You And Your Property Tax Bill - The Illusion and The Reality

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with My Time Is My Own

You And Your Property Tax Bill - The Illusion and The Reality

 

 

You And Your Property Tax Bill - The Illusion and The Reality

 

For many the process of appealing your property assessment is as convoluted as this picture. Many people think that they are appealing their property tax bill when they arrive at an appeal. They do not realize that it is in fact their assessment that they have to appeal.

In a post How Property Assessment in Ontario is Calculated based on the explanation of how your property assessment is calculated by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) Ty Lacroix provides some insight into the assessment process here in Ontario. Reading his post and the information on MPAC's web site there is the illusion that your assessment should be fair and equitable.

What I have found is that in Reality there is little that is fair about the system. To read about just a few of the inequities check out some of my earlier posts on the subject below.

 

Just What Is Fair

Each of us has our own idea of what is fair and what is not In My post You and "YOUR" Property Tax Bill - Assessment Appeal Causes Inequities In Taxation

Pam McInnes of Waterloo asked

I've also always wondered why, just because you own a home, you have to pay for the school system - pick public, separate, or french immersion, but whether you have children or not you pay into it because you are a homeowner? 

My thoughts on the subject came in my response here

You and "YOUR" Property Tax Bill - The Cost Of Education -Who Should Pay

 

 

Stay Tuned --- . 

No longer a complete list but links to many of my earlier posts on the subject

 You and "YOUR" Property Tax Bill - Inequities In Taxation - A Matter Of Fairness
 You and "YOUR" Property Tax Bill - Environmental Impacts On Property Assessments #2
 You and "YOUR" Property Tax Bill - Environmental Impacts On Property Assessments
 You and "YOUR" Property Tax Bill - The 2010 draft budget goes before council today
 You and "YOUR" Property Tax Bill - Your Assessment Notice May Have been In The Mail
 You and "YOUR" Property Tax Bill -- Should Municipal Government Be Scrapped
 You and "YOUR" Property Tax Bill -- One Alternative
 You and "YOUR" Property Tax Bill -- My Prescription Provided Pain Relief
 You and "YOUR" Property Tax Bill -- Assessment Errors Can Be Costly
 Understanding Residential Property Assessment in Ontario - #7 in a series on property taxes
 You and "YOUR" Property Tax Bill -- Is Your Assessment Fair and Equitable 
 You and "YOUR" Property Tax Bill -- OUCH!!!!!
 You and "YOUR" Property Tax Bill -- Your Assessment Notice Is In The Mail
 You and "YOUR" Property Tax Bill -- Mill Rate Idiosyncrasy's
 You and "YOUR" Property Tax Bill -- Is Current Value Assessment (CVA) A Better Way?
 You and "YOUR" Property Tax Bill -- Who Takes The Biggest Bite?

 

It will be interesting to watch what happens to 

 "Your" Property Tax Bill

With province wide re-assessment affecting
your 2010 property tax bill.

Posted by

Posts on Property Assessment and Taxation are for informational purposes only please read the  CAVEAT

Comments (16)

Jim Hale
ACTIONAGENTS.NET - Eugene, OR
Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website

The property tax is inherently unfair as a general concept.  It is even worse in the specific implementation everywhere.

 

Not based on the ability to pay.   (Not based on income)

Not based on the ability to pay.  (Not based on equity)

Not based on the ability to pay now.  (Once paid in an after harvest timeframe, the timing makes little sense. It's just that lenders collect it throughout the year for many people - otherwise it would be even more unpopular.)

Not capable of being assessed equitably.  (Judgement calls aplenty.)

Mar 14, 2010 01:41 AM
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

" illusion that your assessment should be fair and equitable."

That is something that is shared by most homeowners today.

 

Mar 14, 2010 01:48 AM
Barrie Clulow
My Time Is My Own - Uxbridge, ON

Jim - and yet when asked most people think the process is fair simply because their perception, based on the information they see, is that it is fair What An Illusion!!!

Mar 14, 2010 03:03 AM
Barrie Clulow
My Time Is My Own - Uxbridge, ON

Fernando - They have the Illusion that it is Fair primarily because they do not know how they are calculated. Their assumption is that the "Market Value" what their home is worth on the open real estate market is the basis for their assessment and that it also reflects ones ability to pay.  Nothing could be further from reality.

Mar 14, 2010 03:08 AM
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker

Barrie,

This is a good series. And, I appreciate the fact that you have all the others linked. It will serve as a nice resource center when something comes up.

