer and MPAC agree to an extension to November 30.
The deadline for filing a RfR is March 31 of the tax year.
Property taxpayers may also file an appeal with the Assessment Review Board (ARB). The ARB is an independent, adjudicative tribunal of the Province of Ontario reporting through the Ministry of the Attorney General. Their main function is to hear appeals from people who believe that properties are incorrectly assessed or classified.
An appeal can be filed by anyone – an owner, tenant, corporation, partnership, municipality, school board or person acting as a representative on a property owner’s or tenant’s behalf. An appeal can also be filed by a third party on any property.
There are specific application forms and associated fees for filing an appeal with the ARB. The Government of Ontario has recently implemented a number of changes to the process.
Residential, Farm and Managed Forest Properties
If a property, or a portion of it, is classified as residential, farm or managed forest, property owners must first file a Request for Reconsideration by March 31 of the tax year with MPAC before being eligible to file an appeal with the ARB. Property owners then have 90 days after MPAC has notified them of its decision on the Request for Reconsideration to file an appeal with the ARB.
ARB appeals can be filed over the Internet, by fax or by mail.
Fax: 416 645-1819 or 1 866 297-1822
Assessment Review Board
655 Bay Street
Specific application forms and ARB fees are involved. Property taxpayers will also have to appear at an ARB hearing to support their position. MPAC will also appear at the hearing.
The ARB will acknowledge receipt of each appeal in writing. Approximately four weeks before the assessment hearing is scheduled, a Notice of Hearing is mailed to the appellant, MPAC and the municipality/local taxing authority indicating the date, time and location of the hearing. Assessment hearings are normally held at a location in or as close as possible to the municipality/local taxing authority in which the property is located.
Other Property Types
For all other property types, filing a Request for Reconsideration with MPAC is not the mandatory first step before being eligible to file an appeal with the ARB. Also, if a person is not entitled to file a Request for Reconsideration, e.g. a tenant, then that person may appeal directly to the ARB, no matter the property type.
The deadline for filing a Request for Reconsideration or an appeal is March 31 of the tax year.
At the hearing, the presiding ARB member hears the appeal and evaluates the evidence presented. Most property owners represent themselves at the hearing, but in some cases they may appoint someone to represent them, with appropriate authorization.
During the hearing, both MPAC and the appellant have an opportunity to present their evidence. The municipality or another interested party may also participate in the hearing.
At an ARB hearing, the onus is on MPAC to first prove the accuracy of the assessed value. MPAC will present comparable properties as evidence and will share that information with the property taxpayer prior to the hearing.
After all parties have had an opportunity to present their information and summarize their arguments, the presiding ARB member will render a decision based on the evidence. This decision is confirmed through a Notice of Decision which is mailed to the appellant, MPAC and the municipality.
Upon receipt of the Notice of Decision, MPAC will update its records. If the Notice indicates a change to the classification or current value assessment of the property, the municipality will adjust the property taxes accordingly.
Decisions of the ARB are final and binding on all parties for the entire taxation year to which the assessment applies.
MPAC has also committed to carrying forward the decision to future tax years unless new information indicates the adjustment is no longer warranted.
It is possible to request the Board to review its decision. The ARB’s Rules of Procedure outline the criteria and steps for requesting a Review of Decision.
A decision of the ARB may be appealed to the Divisional Court, a branch of the Superior Court of Justice, only on questions of law (e.g., interpreting the meaning of a specific section(s) of the Assessment Act). To initiate this process, the appellant must apply to the Court and seek leave to appeal. Parties should consult legal counsel to explore this option.
When to contact the municipality/local taxing authority
It is important to remember that MPAC is responsible for determining current value assessments. Municipalities/local taxing authorities are responsible for property taxation. Questions or concerns about municipal services, property taxes and tax bills should be directed to the municipality/local taxing authority where the property is located as they cannot be resolved through the RfR or ARB appeal processes.