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Turner Drake & Partners Ltd.
6182 North Street
Halifax, N.S.
B3K 1P5
Canada

Tel.: (902) 429-1811
Toll Free: (800) 567-3033
Fax.: (902) 429-1891

Suite 221
12 Smythe Street
Saint John, N.B.
E2L 5G5
Canada
Tel.: (506) 634-1811

Suite 11
109 Richmond Street
Charlottetown, P.E.
C1A 1H7
Canada
Tel.: (902) 368-1811

35 York Street
St. John's, N.L.
A1C 5M3
Canada
Tel.: (709) 722-1811

4th Floor
111 Queen Street East
Toronto, ON.
M5C 1S2
Tel.: (416) 504-1811

E-Mail: tdp@turnerdrake.com
Internet: www.turnerdrake.com

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# Wednesday, 05 October 2016

The City of St. John’s Assessment Division recently mailed out its Year 2017 Assessment Notices dated 20th September 2016. You have until 1st November 2016 to file your appeal. This is the second year of the tri-annual assessment cycle: a successful appeal will continue for the remaining two years of the cycle.

The legislated basis for your Year 2017 Assessment is your property’s market value on 1st January 2014 (the “Base Date”) having regard to its current physical condition. If you filed an appeal last year and it has been resolved, you have nothing to fear for the remainder of the re-assessment cycle (assuming your new notice reflects the reduction you secured for 2016). If you did not appeal last year, or your appeal from last year has not yet been resolved, the time to act is now.

If your property’s market value is less than its assessed value, it is over assessed and you should file an appeal on or before 1st November 2016. Market value is the price the property would command if it were sold to an “arm’s length” purchaser (i.e. to a nonrelated buyer) for cash or subject to conventional financing. It is not necessarily the price that would persuade you to part with the property but rather the price you could expect if you decided voluntarily to dispose of the real estate. The best evidence of market value is the sale prices of similar properties that were sold within six months of 1st January 2014. If your property is assessed at less than its 1st January 2014 market value, you may still be over-assessed because the Assessment Act mandates that your property has to be assessed in a uniform manner. This provision attempts to ensure that the tax load is spread across the municipality’s property inventory in an equitable manner. It also discourages the City of St. John’s Assessment Division from deliberately under-assessing property to thwart appeals. So, if for example, commercial properties are assessed on average throughout the municipality at 70% of their market value, you will have grounds for appeal if your property’s assessment exceeds this percentage. If similar properties to your own are assessed at lower unitised rates (e.g. per square foot for office, industrial and retail property; per room for hotels, apartments and seniors’ housing), that is also a sign that you may not be equitably assessed, and may be grounds for appeal.

The Bottom Line: If you did not appeal last year, or your appeal from last year has not yet been resolved, you get another kick at the can. You should appeal if your property is assessed at more than, (1) its market value on 1st January 2014, or (2) the assessment of other, comparable properties… or if you harbour any doubt that your property is overassessed. A successful appeal will continue for the remaining two years of the reassessment cycle.

Action Required: If you file an appeal, be careful not to restrict your grounds of appeal. We recommend that you use the following wording: “The assessment is excessive, unfair, not uniform with other assessments, and any other grounds that may appear.” If you prefer, we will file the appeal for you. For advice on whether to appeal, call our Newfoundland Tax Team, André Pouliot or Mark Turner at (709) 722-1811 (St. John’s) or 1-800-567-3033 (toll free), or email them at apouliot@turnerdrake.com or markturner@turnerdrake.com.

Wednesday, 05 October 2016 15:41:10 (Atlantic Daylight Time, UTC-03:00)  #    -
Newfoundland & Labrador | Property Tax