Fight City Hall on property taxes—and win - MoneySense

Fight City Hall on property taxes—and win

Half of homeowners who appeal their property assessments get them lowered.



From the June 2013 issue of the magazine.


house_worth_322Nervous that your recent property tax assessment may lead to a hike in taxes? Home prices in many Canadian neighbourhoods have soared lately, which could eventually lead to higher tax bills. But if you choose to fight your assessment, there’s a good chance you’ll be successful. In Ontario and B.C., for example, 50% of homeowners who appeal their property assessments are able to lower the assessment’s value.

It helps to understand how the system works. Generally, if your assessment value goes up by less than your municipality’s average, you won’t face a tax increase; if your home value rises more than is typical, it could lead to higher taxes. It can also hurt your resale value if you’re paying more than neighbours who are living in similar homes.

If you suspect your assessment is too high, contact your municipality’s assessment corporation. Often there’s a straightforward way to appeal, but keep in mind there are deadlines you need to hit. The key to winning is to find other properties like yours that sold at the time of the assessment date for less than your assessed value. You’ll also want to point out things that make your house less desirable, such as proximity to a railroad or major street.—Sean Cooper

Comments are closed.