Successful CVA appeals 'encouraging'

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Historically, good experiences with MPAC (the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) have been rare for most Flamborough residents, but there are signs that changes are afoot.

One Carlisle area man, for example, believed the company assessed his property beyond its worth and launched an appeal. MPAC responded by reducing the Current Value Assessment (CVA) on his home by a whopping $100,000.

Flamborough councillor Margaret McCarthy, who helped the man by providing him with information about filing the appeal, was elated with the news.

"We seem to be making some headway," she said. "We're seeing results."

McCarthy noted that MPAC, the corporation charged with the responsibility of assessing properties across Ontario for property tax purposes, reduced assessments in 52 per cent of the requests for reconsideration filed by residents across Ontario two years ago (the year of the last full assessment). To date this year, City of Hamilton residents (including those living in Flamborough) have filed about 1,390 requests for reconsideration, David Baulcomb, municipal relations representative for Hamilton's MPAC office, said Tuesday. Just over 1,000 have been reviewed and of those, 40 per cent have had some kind of adjustment, he added.

Residents have until the end of next year to file requests for reconsideration of their assessments. Altogether, Hamilton has 157,000 properties that are assessed by MPAC.

Shortly after assessments were mailed out this fall, MPAC came under fire because of repeated complaints from homeowners and municipalities about the organization's alleged lack of transparency and integrity. The complaints led to an ongoing investigation by the Ontario Ombudsman. Since launching the investigation in October, the Ombudsman's office has received over 1,500 complaints about assessments.

MPAC has been harshly criticized by Flamborough residents and politicians over the past few years because assessments have hit area homeowners particularly hard, pushing property taxes through the roof.

Three weeks ago at a meeting in Millgrove, local de-amalgamation supporters with the Committee to Free Flamborough urged the capacity crowd to appeal their assessments to help bring an end to what they see as disproportionate taxation. The group also called for a five-year freeze on property taxes in Flamborough.

McCarthy, who has battled MPAC for the past several years, was pleased to get a "thank you" letter from the Carlisle area homeowner not only because his efforts were rewarded, but also because his success signals hope for others who are appealing their assessments.

"It's encouraging news for people wondering if there is any point (in filing an appeal)," she said.

McCarthy said her advice to homeowners who feel their homes have been over-assessed is to file a request for reconsideration and follow that up by sending a formal letter of appeal to MPAC. Homeowners should substantiate their appeal by checking realtor prices and finding out the average sale price of houses in their area, she recommended.

While the positive result achieved by the Carlisle area homeowner is gratifying, McCarthy said she's still "holding her breath" when it comes to news from MPAC. She welcomes the Ombudsman's probe of the corporation and looks forward to its results which are expected early next year.

Homeowners can also take heart that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is seeking to reform the property tax process.

Tasha Kheiriddin, Ontario director of the Federation, would like to see the CVA system of taxation scrapped and replaced with a process that bases assessment value on a home's purchase price.

The group is calling on the Ontario government to freeze assessments at 2003 levels until a new, more equitable tax system is in place.

Anyone wanting to support the cause can visit the CTF's website at www.taxpayer.com where they can add their name to a petition asking for a moratorium on assessment values.

Successful CVA appeals 'encouraging'

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Historically, good experiences with MPAC (the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) have been rare for most Flamborough residents, but there are signs that changes are afoot.

One Carlisle area man, for example, believed the company assessed his property beyond its worth and launched an appeal. MPAC responded by reducing the Current Value Assessment (CVA) on his home by a whopping $100,000.

Flamborough councillor Margaret McCarthy, who helped the man by providing him with information about filing the appeal, was elated with the news.

"We seem to be making some headway," she said. "We're seeing results."

McCarthy noted that MPAC, the corporation charged with the responsibility of assessing properties across Ontario for property tax purposes, reduced assessments in 52 per cent of the requests for reconsideration filed by residents across Ontario two years ago (the year of the last full assessment). To date this year, City of Hamilton residents (including those living in Flamborough) have filed about 1,390 requests for reconsideration, David Baulcomb, municipal relations representative for Hamilton's MPAC office, said Tuesday. Just over 1,000 have been reviewed and of those, 40 per cent have had some kind of adjustment, he added.

Residents have until the end of next year to file requests for reconsideration of their assessments. Altogether, Hamilton has 157,000 properties that are assessed by MPAC.

Shortly after assessments were mailed out this fall, MPAC came under fire because of repeated complaints from homeowners and municipalities about the organization's alleged lack of transparency and integrity. The complaints led to an ongoing investigation by the Ontario Ombudsman. Since launching the investigation in October, the Ombudsman's office has received over 1,500 complaints about assessments.

MPAC has been harshly criticized by Flamborough residents and politicians over the past few years because assessments have hit area homeowners particularly hard, pushing property taxes through the roof.

