Assessment Procedure for the Assessment Review Board Appeal Process
To provide information about the Assessment Appeal Process.
For guidance and information about the Assessment Review Board (ARB) please refer to the Assessment Review Board section of the Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario website.
The Assessment Review Board is an independent adjudicative tribunal administered by the Ministry of the Attorney General. Its main function is to hear appeals from people who believe there is an error in the assessed value or classification of a property. The Board also deals with appeals about other matters, such as school support designation.
There is a fee to file an appeal to the ARB. For further information on filing fees, please visit the elto.gov.on.ca/arb/.
Before Filing an Appeal
If a property owner does not agree with their assessment, they should first contact MPAC toll-free at 1 866 296-6722 or TTY 1 877 889-6722. MPAC will explain how the assessed value was determined and answer any questions.
Residential, Farm, Conservation Land and Managed Forest Properties
If a property, or a portion of it, is classified as residential, farm, conservation land or managed forest, the property owner must file a Request for Reconsideration (RfR) with MPAC before becoming eligible to file an appeal with the ARB. The RFR is a precondition to the appeal and the ARB may not accept an appeal if this step is omitted. A property’s classification is indicated on every Property Assessment Notice. Beginning with the 2017 tax year, for years in which there is an Assessment Update, the deadline to submit an RfR is 120 days from the issuance date printed on the Property Assessment Notice. For non-reassessment years, the deadline to submit an RfR remains March 31.
Property owners have 90 days after MPAC has notified them of its decision on an RfR to file an appeal with the ARB.
To request eligibility for the farm or managed forest tax classes, or a conservation land exemption, a property owner must file a RfR with the respective program administrator. For more information, please contact MPAC toll-free at 1 866 296-6722 or TTY 1 877 889-6722.
Other Property Types
For any other property types, property owners can choose to either file an RfR with MPAC or file an appeal with the ARB. Beginning with the 2017 tax year, for years in which there is an Assessment Update, the deadline to submit an RfR is 120 days from the issuance date printed on the Property Assessment Notice. For non-reassessment years, the deadline to submit an RfR remains March 31. However, if an owner chooses to file with the ARB, the deadline to file the appeal is also March 31 of the tax year or 90 days from the notice date for other types of assessments.
MPAC must respond to an RfR within 180 days of the RfR being filed. However, if MPAC notifies the person within 180 days of the request being made that an extension is required, MPAC must notify the person of the results of the RfR within 240 days of the RfR being made.
Filing an RfR with MPAC is free.
Filing an Appeal
Appeals must be filed in writing, using the ARB’s appeal form available at MPAC offices, municipal offices, government information centres, or by e-filing at elto.gov.on.ca/arb.
Before the Hearing
MPAC will review the nature of the appeal from the RfR information that was provided. In 2008, section 40 (3) of the Assessment Act was amended to require making filing an RfR a pre-condition to filing an Assessment Review Board (ARB) appeal for properties in the residential, farm, or managed forest property class.
The intention of this amendment was to give property owners the opportunity to have MPAC review their concerns in an efficient and cost effective manner without the payment of an ARB filing fee and thereby reducing the number of assessment appeals before the ARB. Section 39.1 (4) of the Assessment Act requires that an RfR "must set out the basis for the person's request and all relevant facts" in order to ensure that the reconsideration process is meaningful. An RfR that merely indicates, "assessment too high" does not comply with the requirements of the Assessment Act.
To assist in the RfR process, property owners may login to aboutmyproperty.ca and access detailed information on their property as well access up to 100 property snapshots and up to 24 detailed property reports on properties of their choosing. Login information is included with every Property Assessment Notice. Property owners may also extend this service to their representatives. Additional information regarding MPAC's Guidelines for the Release of Assessment Data (GRAD) may be accessed at the following link and a Property Valuation Analyst will contact the appellant to ensure he/she understands why the appellant believes that the assessed value or the classification of the property may be incorrect.
In addition, the Property Valuation Analyst will verify that all of MPAC's data used to arrive at the assessed value and/or classification is complete and accurate and, if warranted, an on-site inspection will be completed.
After the Assessment Review Board receives an appeal, the Board will send property owners an acknowledgment letter. If the appeal was filed on time and the fee is paid, the Assessment Review Board will proceed to assign a commencement date and schedule of events. Please refer to the ARB’s information on General and Summary Proceedings at elto.gov.on.ca/arb/. If the parties are unable to resolve the appeal by a Mandatory Meeting Date, the Board will schedule a hearing and will mail property owners a notice of hearing.
If the property appealed is classified as residential, farm, conservation land or managed forest, the appeal will be heard by way of Summary Proceeding. A Summary Proceeding requires fewer steps, and applies to appeals that are less complex. An appeal under the Municipal Act, 2001 or City of Toronto Act will also be heard by way of Summary Proceeding, unless the property also has an Assessment Act appeal being heard by way of General Proceeding.
The ARB will assign a commencement date that will take place within the four-year assessment cycle, where parties will be required to start working on the appeal. Each appeal must follow a schedule of events which outlines the procedural steps that parties must complete and when each step must be completed by.
