Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms
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AboutMyProperty™ AboutMyProperty™ is a secure, online service that provides property owners with convenient access to basic property valuation information. Through AboutMyProperty™, all property owners have access to their assessment roll information (e.g., current value assessment, legal description, lot size) and assessment roll values on comparable properties of their choice.
Agreement to Purchase Date The date a legally binding written contract is made between a buyer and seller stating the terms and conditions under which a property will be sold. See also Registration Date (Sale Date).
Assessment Notice See "Property Assessment Notice."
Assessed Value (Assessment) The value of a property (land and buildings) for taxation purposes.
Assessment Act The law that governs the way property is assessed in Ontario.
Assessment Cycle The yearly cycle of assessment-related activity which leads to the delivery of assessment rolls to municipalities in late December.
Assessment Review Board (ARB) Independent tribunal that is part of the Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario cluster which reports to the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General and hears assessment appeals from property taxpayers.
Assessment Roll An annual list of the current value assessments for all properties, in a municipality, which includes the names of the property owners or tenants and their address.
Automated Cost System -online™ (ACS-online™) MPAC's ACS-online™ is an automated costing system that determines replacement cost new less depreciation for commercial, industrial, special use and exempt properties. This web-enabled service provides users with a fast and simple way to estimate site improvement costs for most buildings or structures.
Automated Valuation Model (AVM) MPAC's AVM is an accurate "real-time" estimate of market value for all residential properties in Ontario. Developed and maintained by MPAC, it includes over three million residential properties, with four or fewer units.
Capping and Clawback Capping refers to a municipality's option to limit, or cap, the tax increases on commercial, industrial and multi-residential properties. The limit on tax decreases, in order to fund capping, is known as a clawback.
Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) CAMA is computer supported statistical analyses used to assist the assessor in estimating value.
Cost Approach One of the approaches used to value property. The cost approach is based on the theory that a person would not pay any more to purchase a property than it would cost to buy the land and replace the existing buildings or improvements.
County An upper-tier municipality which is a federation of the towns, villages and townships within its boundaries, each of which has representatives on a county council.
Current Use The actual current use of the property, excluding any consideration of a potential or future use.
Current Value The price a property might reasonably be expected to sell for if sold by a willing seller to a willing buyer after appropriate time and exposure on an open market. For property assessment purposes, current value and assessed value are the same thing.
Exempt Property Property which is assessed, but not taxed. Generally, properties which are exempt from property taxes provide services for the public good, such as schools, churches and hospitals. Other charities and philanthropic organizations mentioned in the Assessment Act may be given exempt status if certain criteria are met. Properties eligible for exemption are found in Section 3 of the Assessment Act .
Funding Formula Set by legislation, the funding formula is used to determine MPAC’s fee to municipalities for assessment services. The formula is designed to strike a balance between the number of properties and the value of assessment in each municipality.
Grant-in-lieu of Taxes See "Payment-in-lieu of taxes."
Improvements Buildings or other structures and attachments to land that are intended to remain attached (e.g. house, garage, shed).
Income Approach One of the approaches used to value property. The income approach is based on the theory that income-producing properties are bought and sold based on their income-earning potential.

As defined in the Assessment Act , "land", "real property", "real estate" include:

  • land covered with water,
  • all trees and underwood growing upon land,
  • all mines, minerals, gas, oil, salt quarries and fossils in and under land,
  • all buildings or any part of a building, all structures, machinery and fixtures erected or placed upon, in, over, under or affixed to land,
  • all structures and fixtures erected or placed upon, in, over, under or affixed to a highway, land or other public communication or water, but not the rolling stock of a transportation system.
Linear Property Property that generally extends in lines and has distribution networks or other facilities that extend across municipal boundaries (e.g. railway rights-of-way and power utility corridors).
Local Roads Board A board which is responsible for maintaining roads in unorganized territories.
Local Services Board A board which is responsible for providing certain services in unorganized territories. The services may include street lighting, water, sewage, garbage collection, recreation, and fire protection.
Market Change Profile (MCP) The MCP is a data file containing a property-by-property comparison of value between assessment update years at the property tax class level. The MCP is provided to municipalities in advance of Property Assessment Notice mailing.
Mass Appraisal The process of valuing a group of properties as of a given date, using common data, mathematical models and statistical tests. The use of mass appraisal allows MPAC to value a large number of properties in a short period of time.
Municipal Connect™ MPAC’s Municipal Connect™ is an Internet-based solution that provides municipalities with real-time access to assessment information. This includes general property information, soil data, sales data, structure images, and roll details.
Municipal Act The statute governing how municipalities administer municipal services and collect taxes (e.g. property taxes are calculated and collected by the municipality using the assessments determined by MPAC).
Multiple Regression Analysis (MRA) MRA is a statistical technique used in CAMA to develop value estimates. MRA is used to automate the sales comparison approach to value through the development and application of a mass appraisal model.
Municipal Enumeration The process of collecting information in a municipality for the purpose of preparing preliminary voters' lists for municipal and school board elections, lists of potential jurors and the Ontario Population Report. MPAC carries out an enumeration every three years in the same year as municipal elections.
Municipal Revenue The income of a municipality. It includes property taxes, provincial grants, payments-in-lieu of property taxes, fees-for-service and other forms of income.