Three weeks ago at a meeting in Millgrove, local de-amalgamation supporters with the Committee to Free Flamborough urged the capacity crowd to appeal their assessments to help bring an end to what they see as disproportionate taxation. The group also called for a five-year freeze on property taxes in Flamborough.

McCarthy, who has battled MPAC for the past several years, was pleased to get a "thank you" letter from the Carlisle area homeowner not only because his efforts were rewarded, but also because his success signals hope for others who are appealing their assessments.

"It's encouraging news for people wondering if there is any point (in filing an appeal)," she said.

McCarthy said her advice to homeowners who feel their homes have been over-assessed is to file a request for reconsideration and follow that up by sending a formal letter of appeal to MPAC. Homeowners should substantiate their appeal by checking realtor prices and finding out the average sale price of houses in their area, she recommended.

While the positive result achieved by the Carlisle area homeowner is gratifying, McCarthy said she's still "holding her breath" when it comes to news from MPAC. She welcomes the Ombudsman's probe of the corporation and looks forward to its results which are expected early next year.

Homeowners can also take heart that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is seeking to reform the property tax process.

Tasha Kheiriddin, Ontario director of the Federation, would like to see the CVA system of taxation scrapped and replaced with a process that bases assessment value on a home's purchase price.

The group is calling on the Ontario government to freeze assessments at 2003 levels until a new, more equitable tax system is in place.

Anyone wanting to support the cause can visit the CTF's website at www.taxpayer.com where they can add their name to a petition asking for a moratorium on assessment values.

Successful CVA appeals 'encouraging'

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Historically, good experiences with MPAC (the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) have been rare for most Flamborough residents, but there are signs that changes are afoot.

One Carlisle area man, for example, believed the company assessed his property beyond its worth and launched an appeal. MPAC responded by reducing the Current Value Assessment (CVA) on his home by a whopping $100,000.

Flamborough councillor Margaret McCarthy, who helped the man by providing him with information about filing the appeal, was elated with the news.

"We seem to be making some headway," she said. "We're seeing results."

McCarthy noted that MPAC, the corporation charged with the responsibility of assessing properties across Ontario for property tax purposes, reduced assessments in 52 per cent of the requests for reconsideration filed by residents across Ontario two years ago (the year of the last full assessment). To date this year, City of Hamilton residents (including those living in Flamborough) have filed about 1,390 requests for reconsideration, David Baulcomb, municipal relations representative for Hamilton's MPAC office, said Tuesday. Just over 1,000 have been reviewed and of those, 40 per cent have had some kind of adjustment, he added.

Residents have until the end of next year to file requests for reconsideration of their assessments. Altogether, Hamilton has 157,000 properties that are assessed by MPAC.

Shortly after assessments were mailed out this fall, MPAC came under fire because of repeated complaints from homeowners and municipalities about the organization's alleged lack of transparency and integrity. The complaints led to an ongoing investigation by the Ontario Ombudsman. Since launching the investigation in October, the Ombudsman's office has received over 1,500 complaints about assessments.

MPAC has been harshly criticized by Flamborough residents and politicians over the past few years because assessments have hit area homeowners particularly hard, pushing property taxes through the roof.

Three weeks ago at a meeting in Millgrove, local de-amalgamation supporters with the Committee to Free Flamborough urged the capacity crowd to appeal their assessments to help bring an end to what they see as disproportionate taxation. The group also called for a five-year freeze on property taxes in Flamborough.

McCarthy, who has battled MPAC for the past several years, was pleased to get a "thank you" letter from the Carlisle area homeowner not only because his efforts were rewarded, but also because his success signals hope for others who are appealing their assessments.

"It's encouraging news for people wondering if there is any point (in filing an appeal)," she said.

McCarthy said her advice to homeowners who feel their homes have been over-assessed is to file a request for reconsideration and follow that up by sending a formal letter of appeal to MPAC. Homeowners should substantiate their appeal by checking realtor prices and finding out the average sale price of houses in their area, she recommended.

While the positive result achieved by the Carlisle area homeowner is gratifying, McCarthy said she's still "holding her breath" when it comes to news from MPAC. She welcomes the Ombudsman's probe of the corporation and looks forward to its results which are expected early next year.

Homeowners can also take heart that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is seeking to reform the property tax process.

Tasha Kheiriddin, Ontario director of the Federation, would like to see the CVA system of taxation scrapped and replaced with a process that bases assessment value on a home's purchase price.

The group is calling on the Ontario government to freeze assessments at 2003 levels until a new, more equitable tax system is in place.

Anyone wanting to support the cause can visit the CTF's website at www.taxpayer.com where they can add their name to a petition asking for a moratorium on assessment values.