How to Fight your Property Assessment Notice

Property Assessment - Kelowna Real EstateHey guys, it's that time of year again - property assessment notices have been mailed out. Listed below is the step by step appeal process.

For more information, please contact your local assessment office here.

NOTE: The 2014 Assessment Roll was finalized December 31, 2013 and Assessment Notices mailed in early January. For the 2014 Assessment Roll only, please note the following:

 

  • THE DEADLINE TO FILE A COMPLAINT (APPEAL) IS FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014 at 11:59 p.m., PST.
  • PROPERTY ASSESSMENT REVIEW PANEL HEARINGS TAKE PLACE BETWEEN FEBRUARY 1 AND MARCH 15, 2014.
  • A 2014 PROPERTY ASSESSMENT REPRESENTS THE ASSESSED VALUE AS OF JULY 1, 2013.
  • THE APPEAL GUIDE FOUND BELOW IS GENERIC AND SOME EXAMPLES MAY NOT REFLECT HOW ASSESSED VALUES WERE DETERMINED FOR 2014.

Step 1 – Review your Property Assessment Notice

When you receive your Property Assessment Notice, please check all the details on the front page carefully:

  • Is the information on the Notice correct?
  • Is the actual (market) value correct?

The Notice shows the market value of the land and improvements as of July 1 of the previous year.  It also lists the property classification, as well as any exemptions that may apply.

e-valueBC - Compare Assessments Online is a convenient way to compare your property with other properties in your area. e-valueBC is a free service that enables property owners to check the fairness of their assessed value with similar properties in their neighbourhood. Property owners can also compare their assessed value with the selling price of properties with similar characteristics.

Step 2 – Discuss your concerns

If you believe information on your Notice is incorrect, please contact your local BC Assessment office and discuss your concerns or questions. You can do this by phone or in person, or by using the online form found here. The contact information for your local office is listed on the front of your Property Assessment Notice.

An appraiser will be pleased to:

  • discuss your property file;
  • explain how the market value was determined; and
  • refer you to sales of similar properties in your neighbourhood.

If you and the appraiser agree there is an error, the assessment can be corrected without an independent review.

Step 3 – Request a review

If your concerns are not satisfied, you may request an independent review by the Property Assessment Review Panel (i.e., you may file an appeal). To request a review, you must submit your written request to your local BC Assessment office no later than January 31. A request for a review is referred to as a Notice of Complaint.

Your complaint must include:

  • your reason for requesting a review;
  • the Property Assessment Roll number as stated on the Assessment Notice;
  • the property description (address and/or legal description) as stated on your Notice;
  • your full name, mailing address and a contact phone number where you can be reached during the day;
  • a statement indicating whether or not you own the property in question; and
  • if you appoint an agent, the agent’s full name and business phone number.

Property Assessment Review Panels have the authority to investigate and adjudicate property assessments. Their purpose is to ensure that property assessments reflect actual (market) value. They also ensure that assessments are applied consistently within a municipality or rural area.

Once you have filed your complaint to request a review, you will receive a Notice of Hearing to advise you of the date and place to appear before the Panel.  You will then need to phone your local BC Assessment office to arrange a specific hearing time.  The phone number is listed on the front of your Property Assessment Notice, or on your Notice of Hearing.  Please note that your Notice of Hearing may not arrive until five days prior to your hearing date.  You are encouraged to begin preparing for your hearing early.

Step 4 – Prepare for your hearing

You are encouraged to begin preparing for your hearing as early as possible. Do not wait until you receive your Notice of Hearing. You will need to gather and organize information to support your position, as the burden of proof rests with the complainant. In other words, you must prove the Property Assessment Notice is inaccurate.

It is important for you to present the best evidence you can in a concise and organized manner. Please bring five copies of any materials you wish to present to the Panel: three for the panel members, one for the BC Assessment representative and one for yourself.

If you cannot attend in person, you may send a written submission or appoint someone to appear on your behalf.

Hearings will occur on selected dates between February 1 and March 15. If you plan to be away or unavailable during this time, you should contact BC Assessment to minimize any scheduling conflicts.
 

Step 5 – Appear at your hearing

The length of a hearing is usually 30 minutes. Please be on time, as many hearings may be scheduled in a day. Sometimes, however, a hearing may run over the allotted time and the Panel appreciates your patience. You will be provided with 5-8 minutes to make your presentation, so you are encouraged to be concise and focus on the important information you wish the Panel to consider. A hearing breakdown is available on the PARP website at www.cscd.gov.bc.ca/parp/pdfs/outline.pdf.

Please Note: if you file after the January 31st deadline, or if your complaint contains a substantive error, the Panel may declare it invalid and refuse to hear your complaint.

You likely will be asked to present your case first, and then BC Assessment will present its case. The Panel is not given any details regarding your complaint prior to your hearing. This will be the Panel’s first opportunity to hear your concerns and examine your evidence. You and the BC Assessment representative will have the opportunity to ask each other questions. The Panel may also ask questions of both parties.

In regard to valuation, the Panel will consider market value only. The fact that you do not intend to sell your property is not relevant for assessment purposes.

Hearings are open to the public. 

Step 6 – Panel Decisions

After hearing from both parties and asking questions, the Panel may retire to a separate room or area to deliberate.

Although the Panel usually provides its decision to the Parties at the end of the hearing, it may defer its decision. All decisions must be rendered before March 16.  In either case, you will receive a formal Decision Notice which BC Assessment is required to mail to you by April 7.

The Panel may confirm the assessment for lack of evidence, change the assessment or the information contained on the Property Assessment Notice, or decide no change is required. The Panel is not required to provide a written rationale for its decision.

Step 7 – Appeal a Panel decision

If you are not satisfied with the Panel’s decision, you can file an appeal with the Property Assessment Appeal Board. The deadline to file your appeal with the Board is April 30.

Information about filing an appeal can be found online at www.assessmentappeal.bc.ca, by emailingoffice@paab.bc.ca, or by calling 604-775-1740 in metro Vancouver, or 1-888-775-1740 toll-free from anywhere in British Columbia.

BC Assessment also has the right to appeal Panel decisions.

Jared Franczak - West Kelowna Realtor

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