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5 Considerations Before Engaging a Property Tax Service Provider

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The property tax and assessment appeal landscape in Ontario is complex and dynamic. What previously worked offers no guarantee of future success. Choosing your property tax services provider, can significantly impact your results. To ensure that you are best positioned to minimize your property taxes, here are 5 considerations when selecting a property tax service provider.

1. Dedicated Property Tax Advocates

  1. Role Clarity: Clear separation between the roles of advocates and valuators.

  2. Qualifications and Experience: Advocates are licensed by the Law Society of Ontario, are experienced with ARB proceedings and are adept at navigating the complexities of the property tax system. The advocate’s track record should inspire trust and confidence.

  3. Tax Mitigation Strategies: Advocates able to fully leverage tax reduction strategies, mindful of the limitations that may apply to certain representatives like paralegals regarding court proceedings and applications to government bodies for tax incentives, grants, and refunds.

2. Qualified Expert Valuators

  1. Accreditations: Valuation experts with relevant industry accreditations, establishing their credibility and demonstrated adherence to professional standards. In Canada, the most recognized accreditation is issued by the Appraisal Institute of Canada.

  2. Specialized Knowledge: Valuators with expertise in the specific property types and knowledgeable in the valuation issues relevant to your real estate portfolio.

  3. Valuation Team: The valuation team has the depth of expertise and experience necessary to address all property assessment and taxation aspects of your real estate portfolio.

3. Access to Data

  1. Market Data: Access to market data relevant to the valuation date and detailed studies and analyses of that data.

  2. Assessment Data: Access to comprehensive assessment data.

  3. Costing Data: Availability of third-party resources like Marshall & Swift the leading industry manual for cost valuation.

  4. Real Estate Market Trends: A research team providing market intelligence and expert analysis of demographics, leasing trends, real estate investment and development.

4. Technology & Analytics

  1. Litigation Software: Use of litigation management or similar software to facilitate compliance with the stringent deadlines at the Assessment Review Board.

  2. Client Communication: User-friendly client communication platforms to enhance transparency and service delivery.

  3. Analytics: Advanced analytics tools leveraged in equity, valuation, and market trend analyses.

  4. Integrated Technology: Platform combining technologies to assist with property assessment and tax management, strategic planning, and transaction and scenario support.

5. Transparent & Comprehensive Cost Structure

I. Comprehensive: All-inclusive fees for legal, valuation, and administrative services.

II. Transparent: Offers a detailed breakdown of any further potential costs, including costs that may associated with:

  • Appeal or Application Filing Fees
  • Preparation of Expert Reports
  • Motions or other Preliminary Proceedings
  • Appearances at a Settlement Conference or Full Hearing
  • Engaging additional experts
  • Retaining a lawyer

III. Fees & Payment Schedule: Flexibility regarding the timing of and method for calculating fee payments

As a result of the dramatic changes in Ontario’s property tax system, property owners and taxpayers should review and reassess their approach to property tax mitigation. The evolution of the property tax system in Ontario means that the prevailing professional service models and business practices may not suit the current regulatory and legal environment and, as such, be untenable. Aligning your property tax mitigation strategy with the property tax system as it exists in 2024 is necessary to secure optimal property tax outcomes for your commercial property.


For More Information, Please Contact:

Robert Brazzell

Managing Director | Property Tax Services | Ontario

Toronto Downtown

As an Executive Director at Colliers International I am fortunate to lead a passionate team that assists  real estate owners and their tenants to take a proactive approach in reviewing and reducing  their property assessments and taxation. Our growing team of professionals strives to serve our clients above and beyond their expectations.

I am a legal and business professional with over 20 years of experience developing and leading corporate strategies to grow value; expand corporate presence; and protect corporate interests. I have provided legal support and business guidance and direction to property tax practice groups in Canada and the United States. Throughout my career I have successfully leveraged innovative approaches and established strategic relationships to deliver professional services, build market share and increase revenue. 

Applying the knowledge and skills I have acquired providing counsel to an administrative tribunal, serving as an Acting Chair of a provincial property tax assessment appeal board, and representing taxpayers in proceedings before property tax assessment appeal tribunals across Canada my role has most recently included providing legal representation in high value property tax assessment appeals in Ontario. As a property assessment appeal advocate my goal is ensuring the most cost-effective management of my client’s property tax assessments and property tax liabilities so they can realize their corporate objectives. I am focused on this goal and on delivering value to clients but always in the context of a commitment to ethical standards and operating with integrity

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Damian Bernacik

Director, Legal Services, Property Tax Services | Ontario

Toronto Downtown

As the Director, Legal Services, Property Tax Services at Colliers International, based out of Colliers' downtown Toronto office, I work with a dedicated team committed to surpassing client expectations.

With a robust background as a Property Tax and Assessment Litigation Lawyer, I bring expertise in handling complex property tax assessment matters and proceedings before the Assessment Review Board. Beyond this, my practice extends to tax exemptions, navigating municipal tax relief applications, and assisting clients in obtaining property tax grants. 

My strength lies in my ability to traverse the multifaceted and dynamic property tax landscape. I focus on exploring every potential avenue for property tax benefits and devising strategic tax mitigation strategies. By empowering my clients with tailored solutions, I ensure they maximize opportunities to minimize their property tax liabilities.

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Chris Jenkins

Associate Director | Property Tax Services

Toronto Downtown

Chris joined Colliers in 2005 as a Research Associate. In 2006 Chris was promoted to the position of Industrial Sales Representative. In 2011 Chris joined the Valuation and Advisory Services Depart (specializing in Realty Tax Services) to further his real estate knowledge. Chris' experience in industrial real estate has proved to be an asset for the Valuation and Advisory Department. 
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