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New MPAC property assessment notices due in townships by month’s end

Your house is likely to be assessed at a higher rate this year, but that won’t necessarily cause your taxes to go up. Actually, your taxes probably will increase, but not because your assessment went up an average $50,000 since the last reassessment in 2012.

Confused? You’re not alone. This is a reassessment year – properties were reevaluated based on the province’s current value assessment formula, which uses market trends to judge the value of the property. It’s the first broad adjustment in four years. Increases are phased in over the next four years.

“So if the same house sold on Jan. 1, 2012, and the same house sold on Jan. 1, 2016, you would realize about $50,000 more,” explained Jon Hebden from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), addressing township council Tuesday night.

Notices for Wellesley will hit mailboxes on July 25.

Theoretically, the new assessments are revenue neutral: municipalities adjust their taxation rates to maintain the same level of tax revenue – before any annual increases, of course. All things being equal, if your assessment decreases or increases less than the township average, your taxes might go down. The opposite is true if your assessment rises faster than average.

Hebden noted the agency has a backup plan should postal services be disrupted (Canada Post has put workers on notice that a lockout is possible as of Friday).

“We have provisions in place to make sure that everything gets where it needs to be,” he said. “We have been planning for it for a month and a half.”

Woolwich, where the average assessed value of a single-family home is up $62,000 since 2012, is on the same timeline. Where Wellesley homeowners can expect a 3.2 per cent adjustment in the first phase, Woolwich’s rate to 2017 will be 4.5 per cent.

There have been a few changes made to the process that is used to value properties in the municipality, and how the information is disclosed. Owners of residential, farm, retail and industrial properties will find out how much their property is worth a bit earlier than in previous years, and MPAC is becoming more transparent in how they value properties.

“If we can agree on how the property is going to be valued prior to the roll being returned, it results in less (value assessment) appeals and a more stable assessment base,” said Hebden. “It provides opportunity to give feedback prior to notices going out and taxes being levied. It increases satisfaction and confidence and it is basically a no surprise approach.”

One major change is to the request for reconsideration deadline. With previous assessments, property owners have had until March 31 of a given year to present a request to reassess their homes. Now, it depends on the date the assessment notice was issued.

“Bill 144 came into effect in December of 2015, and one of those changes is the request for reconsideration deadline. It has changed from March 31 to 120 days after the notice of assessment was issued. Everyone now has that 120 days,” explained Hebden.

Changes have also been made to the assessment notice itself, making the information easier for property owners to read and access.

“The top right hand corner is the issue date, which is very important for request for reconsideration deadlines. We have the assessment overview, the base year value for 2012, the base year value for 2016 and the changes in between the two,” said Hebden.“There is information about how the municipality will use the assessment. It has request for reconsideration deadlines and how to log in to the application AboutMyProperty. On the back, we have the property details, the five major factors impacting property residential values, then the three major players on the bottom half.”

Property assessment notices for farm properties will be sent out on Oct. 11 and assessment notices for multi-residential and businesses will be sent out on Oct. 18. To see more about how property values are assessed, or to ask questions, visit www.mpac.ca or call 1-866-296-MPAC.

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