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Property Tax

Tax Appeals

Basis For Your Assessment

Your realty assessment is based on the market value of your property as at the following base dates:

Province Realty Assessment Base Date
2017 Tax Year 2018 Tax Year
New Brunswick 1st January 2017 1st January 2017
Newfoundland 1st January 2014 1st January 2014
Nova Scotia 1st January 2016 1st January 2017
Ontario 1st January 2016 1st January 2016
Prince Edward Island 1st January 2017 1st January 2018


Appeal Period

The Appeal Periods start when the assessment notices are published and vary by province:

Province Approximate Date Assessment Notices Published Appeal Period
New Brunswick 1st March 30 days
Newfoundland 15th October (1) 30 days
Nova Scotia 12th January 31 days
Ontario 18th October (2) 31st March
Prince Edward Island 30th April 90 days

(1)   Newfoundland and Labrador march to a different drummer. The City of St. John's compiles its own assessments and usually issues the Assessment Notices during the Christmas vacation. Assessments in the remainder of the province are compiled by the Municipal Assessment Agency Inc. and are usually issued in October.

(2)  Ontario issued the residential (single family) 2017 assessment notices on 4th April 2016.  The remaining assessment ntoices for 2017 (commercial, industrial, apartment, etc.) were issued on 18th October 2016.   Assessment notices were only issued on 15th November 2017 for properties whose assessments changed for the 2018 taxation year ... a minority, since 2018 was not a re-assessment year.

Appeal Process

We have appealed properties with assessments ranging between $100,000 and $130 million. Because of our excellent track record in court, over 90% of our appeals are now settled by negotiation with the various Assessment Departments. Nevertheless it is sometimes still necessary to proceed to court where points of principle are involved or the Assessor is obdurate. Potentially therefore we employ the following three stage process:

Stage 1 (Assessment Audit) - We review the assessment and compare it with other assessments and the costing manuals employed by the Assessor. We report back to our client by letter with a thorough analysis of the assessment calculations, detailing our estimate of the correct assessment, the potential tax savings, our recommended course of action, the probability of success and the associated cost.

Our recommended course of action will usually be, (1) negotiation with the Assessor, or (2) abandonment of the appeal. We will not undertake frivolous appeals. We achieve tax savings with virtually every appeal we undertake because Assessors recognise that we do not get involved unless there are genuine grounds for questioning the assessment.

Stage 2 (Negotiation) - If the client wishes us to conduct the negotiations we prepare a position paper and open negotiations with the Assessor. We are able to conclude over 90% of all appeals by negotiation. However if we are unable to reach a satisfactory settlement we report back to our client by letter detailing our recommended course of action, the probability of its success and the associated cost.

Our recommended course of action will usually be, (1) proceed to the Appeal Board, or (2) abandonment of the appeal.

Stage 3 (Appeal Board) - We appear on the client's behalf to present the case before the Appeal Board. In most cases legal counsel are not required.

The decision whether to proceed to each stage rests entirely with our client: the potential tax savings and the probability of achieving them have to be weighed against the cost involved.

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How Successful Are We?

Since January 1st 1990 we have quietly and cost effectively saved thousands of property owners and occupiers, an aggregate annual amount in the millions of dollars. Since we only entered the Ontario market in late 1998, most of these tax savings have been in the four Atlantic Provinces. However we have been successful with most types of property as the following table demonstrates:

Property Type Location Tax Savings
Total %
Aerospace Pratt & Whitney, Halifax Co., N.S.
$ 356,000
Automobile Dealer Forbes Chev. Olds, Dartmouth, N.S.
$ 159,000
Bottling Plant Pepsi Cola, Moncton, N.B.
$ 117,000
Cold Storage Associated Freezers, Dartmouth, N.S.
$ 400,000
Community Centre Richmond Street, Charlottetown, PEI
$ 3,700
Ferry Terminal Saint John, N.B.
$ 151,000
Fertiliser Plant Noranda Mines, Belldune, N.B.
$ 108,000
Food Processing Hostess Frito-Lay, New Minas, N.S.
$ 85,000
Hangar Air Atlantic, St. John's, Nfd.
$ 18,000
Hotel Prince Edward Hotel, Charlottetown, PEI
$ 58,000
Industrial IMP, Amherst, N.S.
$ 266,000
Medical Polyclinic, Charlottetown, PEI
$ 22,000
Motel Journey's End, St. John's, Nfd.
$ 49,500
Offices Main St., Moncton, N.B.
$ 128,500
Raw Land Kearney Lake Road, Halifax, N.S.
$ 21,000
Retail Canadian Tire, Miramichi, N.B.
$ 81,000
Shopping Centre Lancaster Mall, Saint John, N.B.
$ 94,500
Smelter Noranda Mines, Belldune, N.B.
$ 158,000
University Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S.
$ 74,000
Warehouse Pepsi Cola, Ottawa, Ont.
$ 220,000

Case Law

Click here for relevant property tax case law.