Ontario Landlord Lawyer – evictions, mediation, buying or selling a property with tenants, Landlord Tenant Tribunal https://t.co/vdHLib9RTu
— Landlord Law Canada (@Landlord_Law_CA) December 22, 2015
Appealing Your Property Taxes In Ontario
Property taxes are a significant cost of running your rental properties or your primary residence. There is no reason to assume that the your property has been assessed fairly. If you feel that the assessment is too hight, then you have a duty to appeal your property taxes in Ontario. In the case of rental properties of more than 7 units, your property taxes will be significantly higher. (One candidate for city council in Toronto Ward 29 has made this an election issue.) Hence, it is your duty to ensure that you become aware of what they are and consider whether they are fair.
Understanding property taxes begins with an understanding of the Ontario Assessment Act and any regulations made pursuant to it.
At the risk of oversimplification – here is how it all works:
– S. 19 of the Assessment Act requires that all property in Ontario be assessed at “current value” (which in theory is what it should sell for). The final property tax assessment will then be “based on the current value”. Note that “based on” is note the same thing as equal to!;
– MPAC (The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) assesses the “current value” for specified valuation dates (the most recent valuation date was January 1, 2008). The “assessed value” for January 1, 2008 will be the basis for property taxes for 2009 until the next valuation date;
– The City will use a multiplier of that valuation to determine the amount of taxes payable.
The Process Of Appealing Your Taxes
Once again, at the risk of oversimplification:
– if you don’t agree with the value that MPAC puts on your property you should:
– First, file a “Request For Reconsideration”;
– Second, if you don’t agree with the results of the “Request For Reconsideration” then you file an appeal to the “Assessment Review Board”;
– Third, if you are still not satisfied then you MAY be able to appeal to a court.
The point is that your research and “heavy lifting” must be done on the level of the Request For Reconsideration and Appeal to the Assessment Review Board.
S. 44 of the Assessment Act makes it clear that your property must be assessed in proportion to “similar properties in the vicinity.” This makes it possible to argue that the “assessed value” of the land may be less than the actual purchase price. I know of at least one example of a case where the owner of a property was able to successfully argue that the “assessed value” should be approximately ten percent less than the price actually paid for the property. But, making this argument successfully will probably require the services of a good lawyer.
Negotiating With MPAC
You will probably have the opportunity to negotiate with MPAC prior to an appeal to the Assessment Review Board. If you are confident of your case, then you should stay firm in your position. Remember, MPAC does not want your case to go to the Assessment Review Board.
Property Tax Appeal Consulting
Landlord Relief can provide you with assistance and consulting services on how to best deal with your tax situation.
Relevant Sections Of The Assessment Act
Assessment based on current value
Burden of proof
40.(17) For 2009 and subsequent taxation years, where value is a ground of appeal, the burden of proof as to the correctness of the current value of the land rests with the assessment corporation. 2008, c. 7, Sched. A, s. 11.
Assessment may be open upon appeal
44. (1) Upon an appeal on any ground against an assessment, the Assessment Review Board or court, as the case may be, may reopen the whole question of the assessment so that omissions from, or errors in the assessment roll may be corrected, and the amount for which the assessment should be made, and the person or persons who should be assessed therefor may be placed upon the roll, and if necessary the assessment roll, even if returned as finally revised, may be opened so as to make it correct in accordance with the findings made on appeal. R.S.O. 1990, c. A.31, s. 44 (1); 1997, c. 5, s. 29 (1); 2006, c. 33, Sched. A, s. 34.
Reference to similar lands in vicinity
(2) For taxation years before 2009, in determining the value at which any land shall be assessed, reference shall be had to the value at which similar lands in the vicinity are assessed. 2008, c. 7, Sched. A, s. 13.
Same, 2009 and subsequent years
(3) For 2009 and subsequent taxation years, in determining the value at which any land shall be assessed, the Board shall,
(a) determine the current value of the land; and
(b) have reference to the value at which similar lands in the vicinity are assessed and adjust the assessment of the land to make it equitable with that of similar lands in the vicinity if such an adjustment would result in a reduction of the assessment of the land. 2008, c. 7, Sched. A, s. 13.