Contest the property assessment of your building now

Written by Cassandre Louis and Jonathan M. Fecteau

You only have a few weeks left to contest the property assessment of your building as January 1, 2022, marked the implementation of the new assessment rolls that will serve as the basis for municipal and school taxes for the next three years or so. The updated property assessment rolls concern numerous Quebec municipalities including Quebec City, the cities of Laval, Saguenay, Repentigny, Saint-Colomban, Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Blainville, and Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts.

If you are a property owner, you should have already received written notice at the end of 2021 with the new value assigned to your building. You will also receive your first tax account based on this new value in the upcoming days.

A delayed increase

The analysis of your building’s assessed value must be carried out separately from the amount of taxes that cities will collect in the first year of the roll. In fact, cities can employ different means to limit the increase of the tax burden on taxpayers in this first year, such as averaging measures on property value increases over three years or applying various tax rates to different types of buildings.

The impact of an increase in value may therefore be more apparent in subsequent financial years as cities revise their tax rates or as the averaging measures offered gradually dissipate. Those who wish to contest the values appearing on the rolls are obliged to initiate the proceedings well in advance, and no later than April 30, 2022. The initial process is, by and large, administrative, inexpensive, and could result in substantial savings.

The impact of the pandemic on the property assessment roll

When determining if the value of your property as established by the municipal assessor is adequate, you should note that the reference date for establishing the value is July 1 of the second fiscal year preceding the first fiscal year for which the roll is prepared. Accordingly, the benchmark date for the 2022-2024 roll is July 1, 2020. Your current property value is therefore based on studies of the real estate market prevailing during the first months of the pandemic.

Don’t wait to contest 

Now is the time to carefully examine the value attributed to your building to ensure that your rights are protected and if necessary, benefit from the assessment appeal process provided for by law. The first step of this process is to submit a review request to the municipal organization responsible for the assessment. It is this review request that must be submitted by April 30, 2022. Failure to file this request for a review within the prescribed period will result in your inability to dispute the value of your property for the three years during which the assessment roll applies. Finally, if no agreement is reached with the assessor regarding requested modifications to the roll, you can appeal to the Tribunal administratif du Québec so long as it is within the deadlines set out in the law.

If you feel that the value assigned to your building on the property assessment roll may not reflect the true value of your building, you should act now. Contact one of our property assessment and taxation professionals to learn more about the contestation process.