The following process applies to Summary Proceedings:
The ARB will send parties their commencement date for each property. All parties will be expected to comply with due dates specified in the assigned schedule of events for an appeal. The schedule of events will include disclosure, and a mandatory meeting among parties to discuss settlement. If the parties are unable to resolve the appeal by a Mandatory Meeting Date, the Board will schedule a hearing and will mail property owners a notice of hearing. Only evidence filed by the filing due date specified in the schedule of events will be considered at a hearing. The ARB will not permit late evidence to be admitted at the hearing. An adjournment will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. For more information on adjournments, see the information sheet available on the ARB’s website at elto.gov.on.ca/arb/.
All Assessment Act appeals will be heard by way of General Proceeding, except where the property appealed is classified as residential, farm, conservation land or managed forest property. Appeals under the Municipal Act, 2001 or City of Toronto Act will only be heard by way of General Proceeding if the property also has an Assessment Act appeal that will be heard by way of General Proceeding.
The ARB will assign a commencement date that will take place within the four-year assessment cycle, where parties will be required to start working on the appeal. Each appeal must follow a schedule of events which outlines the procedural steps that parties must complete and the due date for completing each step.
Under the ARB Rules of Practice and Procedure, the following steps form part of the schedule of events for General Proceedings:
- The ARB will set a commencement date for each appeal, and is open to suggestions from the parties.
- All parties will be expected to comply with due dates specified in the assigned schedule of events for an appeal.
- The schedule of events will include deadlines for disclosure, statement of issues, statement of responses, mandatory meetings between parties and a settlement conference conducted by the ARB.
- If the parties are unable to settle the appeal amongst themselves, the schedule of events includes a due date for the parties to file with the ARB all issues and documents on which they intend to rely on at the hearing. No issues may be raised, or documents admitted as evidence if they have not been filed with the ARB by this due date. The Board will schedule a hearing and will mail property owners a notice of hearing.
- Adjournments will only be granted in exceptional circumstances such as an emergency. For more information on adjournments, see the information sheet available on the ARB’s website at elto.gov.on.ca/arb/.
If the appellant decides to withdraw an appeal already filed with the ARB, they must do so in writing to the Board. The ARB will advise all affected parties of the withdrawal.
Preparing for an ARB Hearing
It is important that you are prepared for your ARB hearing. The hearing is an opportunity to explain why you think your property assessment is wrong. You can prepare by:
- obtaining sales information on comparable properties in the vicinity, concentrating on sales occurring around the valuation date. This information can be used as evidence at the hearing to show that the assessed value is not accurate when compared to sales that have occurred in the market place;
- identifying the properties that are most comparable to their property. Since, it is not always possible to find a comparable property that is an exact replica, try to select similar properties as close as possible to the property under appeal. These properties should be similar in:
- size of the lot, frontage and depth;
- building size, (using outside measurements in square feet, not including the basement, garages or porches);
- structure details, including age, quality and condition, type of structure (e.g., detached, semi-detached, split-level), number of storeys and number of bathrooms; and
- if the basement is finished.
- obtaining information on the comparable properties. This information is available from MPAC through AboutMyProperty™ or upon request, but the appellant can choose to collect this information from other sources;
- in reviewing the comparable properties and preparing their evidence, the appellant should focus on why their property may be inequitably assessed with similar property in the vicinity;
- if possible, obtain photographs of your property and the comparable properties selected;
- providing any other evidence that will prove your case; and
- supplying three extra copies of your documentary evidence (in addition to your own set) you plan on using as evidence at the hearing. The extra copies are for the ARB's records, for MPAC and for the municipal representative (if one is attending).
The ARB Hearing
The Assessment Review Board will schedule a date and time for the hearing event to take place. The ARB will send notification to all parties containing the teleconference numbers and the scheduled time slot for the hearing. Under Rule 90 of the ARB’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, all hearing events in Summary Proceedings will be electronic hearings, unless the Board directs otherwise, meaning that parties will be provided a call in time for their hearing. The ARB’s Rules of Practice and Procedure require that all of the evidence you intend to rely on at a hearing be filed with the Board by a date set out in your Schedule of Events.
Before the hearing begins, the ARB member will explain the hearing process. The hearing usually follows these steps:
- The parties are sworn in or affirmed;
- MPAC’s Property Valuation Analyst describes the property under appeal, including the property details, the method of valuation and the valuation date;
- The Property Valuation Analyst will then present his/her evidence to show why they believe that the assessed value or property classification is correct and that the assessed value is equitable to prove the assessed value is equitable;
- You as the appellant may then ask the Property Valuation Analyst about his/her evidence (this is referred to as cross-examination);
- If the municipality is participating, they may cross-examine the Property Valuation Analyst about his/her evidence;
- The municipality may present their evidence;
- Both MPAC and the appellant may cross-examine the municipality about their evidence;
- The appellant is then asked to present his/her evidence outlining the reasons why they believe the assessment and/or classification are incorrect or why their property is inequitable with others;
- The Property Valuation Analyst and the municipality may then ask questions of the appellant about their evidence;
- All parties may make a closing argument, also known as submissions;
- All parties may have the opportunity to reply to the closing arguments; and
- The ARB will make a decision on your appeal or reserve its decision for another day.
It is important to remember that the ARB member has not seen the property in question, so pictures, diagrams and maps can be helpful.
It is also important to remember that the ARB may not consider:
- property taxes;
- exemptions from taxes; and/or
- level of services being provided by the municipality.
Note: This procedure has been developed to provide the public with a general understanding of the assessment procedure for the Assessment Review Board appeal process. The applicable law prevails to the extent there is any conflict between the procedure and the relevant law.