For over four decades our Property Tax Team has worked hard to minimize our clients’ property tax load, fighting property tax assessment appeals each year, carefully trimming their strategy to meet the shifting policies of the various provincial Assessment Departments. In 1999 it became apparent that bolder action was required: nothing short of a sea change in the way we delivered our property tax services would suffice. Instead of clients incurring the cost of repetitive annual property tax appeals, a pre-emptive program to catch, or discourage, property tax assessment increases before they entered the Assessment Roll, made more operational and economic sense. In July 2001, after two years of preparation and investment, we launched the Property Tax Manager component of our PAMS® services delivery model, an ongoing program to manage and curtail property tax assessment increases, and when the opportunity presented itself, drive down the property’s tax assessment … often without the expense of a formal assessment appeal process.
There is a very definite trend in Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland … in fact right across Canada, to curtail property assessment appeals. The propensity for provincial governments to outsource the property tax assessment process to “independent corporations”, in reality their former assessment departments, has provided impetus to this trend. In order to achieve their goal of discouraging assessment appeals, the provincial governments or their surrogate assessment departments, have:
We live in an era of rapid change and increased specialization. Property tax assessment is not the primary focus for most types of business, real estate asset management is rarely the sole responsibility of one individual … and everybody is now “time stressed”. Our Property Tax Team are experts who focus only on property tax appeals. PAMS® Property Tax Manager is designed to:
Once the property is enrolled in our PAMS® Property Tax Manager program we notify the relevant Assessment Authority. As soon as the new Assessment Notices are published, cooperating Assessment Authorities send copies direct to our Property Tax Team; most are in electronic format so we receive them before the property owner.
The experts comprising our Property Tax Team review the Assessment Notices, determine which properties are over-assessed and file the Assessment Appeal Notices. They handle the assessment negotiation and the local Assessment Appeal Court appearance. They are responsible for ensuring the various appeals are filed on time.
Some assessment authorities such as PVSC in Nova Scotia publish a property assessment “pre-roll” and afford us the opportunity to negotiate assessment reductions before the official Assessment Roll is finalised. This facilitates the assessment negotiation process since the municipality has not yet utilised the property assessments for budgeting purposes. It also avoids the cost and delay inherent in a formal assessment appeal.
In consultation with the property owner, we can also complete and file the property Income and Expense Questionnaire or, if the client prefers, review the completed form to ensure that it minimizes their eventual tax liability.
All activity on each of the client’s property assessments is posted to their secure Client Area on our web site … so a complete property tax appeal status report is just a mouse click away. In addition our client receives an e-mail on each activity as it is posted to their Client Area. If they wish, the property owner can provide input at any time to all assessment appeal assignments, through their Client Area.
PAMS® Property Tax Manager is available in Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. In most municipalities, property tax assessments are based on the lower of the property’s Market Value and the assessments of similar properties. Our proprietary information technology (IT) platform, CompuVal®, gives us the unique ability to run analyses on both types of data, in tandem and individually, on a cross sectional (across property types) and longitudinal (time series) basis … so we can compare the property assessment with its Market Value, and against assessments of similar properties on a unitised basis … as well as testing property assessment increases against prior years. It puts us in the driver’s seat, well able to out match the analytical power of the Assessment Authority.
Our Property Tax Team are salaried professionals, the product of our choreographed seven year training program which blends mentored work experience, the University of British Columbia’s Diploma in Real Estate (DULE) and Bachelor of Business in Real Estate (BBRE) degree, negotiation courses through Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s Universities, and twenty seven “in house” Training Modules … in addition to their business degree. We have been conducting property tax appeals since 1976 so our Property Tax Team can draw upon a set of policies and procedures developed during thousands of assessment appeals.
Property owners can reduce their administrative burden, cost and risk by enrolling their properties in our PAMS® Property Tax Manager program: the property tax savings can be substantial and ongoing. Once the property is enrolled in the program we implement a two pronged approach to minimize each property assessment and maintain it at that low level. Our studies show that PAMS® protected properties experience lower property tax re-assessment increases than their peers. Property Tax Success Stories graphically demonstrates how that investment has paid off for clients seeking to minimize their property tax load.