ISO 9001 | Regulated by RICS


Last Call: 2016 Property Taxes, New Brunswick

You have just seven days left to take action to reduce your property tax load this year. The 2016 Request for Review (Appeal) period runs out at midnight on March 31st. If your property is protected by our PAMS® Property Tax Manager program, rest assured, matters are well in hand; we have already reviewed your assessment and have taken action if the opportunity exists to reduce your realty assessment. If your property is not enrolled in PAMS®, roll up your sleeves and take some time to complete your review now!

If you own industrial, commercial, or investment (ICI) property, real estate taxes are undoubtedly your largest occupancy expense and account for approximately 40% to 50% of your total operating costs. If you haven’t renovated or altered your property, odds are your assessment has not increased significantly this year. Although this may be a pleasant surprise, the reality is simply that last year’s weaker real estate market did not provide the assessment office with a statistical basis for a larger increase. In fact, even when market values are increasing, property specific issues may warrant a reduction in your assessment. So, if you are aware of any property specific issues that negatively affect your property’s value, this is an excellent time to bring them to the attention of the assessor in an effort to have your assessment reduced!

The basis for your 2016 realty assessment, as mandated by the provincial Assessment Act, is the Real & True Value of your property on 1st January 2016 (the “base date”). When you review your assessment, make sure you apply the correct test. The Courts have held that Real & True Value equals market value but the devil is in the details. Market value is a reasoned estimate of a property’s value based upon a given set of assumptions. It can vary greatly depending upon the interest being valued and can only be consistently applied if the same assumptions are applied to all properties. These assumptions are not laid out in the Act. On the contrary, they represent a culmination of directives given by the Courts along with policies set by assessment authorities. The interest to be valued is the fee simple, not the leased fee or leasehold interest. Market value is not the value to its current owner, but to any owner. Some properties are so unique or specialised that there is effectively no market requiring a unique solution to the valuation problem.

If your primary area of expertise is not property tax, there are some basic tests you can apply to determine if you should request a review. Compare your assessment to similar properties in your municipality. If your assessment per unit (per ft.² for offices, warehouses, dealerships; per room for hotels and motels; per unit for apartments) exceeds those of similar properties, the assumptions used to assess your property may be different. You should also look at the circumstances that existed on the base date of assessment (1st January 2016) to determine if there are property specific issues that would afford you the opportunity to have your tax load reduced. Factors such as declining occupancy or utilisation, declining demand for your products, and environmental contamination must all be considered in striking your assessment.

The Bottom Line: It’s decision time. If you are in any doubt as to whether you are over-assessed, you should file a Request for Review.

Action Required: File a Request for a Review (Appeal) before midnight on March 31st or forever hold your peace. If you would like some (free) advice, please do not hesitate to call our New Brunswick Tax Team, André Pouliot or Chris Jobe, toll free at 1-800-567-3033 (634-1811 in Saint John).

Contact Us