Property owners across Ontario should have received notices of
their property's new assessed value from the Municipal Property
Assessment Corporation ("MPAC"). Subject
to changes that may be made by MPAC in certain limited
circumstances, the 2012 assessment will form the basis of all
property taxes for the next four years, ending in
2016. Accordingly, it is very important to look closely at the
value that has been assessed and request a reconsideration of that
value, or appeal it, if there is reason to believe that it may be
too high or in a wrong tax class.
March 31, 2013 is the deadline for appeals in
respect of the 2012 assessment. The March 31st deadline
is applicable to all appeals made to the Assessment Review Board
(the "ARB"), which is an independent tribunal of the
Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. However, certain property
classes (described below) must submit a "Request for
Reconsideration" ("RFR") before an
appeal can be filed with the ARB.
Request For Reconsideration
Properties that have been classified by MPAC, as residential,
farm or managed properties must
submit an RFR using the requisite form (PDF), before an
appeal can be filed with the ARB. This includes properties where
only a portion of the property is residential, farm or managed. The
RFR is free to file and the online form contains instructions. The
deadline to submit an RFR is April 2, 2013.
The reconsideration and appeal deadlines are set by statute and
cannot be extended by MPAC. If a property owner is not satisfied
with the outcome of the RFR, they can still appeal their assessment
to the ARB. Those appeals must be filed within 90 days after the
notice of the outcome of their RFR is mailed by MPAC.
Owners of commercial, industrial and multi-unit residential
properties do not need to submit an RFR before appealing their
property taxes. That is, filing an RFR is an optional step for
owners of properties in these classes; they can file an RFR prior
to appealing their assessment or appeal directly to the ARB.
Whether or not an RFR is filed, the deadline for ARB appeals for
these owners is still March 31, 2013. Therefore owners of
commercial, industrial and multi-residential properties must
carefully assess the appropriate appeal route, in light of their
circumstances, and act accordingly.
More information about appeals, including forms, fees and how to
file an appeal, can be found online at www.arb.gov.on.ca.
How We Can Help
There are a number of reasons why property owners may wish to
consult legal counsel, either before or after filing an appeal.
Generally, property owners should keep the following in mind:
1) Filing An Appeal - As noted above, owners of
commercial, industrial and multi-unit properties will need to
decide whether an RFR should be filed along with an appeal. We can
assist with that analysis and help to ensure that appeal
documentation is effective and complete.
2) Capping and Clawback - Many business
properties are still affected by provincial legislation that has
capped their tax liability or created clawbacks in the event of a
tax reduction. Because of capping and clawbacks, appeals do not
always yield the desired benefit and it is important to do an
analysis before proceeding with a hearing at the ARB. We generally
recommend that an appeal is filed to preserve your opportunity to
determine how capping and/or clawback impacts your
property. We lawyers can help with that analysis (and
potentially engage paralegals/consultants to assist in doing so)
and determine whether it is in your interest to continue resolve
3) Hearings before the ARB - The ARB is a
formal "court-like" tribunal with specific rules of
evidence. For example, MPAC has the onus of proving the accuracy of
an assessed value but any remaining grounds of appeal must be
proven by the appellant. We understand the various grounds of
appeal and what is required to discharge the appellant's burden
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