Oh, oh. The Tax Assessment Freeze in Ontario Has Thawed Out
Do you remember all of the ado about the problems with tax assessments a couple of years ago? The government decided at that time to freeze tax assessments while problems within the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) were ironed out. Well, that freeze is now being lifted and this means some homeowners could face double-digit hikes in property taxes. The provincial assessment freeze ended on January 1st however, the Ontario government says it plans to spread out any assessment increases over the next four years.
Property taxes are calculated by multiplying the assessed value of a property (as determined by MPAC) by the mill rate established by the municipality. Either one of those factors can cause taxes to change.
The Ontario Real Estate Association recently put out an article that said MPAC had completed 10 of the 20 recommendations and was moving forward on the remainder. Among the completed recommendations is a revised brochure that is sent out with reassessment notices. This brochure now mentions how important it is that MPAC’s information be accurate and urges people to report any inaccuracies. It tells them clearly how they can review their assessment and look at up to 24 property comparables, through a section of its Web site called About My Property. It also stresses: If an error has been made, we will correct it. We are also happy to explain how we arrived at your assessed value and answer any questions. Finally, it explains all the various ways you can complain about or challenge your assessment.
A new Property Taxpayer Web Portal is also being developed, through which owners will be able to access their Property Profile Report and comparables. The assessment notice form itself is also being redesigned for 2008. MPAC has done internal consultations, focus groups and property taxpayer customer interviews about this new form but it is still reviewing it, because of the potential impact of the province’s new four-year reassessment schedule.
In the meantime, the revised assessment process is under way and property owners will be receiving their assessments in August and September. Current property taxes are based on market value assessments conducted by MPAC for January 1, 2005, and are determined by comparisons with the average city property value. If the estimated value of a property increases at a rate below the city average, the homeowner’s property tax will decrease. If property value increases at a rate above the city average, the tax will increase. The reassessed values, with a valuation date of January 1, 2008, will apply to the tax years 2009 through 2012.
When it’s time to buy or sell real estate in the Collingwood, Blue Mountain or Georgian Triangle area, contact Marg, an experienced and competent Broker who’s ready whenever you are!