Municipalities are created by the Province of Ontario. They are geographical areas such as a city, town, village or township. The following definitions are provided:

  • Upper-Tier Municipality
    A county, regional municipality or district such as the County of Haliburton, the Region of Durham or the District Municipality of Muskoka.
  • Lower-Tier Municipality
    A local municipality such as a town, township, city or village.
  • Regional Municipality
    A federation of municipalities. Each regional municipality has a regional council, the members of which are either from municipal councils or are directly elected.
  • Single-Tier Municipality
    A municipality that is not part of a county but which is located within a county's boundaries (e.g. the Town of Smiths Falls, which is in the County of Lanark; the City of Windsor, which is in the Essex County).
Omitted Assessment An assessment which has not been recorded on the assessment roll. When an omitted assessment is added to the assessment roll, property taxes can be collected for the current year and, if applicable, for any part or all of the previous two years.
Ontario Fair Assessment System (OFAS) The new assessment system created under Bill 106, the Fair Municipal Finance Act, 1997 , to make property assessment and the calculation of property taxes fair, consistent and understandable. Under OFAS, property assessment values across the province were updated to their current value, using the same valuation date; seven standard property classes were created; the business occupancy tax was eliminated; local governments were given the authority to establish different tax rates for different classes of property; and the appeals process was simplified.
Ontario Population Report A report containing information about the municipality's population. MPAC provides this report to municipalities in municipal election years.
Payment-in-lieu of Taxes Payments made to municipalities by the provincial or federal government, where properties are exempt from property taxation. Also known as grant-in-lieu of taxes.
Property See "real property" or "land."
Property Assessment Details (PAD) The Property Assessment Details (PAD) provides a comprehensive look at how the specific characteristics of your property are measured.
Property Assessment Notice An annual notice sent to all property owners to advise them of their property's current value assessment. The Notice also contains the property's classification and school support designation.
Property Assessor MPAC's team of Property Valuation Analysts, Property Inspectors and Customer Service Representatives who determine current value assessments for properties in Ontario.
Property Classification A categorization of a property or a portion of a property according to its use, each category representing a different tax class. There are seven major classes of property (residential, multi-residential, commercial, industrial, pipe line, farm, managed forests) and six specialty classes (new multi-residential, office building, shopping centre, parking lots and vacant land property, large industrial and professional sports facilities).
Property Tax The combined tax on a property comprising the municipal (local) tax and, if applicable, a region or county tax. An education tax will also apply to most property classes.
Provincial Land Tax A tax administered by the Ontario Ministry of Finance. The taxes collected through this program fund services for Northern Ontario properties that fall outside of current municipal boundaries.
Real Estate The physical parcel of land and all improvements and or structures permanently attached. See "land."
Reassessment (preferred term: Updated Assessment) The process of updating assessments on all properties in Ontario to reflect more current values. Ontario's first province-wide reassessment was done in 1997 and its second in 2000. Since reassessments are to be done every year beginning in 2002, the preferred term is 'updated assessment' when referring to a change of assessment from one valuation date to a more current valuation date.
Registration Date (Sale Date) The date set in the Agreement to Purchase upon which the purchase price is paid and the transfer of title is registered. See also Agreement to Purchase Date.
Regulated Assessments Assessments that are determined by the activity or production capability or by a legislated rate, rather than by the value of the property itself. Regulated properties include pipe lines, rights-of-way, power utility corridors and power generating stations.
Request for Reconsideration (RfR) Property owners who disagree with the current value assessment or classification on their Property Assessment Notice may ask MPAC to conduct a review of their assessment through the Request for Reconsideration process. There is no fee for this service and a request can be made at any time during the taxation year.
Sales Comparison Approach One of the approaches used to value property. This approach is based on the theory that the current value of a property is directly related to the sale prices of similar properties.
School Support A designation from an individual which enables that person to elect school trustees.
Separated Municipality A municipality which is geographically part of a county but which is separated from the county for municipal purposes and has no representation on county council.
Supplementary Assessment (s.34, Assessment Act) An assessment made during a taxation year for an addition, renovation or construction. When a supplementary assessment is added to the assessment roll, additional property taxes can be collected for that portion of the current tax year that the supplementary addresses. A supplementary assessment can also be issued when there has been a change in the tax class of a property. The classification may occur during the taxation year, or the preceding November or December. Where the class change results in a higher tax rate, municipalities cannot collect additional taxes for those two months but only for the current tax year.
Taxable Property All property in a municipality which is not exempt from taxation.
Tax Class See "Property Classification."
Tax Rate A percentage applied to the assessed value of a property to determine property taxes payable. Municipal tax rates are set by local municipalities, counties, regions and education tax rates are set by the provincial government. Tax rates may differ for each property class.
Taxation The process of applying a tax rate to a current value assessment to calculate the taxes owing.
Taxation Year The calendar year (January 1st to December 31st).
Territorial District An area in Northern Ontario which has a number of local municipalities but no county or regional structure or district-wide administration. The boundaries of the district are used for judicial and administrative purposes. There is one exception: the District Municipality of Muskoka, which functions like a region or county. Territorial districts are sometimes referred to as unorganized territories.
Unorganized Territory An area of the province, generally in Northern Ontario, where there is no region-wide level of government. These areas may have Local Service Boards that are responsible for delivering basic services such as road maintenance and garbage disposal. Also see "Territorial District."
Valuation Date A fixed point in time on which current assessment values are based. This date is set by the provincial government. The valuation date in Ontario is January 1st.

Note: The applicable law prevails to the extent there is any conflict between this information and the current law. This information is not intended to provide legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.