In recent years there have been dozens of changes to Ontario’s Property Tax legislation and procedures. These changes have come about due to the downloading of issues of tax policy to municipalities and the streamlining of the property assessment system by Ontario’s finance ministry. One consequence of the changes to the Property Tax legislation is that there have been substantial errors in property assessments and tax bills sent to property owners. If the errors are not corrected, they may distort the base value of affected properties and will be virtually impossible to correct in future years.
At Cohen Highley, our lawyers have been at the forefront of the changes to the Assessment Act and the Municipal Act through our involvement with housing and development industry organizations and our successful representation of clients who have appealed their property taxes. We have consulted with the Province with respect to proposed legislative amendments to the Property Tax system and have planned and implemented successful challenges to flawed taxation and assessment practices.
We continue to keep informed of on-going changes in the law in this area. Our legal advisors work co-operatively with municipal tax officials and MPAC officials to secure fast, fair, and accurate assessments and tax bills. In the vast majority of cases, we are able to obtain a negotiated resolution with finance officials.
We can help you with the following:
- Identify errors in your property Assessment Notice
- Decide whether there is merit to filing an objection or appeal of your Assessment Notice;
- Determine the appropriate steps to take in securing a negotiated settlement of your dispute with MPAC or the local taxing authority;
- Secure information from the Municipality or MPAC which will be necessary in successfully challenging your Assessment Notice or your Tax Bill;
- Determine where and how to challenge your Assessment Notice or your Tax Bill;
- Establish: proper classification of your property; rebates where you are entitled to them; exemptions either under the Assessment Act or the Municipal Act, where applicable; assessment reductions where errors have been made in your Assessment Notice or the application of Municipal Tax Policy;
- Avoid liability under Provincial and Municipal Property Tax legislation;
- Plan for future tax consequences which flow from the use and operation of existing land holdings; and
- Appeal your Property Taxes.
We have successfully represented a broad range of property owners in proceedings before the Assessment Review Board and Divisional Court. We are familiar with the myriad of Rules governing practice and procedure before the Board, as well as the substantive case law applied by the Board in deciding assessment appeals. In compiling evidence we determine what expert opinion evidence will be required and ensure that our witnesses are fully prepared with credible opinion evidence for presentation to the Board in support of our clients’ position. Our thorough preparation, combined with our experience in working with the highest caliber of experts in the appraisal, marketing and valuation fields, gives our clients a distinct edge in the battle for fair assessment of their properties. Our expertise with the assessment and taxation process ensures that services we provide are rendered efficiently and effectively. And if we think you don’t have a case, we’ll tell you long before you invest your resources in fighting your assessment.
Our legal advisors know how to successfully challenge Property Tax assessments. We are members and active contributors to industry organizations with input into Property Tax policy; we have successfully negotiated numerous assessment reductions with Provincial officials; and we continue to keep informed of the ongoing changes to Property Tax legislation. Our clients have included financial institutions; land development corporations; retail and commercial property owners; industrial property owners; and multi-residential property owners.