By James Matthew
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Property assessments don’t determine the amount of taxes to be paid by the owner to the municipality of Highlands East.
Sarah Groves, an account manager at the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, explained the corporation’s role during town council’s regular meeting Mar. 14.
“Municipal relationships are a priority at MPAC,” said Groves. “And, because of that, we continue to focus on elevating the municipal and property owner experience.”
The assessments and the property tax system generate about $30-billion in tax revenue annually.
The process is made up of four key players: The provincial Ministry of Finance, MPAC, individual municipalities, and the property owners.
She said it’s crucial to maintain Ontario’s property database.
“Property data is continuously updated so that municipal records are accurate when our municipal stakeholders are making important tax decisions,” Groves said.
The most recent assessment updates were completed in January 2016. The coronavirus pandemic postponed the 2020 assessment update.
“Regular re-evaluation of properties ensures that assessments stay up to date and similar properties of similar value in the same municipality pay similar property taxes,” she said.
The sooner MPAC delivers assessments, the faster municipalities realize new revenue.
“Assessments distribute taxes,” Groves said. “They do not determine the taxes paid.”
When a provincewide assessment update occurs, the most important factor is not how the assessed value of a property has changed. Rather, how the assessed value has changed relative to the average change in the class in that community.
Deputy Mayor Cecil Ryall’s property is assessed at $240,000. The replacement value of his home is $400,000 with the resale value being $600,000.
“I’m concerned about the fact that, when it does go to $600,000, and yes there’s going to be redistribution, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that my property taxes are going to double or triple, but it will require an adjustment of some way, shape, or form,” Ryall said.
He hopes the adjustment won’t happen all in one year.
Groves said the corporation is waiting for the province’s decision on when the next assessment update will take place. And Queen’s Park can then decide whether or not to continue with the four-year phase-in, she said.
“If they do stay at the four-year phase-in, … you’re going to see incremental increase over four years,” she said.
By James Matthew