Reassessment Causes Appeal Surge

Robert Thomas 


With 2017 being a reassessment year, the City of Moose Jaw saw itself with a surge in property tax appeals.

In total, 216 regular property tax appeals were filed with 33 withdrawn and four dismissed, due to a lack of ground on which to appeal.

Of the remaining 179 appeals, 112 were resolved by agreement between the assessor and property owner.

In total, 67 appeals went before the Board of Revision, 28 of which were dismissed and 39 were allowed. The Board of Revision is a quasi-judicial tribunal whose job is to determine if an error was made in valuation of property for tax purposes.

An unspecified number of successful appeals are now being appealed to the Saskatchewan Municipal Board.

 The total change of tax assessment roll was a decrease of $40,927,42 with $34,562,000 from the commercial property class and $6,365,400 from residential properties.

The losses of tax revenue is made up by all property owners within a respective class. Losses on commercial property assessment appeals are not made up from higher residential taxes but from all commercial properties. The same is true for residential properties with the assessment losses made up from all residential property owners.

All assessment losses in the commercial property class are redistributed by an increase in the mill rate factor for all commercial property plus a five percent tax surcharge to make up for appeal losses. For residential losses the mill rate factor is increased.

The municipal mill rate factor is a value that when multiplied by the allowable assessment for each property class gives you your municipal property tax. Similarly, for the education portion of taxes a mill rate is set to derive that portion of taxes. When added together, the two equal the property taxes owing. Under the Cities Act, the City collects taxes owing for local schools.

Given that 2017 was a re-assessment year, the report to Council stated that there is an expected decrease in the number of appeals this year.

The cost to operate the Board of Revision was $19,459.43. In total 23 days were required for hearings, whereas in 2016 only five days of hearings took place in the final year of a four year assessment cycle.

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