Though most people love the idea of owning a home, high property taxes have proven to be one of the greatest impediments to home ownership. In any case, the Ontario property tax assessment system is comprised of four main organizations, with each having its own role to play in the assessment process. These include the Ministry of Finance, Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), municipalities and the Assessment Review Board (ARB). However, if you feel that your property has been over-valued and the tax you are required to pay on that property does not match its actual worth, then you can dispute the assessment.
If you do not agree with the information that is on the Property Assessment Notice sent to you from MPAC, you can either file a request for reconsideration with MPAC, or simply appeal to the ARB. The process you will have to follow will depend on the type of property. Below are some of the steps you can follow if you want to challenge your property tax assessment:
Understanding Your Property’s Assessment
If you want to dispute your property taxes, the first step would be to understand how MPAC made the original assessment. There are basically two ways for you to do this without paying anything. The first step would be to contact MPAC and a representative will comprehensively review all the information they have for your property and answer any questions you have concerning the assessment. They can also make corrections if necessary.
Alternatively, you can go to MPAC’s website. This is a great self-service tool which allows you to look up your property’s assessment information, as well as information on recent sales for similar properties within your neighbourhood.
If you are new to the website, just click on the ‘Register Now’ link. In order to register, you require the property’s 19-digit roll number as well as the access key. All of these can be found on your latest Property Assessment Notice. Note that if you have multiple properties, each of your properties will have to be separately registered. However, if you have not yet received your latest Property Assessment Notice, and do not know either the access key or the roll number, you can obtain them by contacting the Property Tax or Revenue Division in your municipality.
Submitting Your Request for Reconsideration
If you would like to challenge a property tax assessment, you can simply submit your request from the MPAC website. However, you will need to state the grounds for disputing the assessment on the form. In order to build a substantial case, you should include supporting documentation like a copy of the home appraisal report from a mortgage lender, pictures of that property, as well as sales data from other similar properties.
MPAC will then review the submission before providing a written response, clearly explaining the reasons for the assessment in question. In case you are not happy with their decision, you will have up to 90 days from the date of the decision to file your appeal with Ontario’s Assessment Review Board. If you have no idea how to navigate this process, there are firms that can guide you through each step of the process.