Fight City Hall on property taxes—and win

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

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by

From the June 2013 issue of the magazine.

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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

5 comments on “Fight City Hall on property taxes—and win

  1. How much is the avergae assessment reduced by?

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  2. Yeah right. I went to an appeal in B.C. After I presented my case and the assessor questioned me he had his chance to present his case and when I asked my first question the appeals tribunal foreman states times up we are finished. I asked why can I not continue with the rest of my questions as the B.C. Assessment officer had ample time to ask me quite a few questions. I was told that they have been told to limit the appeals to 30 minutes. Then they left to make their decision. When I phoned the B.C. Assessment manager he stated that should not have happened as the training guidelines state 30 minutes but they can go on longer if required. I was then told to pay to have the appeal reheard at a later date.

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  3. I am a realtor and I gave the latest sales of the same model that sold within the last 3 months and
    they said that they would not change. My sale was at $444,000 and the MPAC assessment at
    $457,000.00. They sent an assessor by and even that did not help.
    Vicki

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  4. This statement is BS! ever year we fight our assessment, we show the appeals people our home in other area's and they pay half of what we are paying. Since we move here in Mission BC we were able to aford to live here. Now 15 years layer property tax's have more than DOUBLED!!! yes that's right. Mission now has the 4th highest property tax in BC. We were told at the last hearing that if we don't like living here, MOVE! nice city hall is the problem they spent 40 to 50 percent more than take in and give themself big wages and retirement packages for themselfs.

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  5. We fought our property taxes, in BC on Vancouver Island – and won! However we didn't get to see the benefit of it, however the new owners did! We moved just as the city confirmed that they had reduced our tax bill, it was grossly overvalued, we struggled selling our home for anywhere close to the property assessment – they had our home valued at over $430,000 CAD – however we had it on the market at $369,900 for months and months, then sold it for way less than this, we backed onto a fairly busy road, so our home wasn't worth anywhere near our neighbours, who didn't back onto the road across the street, and in the next street – plus Thriftys built a huge superstore just steps away, which also didn't help the sale, until people could see it nearing completion and the shrubs going in – it was a nice community in itself, on a golf course, however set in the Comox Valley "advice – don't move to the Comox Valley, they dont like outsiders, whether from Canada, BC or any other country, just dont go there – highly recommend Victoria, however anywhere else on the Island is simply just weird, if you ever go there, you will understand, sorry islanders, you are not the most friendly people (exception Victoria) Nice scenery doesn't pay the bills, Canadians want Canadian experience, even though you have enough experience to floor most job seekers and employers out there, we have experienced racism from white people to other white people – and yet Canada was built on immigration, some people just have no morals, very little compassion and no understanding for how they make people feel – especially our young son, who was put through the grinder by his soccer coach, who in short was a complete bully, red neck and aggressive man, how any 40-50 year old man feel good in telling boys "he will put them on their a** – and last comment "take your face off" I do not know – that was the last practice our son ever went to – we complained to the team and the BC Soccer Association and never even got a reply – anyway anyone thinking about complaining about their taxes, do so, as most often than not if you can do comparables in your local area, they really cannot argue – and simply agree with you – even when they say on their first visit they wont

    Reply

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