Manitoba Municipal Board

Assessment Appeals

What to Expect

At the Hearing
Although by the time an appeal reaches The Municipal Board it has been heard at the Board of Revision, the Board's hearing is "De Novo". This means that while the issues raised are limited to those raised at the Board of Revision, the hearing is conducted as if it were completely new. All evidence must be submitted as if for the first time and the Board will make its own decision on the evidence presented at the hearing. The only information that the Board has regarding the Board of Revision hearing is their decision. It is important to note that the Board is not provided with the information presented at the Board of Revision Hearing and, in fact, the evidence presented at each hearing may be different. All hearings are open to the public and all evidence intended to be relied upon at the hearing is also public.

Burden of Proof
At a hearing, the burden of proof is on the Assessor regarding value, which means that the Assessment Department presents its evidence first. The burden of proof may be shifted to the Owner if the Owner failed to co-operate with the Assessor's request for an inspection. The burden of proof is always on the Owner if the appeal relates to the classification of property.

Hearing Procedure
The Board typically sits as a panel of three - one member acting as Chair and two as members. The appeal begins with opening matters - confirming the property in question, year under appeal, roll number(s), assessment, and grounds of appeal. Any problems of conflict of interest of Board members or the need for an adjournment are dealt with as preliminary issues.

The hearing proceeds with either the Assessor or Owner presenting their case in full. All evidence is given under oath or affirmation. For the purpose of this explanation, the burden of proof will be on the Assessor.

The Assessor proceeds first, followed by the Owner, following this format:

  • Presentation of evidence to support the assessed value
  • Questions from the Owner regarding the evidence presented i.e. cross-examination
  • Questions from Board Members
  • If a new issue is raised during this cross-examination, the Assessor may address it

The entire process is then repeated, with the Owner presenting their case in full. The Owner may submit rebuttal evidence to respond to any new issues raised by the Assessor.

The Assessor may then present their rebuttal evidence with respect to any issue raised by the Owner that was not addressed by the Assessor.

Both parties may then present summations of their positions.

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Using Evidence
The similarities of all of the comparables to your property will be the basis for both your case and the Assessor's. Explain why your comparables are more similar or appropriate than the Assessor's. The Board cannot make its own findings outside of the evidence that is presented to it.

Tactics include:

  • The properties similar to yours have lower sale prices - meaning that your assessment should be lowered to match.
  • The Assessor has used comparable properties which are not similar enough to yours. The areas which differ show that your property should be assessed at a lower value than the sale prices of the Assessor's comparables.
  • There are problem areas that the Assessor missed in his assessment or did not consider correctly. The Board will require a written estimate of the cost of repairs from a contractor.
  • The Assessor's comparables are not as similar to your property as your comparables - thus your assessment should reflect the sale prices of your comparables.

Challenging Evidence
Rebuttal evidence is presented by a party to address any new issues raised by the other party. Do not re-argue your original position.

In cross-examination, a party may ask questions of any witness on all facts in issue and on all matters going to the credibility of the witness. Leading questions are permitted. If the intention is to contradict the witness, the contradictory evidence must be put to the witness. Cross-examination can assist a party in obtaining additional helpful information, qualifying the evidence, impeaching the evidence or impeaching the credibility of a witness.

The Board's Decision
The Board's decision is based on evidence presented at the hearing. The Board deliberates and makes a decision and prepares a written Order outlining the decision and the reasons for the decision.

The Board is only able to respond to what the parties seek on appeal. Prior to January 1, 2002, if you, as the Owner, appeal and the Assessor did not, then The Municipal Board could only lower your assessment or confirm its original value. It could not raise the assessment. Under new legislation, effective January 1, 2002, The Municipal Board can also increase the assessed value to an amount greater than its original value, if the Assessor files a notice of intent to seek an increase or an appeal to The Municipal Board (at least 10 days before the hearing).

Appeals to the Court of Appeal
A party may seek leave to appeal an Order of The Municipal Board to the Court of Appeal but only on matters of law or jurisdiction.

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