Access to Assessment Data:
The GBA has communicated with the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) on a number of occasions to express concerns about the assessment process and access to assessment information. It is the view of the GBA that information on assessed values should be easily available, at no cost to taxpayers, and in a timely manner.
In the final days of the last Progressive Conservative government in Ontario, the then Finance Minster Janet Ecker recognized complaints from municipal finance officers and others about the ‘timeliness, completeness and accuracy’ of assessment information provided by MPAC. Many taxpayer organizations had voiced similar complaints. In response, the Minister promised to ‘enhance the quality of assessment service delivery’ . However a few months later that government was replaced by the current Liberal government and no similar public statement has been made concerning improvements to MPAC services.
In order make timely requests for informal reconsideration, or simply to question the assigned assessed value, property owners need to have data on the assessed values of comparable properties. Unfortunately, such data are not posted to the MPAC website until some considerable time after the assessment notices have been mailed written responses for comparable data generally are received too late to avoid filing a precautionary formal appeal, incurring what could be an unnecessary fee.
Property owners in urban areas can use the MPAC website to make their own comparisons with properties identified by street number. By contrast, an owner of property on a shoreline or island cannot obtain assessment values on neighbouring comparable properties unless he/she knows the roll number or 911 ‘civic’ address, which is unlikely, especially in mid-winter when such matters arise.
The GBA also has published advice on reviewing and appealing assessments, and has responded to numerous inquiries from member association residents regarding their personal assessments.