Property Assessment: Don’t Wait to Contest

Written by Cassandre Louis and Jonathan M. Fecteau

Be aware! You only have a few weeks left to contest the property assessment of your building. On January 1, 2020, the new property assessment roll came into force for several Québec municipalities, including the cities of Gatineau, Drummondville and Windsor. This new assessment roll will serve as the basis for establishing municipal and school taxes for at least the next three years.

If you are a property owner you already received, at the end of 2020, a written notice informing you of the new value assigned to your property. Moreover, you will shortly receive your first tax bill based upon this new assessment.

A delayed increase

Determining whether the new assessment of your property is fair must be done independently from the amount of the municipal taxes during the first year of application of the assessment roll. In fact, for the first year, the cities will be able to establish various strategies to limit the taxpayers’ burden, such as averaging the variations of value over three years or applying different tax rates according to property classification. Therefore, this increase may have a greater impact in subsequent fiscal years as cities revise their tax rates or as the averaging of variations of values comes to an end. Unfortunately, it will be too late for you to then contest the assessment of your property, as this process must be instituted within the first four months of the coming into force of the triennial roll, i.e. no later than April 30, 2021.

Don’t wait to contest

It is therefore essential to carefully examine the value attributed to your property in order to ensure that your rights are safeguarded and to take advantage, if need be, of the assessment contestation process provided by law. Contesting the value of a property is a two-step process set out in the Act Respecting Municipal Taxation. This process begins with an application for review with the municipal body responsible for the assessment. This is the request for review which must be filed by April 30, 2021. Failure to file this request for review within the prescribed time limit will result in your property’s value for the three years for which the assessment roll applies not being disputed. If no agreement is reached with the municipal body, a motion must be filed with the Administrative Tribunal of Québec within the time limit prescribed in the Act.

If you consider the value attributed to your property to be too high, act now. To find out more about the contestation process, contact one of our property assessment and taxation professionals.

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