Brian

Mar 14, 2010 05:22 AM
Michael J. O'Connor
Diamond Ridge Realty - Corona, CA
Eastvale - 951-847-4883

Taxpayers in my area face a similiar problem - they need to appeal the assessed value and they need to understand the DATE of the valuation.  We are on a time lag and most homeowners are clueless as to how this works.  We have our second tax installment due on April 10th and the assessed value tied to that payment is January 1, 2009.  How confusing especially when we had significantly declining values!

Mar 14, 2010 05:25 AM
Tom Boos
Sine & Monaghan Realtors, Real Living - Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Providing the very best of service to Sellers and

All taxing-authorities are in a bind, the likes of which we haven't seen in a lonnnnnnnng time.  Homeowners will have to be proactive if they hope to pry some of their tax dollars from the fingers of the tax man this year.

Mar 14, 2010 07:59 AM
John Grasty
for real estate results in the Tri-Cities. - Port Moody, BC
Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer.

Congratulations on the Member Spotlight Barrie.

Also, thanks for the "heads-up" on the newletter featured blog.

 

Mar 14, 2010 09:13 AM
Barrie Clulow
My Time Is My Own - Uxbridge, ON

Brian - it will never reach the level of your posts on law

Mar 14, 2010 12:30 PM
Barrie Clulow
My Time Is My Own - Uxbridge, ON

Michael - I believe the process is confusing on purpose,the more confused people are the less likely they are to challenge the process or the resulting assessments.

Mar 14, 2010 12:32 PM
Barrie Clulow
My Time Is My Own - Uxbridge, ON

Tom - if we stopped asking them for more and started telling them to look inward for savings they would not be in a bind.

Homeowners should always be proactive to ensure they are paying only their fair share.

Mar 14, 2010 12:35 PM
Barrie Clulow
My Time Is My Own - Uxbridge, ON

John - Thank you and Your welcome. This is the perfect time for such a spotlight as it is appeal time in many areas throughout North America

Mar 14, 2010 12:37 PM
Michael J. O'Connor
Diamond Ridge Realty - Corona, CA
Eastvale - 951-847-4883

I actually think that they don't PURPOSELY try to confuse the taxpayers with the dates.  I think it makes sense for them to put a stake in the ground for a 'date' so that they can then take the proper snapshot and do the best analysis possible before coming up with the assessment value.  If it's too tight it is more error prone.  From a purely business efficiency standpoint it makes sense.  The downside locally is that when we were in freefall owners kept trying to get new assessments even though the correct value was from more than a year before - certainly not an efficient process for the assessor!

Mar 17, 2010 06:29 PM
Barrie Clulow
My Time Is My Own - Uxbridge, ON

Michael - I agree with the stake in the ground comment if it were a one time stake however it is not. The fact that it is a constantly shifting target does not help, it adds to the confusion for many taxpayers. . Not all jurisdictions re-evaluate every year and many have various restrictions on implementation and or abatement's that alter the actual assessed value of certain properties. The whole process is confusing, time consuming and from my perspective a total waste of taxpayer dollars.

One of my issues is that they are using this method at all for determining how much of a contribution (tax) the owners of a piece of property should pay towards the services the locality provides. I would rather see a fixed assessment based on a property or its owners ability to draw on those services and the level available to them. Why for instance should a rural property owner who has no street lighting be paying for street lighting in their property tax bill. In my case I pay hydro directly for the street light in front of my home so I am paying for it twice.

Mar 18, 2010 06:50 AM
Michael J. O'Connor
Diamond Ridge Realty - Corona, CA
Eastvale - 951-847-4883

Barrie - It DOES sound like your area is trying to confuse people with shifting dates.  Thankfully here in California we at least don't have the problem of date shifting.  I didn't live here when Prop 13 was passed but I know it was a voter revolt over all kinds of shenanigans with the assessments.  So now we have a process - convoluted - that can at least be followed.  I agree we shouldn't be subject to double-taxation but seems like it does happen.  And I wish it were so easy to see that services are properly allocated to those who wish to pay but it's not easy to do so therefore it's unlikely to happen.

 

Mar 20, 2010 03:27 AM
Barrie Clulow
My Time Is My Own - Uxbridge, ON

Michael - my intention is not to allow people to selectively pick what services they wanted to pay for.

The intent is to tax them based on what services they had the potential to use, other wise nobody would pay.

A good example here is the town has paid to take on the challenge of the aquatic growth along the lake shore. Other than the public parks the rest of the lake frontage is privately owned and yet all taxpayers even those with out water frontage or even living near the lake are footing the bill.

Mar 20, 2010 05:40 AM