Property taxes are a major source of revenue for most local governments and they are also a very significant expense for most homeowners. It is therefore very critical to understand how your property tax bill is calculated so you can have a rough idea of what you will be expected to pay in property taxes each year and budget accordingly. This will in turn help you to avoid unnecessary surprises and spot costly errors that could be causing you to have huge tax bills.
Property Tax vs Tax Assessment in Ontario
If your property is based in Ontario, you are bound to receive property assessment notices from MPAC in the mail every four years. MPAC is an independent and non-profit corporation that is mandated to assess and classify all of Ontario’s properties in accordance with the Assessment Act as well as regulations of the Government of Ontario. The assessment determines what you are expected to pay to the government in property taxes every year for the next four years. Here is how you can compare MPAC’s assessment of your property to the actual value of the property:
- How Frequently Do You Get Them?
If you just received your Property Assessment Notice out of the blue, this is because these notices are usually issued to property owners once every four years. The notice is basically a document that clearly outlines an assessed value of a commercial, industrial or residential property. On the other hand, you should expect to receive your property tax bill each year, since the taxes you pay are what funds the government’s operations.
- How Are They Reached?
The main criteria that MPAC tends to use while assessing the value of a property includes the location of the property, the lot size, the size of the living space, the quality of the construction and the age of the property, among other things. In any case, the property tax you are supposed to pay is normally determined by multiplying the assessed value of the property by the tax rate for your property class.
- Which One Can You Appeal?
In case you are not in agreement with the assessment notice you received in the mail, you actually have the option of appealing it and having a reassessment done. You can do this by contacting MPAC and presenting your dispute. If they shoot it down, you can escalate the matter by filing an appeal to the Assessment Review Board and even taking it up to the courts for the decision of the judge. However, you cannot directly appeal a property tax bill once you have received it. You simply have to pay it as it is.
If you feel that there are any errors or inconsistencies in your property’s assessment, but you are not well versed with the Ontario property tax assessment process, these are seasoned property tax consultants that can assist you. They will comprehensively analyze your case and advise you on the steps you should take at every stage of the property assessment appeal process.