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
- Role Clarity: Clear separation between the roles of advocates and valuators.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Specialized Knowledge: Valuators with expertise in the specific property types and knowledgeable in the valuation issues relevant to your real estate portfolio.
- 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
- Market Data: Access to market data relevant to the valuation date and detailed studies and analyses of that data.
- Assessment Data: Access to comprehensive assessment data.
- Costing Data: Availability of third-party resources like Marshall & Swift the leading industry manual for cost valuation.
- 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
- Litigation Software: Use of litigation management or similar software to facilitate compliance with the stringent deadlines at the Assessment Review Board.
- Client Communication: User-friendly client communication platforms to enhance transparency and service delivery.
- Analytics: Advanced analytics tools leveraged in equity, valuation, and market trend analyses.
- 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.