MPAC delays property assessments to 2021

An official conducting property assessments Photo by Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Property assessments in Ontario were scheduled for this year. Then the pandemic happened.

The only thing worse than sheltering in place as warm weather beckons might be sheltering in place and having to think about property taxes on the cottages we can’t yet visit.

So let’s make this simple so we can get back to our “no-sew mask” video: “The Ontario government has announced that the 2020 Assessment Update has been postponed,” says Paula Chung, a media spokesperson for Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC). “Property assessments for the 2021 property tax year will continue to be based on the fully phased-in January 1, 2016 current values.” (That value is defined as “the price your property might reasonably have sold for in its current state and condition on January 1, 2016.”)

What this means, she says, is that property assessments for the 2021 property tax year will be the same as phased-in 2016 values, unless there have been changes to the property.

Those changes could include:
• a change to property ownership or legal description
• a change to the property’s value as a result of a Request for Reconsideration
• a change in a property’s value due to renovation or demolition
• a change in a property’s classification or tax liability.

If your property is affected by any of those changes and you’d like a Request for Reconsideration, you’re in luck. The deadline to file, typically March 31, has been extended to 16 days past the date when the province’s state of emergency has been lifted.

For those whose properties have increased in value since 2016, you’ve been granted something of a reprieve, though you could still see an increase in your property taxes.

Cottagers question taxes, insurance payments during pandemic

When your Property Assessment Notice arrives (or has already arrived), make sure to review it and then file it for your records.

The reasoning behind the delay seems straightforward: the Ontario government announced it as part of the province’s Action Plan to allow municipal governments to focus their resources on critical public health initiatives as part of a regional response to COVID-19, according to a recent Ontario government press release.

So, relax. And go back to dreaming of the day we are released into the wild to return to the places we love best.

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