After being rejected by MPAC for reconsideration on a cottage property assessment, what can be done?
Your next step is to file a complaint with the independent Assessment Review Board (ARB). The deadline for filing is June 30, but you can appeal during the following year if you miss the date. MPAC is often inundated with tax appeals after assessments first go out, and the corporation may not have had enough information to thoroughly examine a case; therefore, it is turned down.
For the majority of cottagers, the ARB process is straightforward: Review MPAC’s explanation of your assessment; gather the necessary information to refute its analysis; document the condition of buildings with photographs; contact a local real estate agent for recent sale values of adjacent properties and an appraiser for the estimated value of your own; file a complaint; and await a date to present before the tribunal. (Appealing to the ARB frequently kick-starts discussions with MPAC that can lead to settlements before the case even goes before an adjudicator.) You’re likely to receive a decision the same day you appear before the ARB, and the complete process can take as little as five or six months.
Lawyers or consultants can help gather the necessary information, assess whether a complaint is likely to be successful, negotiate with MPAC, and represent cottagers before the tribunal. It’s recommended that any individual you hire has certification from the Institute of Municipal Assessors (IMA). The IMA does not give out the names of members, but suggests you contact your municipality’s tax office or a local real estate agent to inquire about certified members. A lawyer may be required in more complicated cases, such as those involving multiple properties or properties of significant sale value.