Manitoba

Manitoba Municipal Board

Assessment Appeals

How to Prepare

After the appeal has been filed, preparation will help ensure that your hearing will be productive. Most property owners have no experience in dealing with The Municipal Board and, while their claims may be valid, they may end up being unsuccessful because they were unable to present their position in an effective manner. By following the procedures below, an owner can come to the Board with an understanding of what the Board requires to make a decision and what is needed to respond to the case put forward by the Assessor.

Although this information is provided to assist you in preparing your appeal and appearing before the Board, it is not meant as a guarantee that you will be successful in your appeal. Only the panel hearing the appeal and considering the submissions of both parties can make a decision.

Describe your Property

Describe the property including both its attributes and deficiencies. The Assessment Department's field sheets will confirm the department's understanding of the physical condition of your property. If there is any discrepancy between the Assessor's information and the actual physical condition of the property, the department should be advised immediately as they may be prepared to adjust the assessment to reflect the deficiency. If the Assessor is not prepared to make any adjustment, the Board will require photographs of the deficiencies and a written estimate of the costs to repair them by a contractor.

It would also be advisable to have the contractor present at the hearing to answer any questions of the Board and the Assessor.

The Assessor is entitled to an inspection of your property for the purpose of preparing for the appeal. The Municipal Assessment Act (MAA) prescribes penalties for failure of a property owner to accommodate an Assessor's request for such an inspection.

Reference Date
Under the MAA, the assessing authority must reassess property within its jurisdiction every two years.

The reference date is the date on which the market conditions within a particular jurisdiction are considered to determine the value of property. The reference date for the 2010 re-assessment is April 1, 2008, for 2012 re-assessment April 1, 2010, for 2014 re-assessment April 1, 2012, and for the 2016 re-assessment it will be April 1, 2014.

Comparables
Your closest neighbours with similar homes, who have sold their property prior to April 1, 2008, are the best comparables. Since it is recommended that you find three or four different comparables, you may need to consult a realtor or the Assessment Department to find appropriate properties. The City of Winnipeg Assessment and Taxation Department (http://www.winnipegassessment.com) and Manitoba Local Government Provincial Assessment Services websites (http://www.gov.mb.ca/assessment) are also good resources to search for comparable properties. Please note that no post-reference year information is allowed. For a 2010 assessment, this means that no sale information after April 1, 2008 will be considered.

To determine whether a property would be a valid comparable, consider the following:

  • Location
  • Proximity of services
  • Size of lot
  • Size and age of house
  • Topography
  • View
  • Number and size of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Basement (included? finished?)
  • Fireplaces
  • Garage/carport
  • Outbuildings
  • Significant repairs required?
  • Detractions from enjoyment (odours, traffic, trains, industrial noise)

For condominiums, considerations include:

  • What floor the unit is on
  • Location - corner, end, or middle of building
  • Floor plan
  • Parking (underground vs. street)
  • Elevators
  • Balcony
  • Size of unit

Rural areas are more difficult as there are fewer comparable properties, especially in the particular reference year. A broader search area will likely be required, which means that different market conditions will have to be taken into account.

To help the Board compare properties, once you've gathered the information, it is the usual practise to set out the properties, with their addresses, legal descriptions, attributes, and sale prices, along with your property, in a comparison chart. Include photographs and mark the locations of all of the properties on a map.

Once you have compiled this information, review it on your own to determine whether your property is over-assessed in comparison to your comparables. If the properties similar to yours have sale prices similar to your assessment, it will be less likely that you will succeed in your appeal. The Board does not consider the assessments of other properties and asks that this information not be provided at the hearing.

Settling with the Assessor

With sufficient information on the value of your property, you can approach the Assessment Department to seek an Agreement about the value of your property. If the information you present is satisfactory, they may agree to reduce the assessment without proceeding to a hearing. If the two parties agree to reduce the assessment, a Certificate of Agreement, setting out the new property value and reasons for the change is prepared by the Assessment Department and signed by both parties on all the documents. This Agreement is submitted to the Board and the hearing cancelled. Following a review of the Certificate of Agreement, the Board can issue an Order and refund the filing fee.

If no settlement can be reached, you must attend The Municipal Board hearing. You may also withdraw your appeal prior to the hearing date if you decide not to proceed. The filing fee is usually not refunded.

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