Welcome to Municipal District of Foothills No. 31

Assessment

Assessment Complaints

*New for 2016 Tax Year*
Within the newly adopted fee schedule (Bylaw 27/2016), and in accordance with Section 460 (1) of the Municipal Government Act, Council for the M.D. of Foothills required that the appropriate fee (as outlined below) accompany all complaints. Complaints filed without the appropriate fees are to be deemed invalid. 
Assessment Complaints

Category of Complaint                                                      Fee

Residential, 3 or fewer buildings and farm land           $50.00

Residential, 4 or more buildings                                      $650.00

Non-Residential                                                                  $650.00

Business Tax                                                                        $50.00

Forms

Assessment Review Board Complaint (pdf)
Application for Assessment Complaints Agent Authorization Form (pdf)
Assessment Withdrawal Agreement (pdf)
Assessment Notice Information (pdf)

The Assessment Review Board

The Government of Alberta introduced a single system of assessment complaints for the entire province starting in January, 2010. This means the complaint process has changed as a result of amendments to the Municipal Government Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. M-26 and Matters Relating to Assessment Complaints Regulation AR 310/09.

Highlights of the Legislation

There is a 60 day time period between the mailing of your assessment notice and the date complaints are due. If you believe that your assessment is unfair or contains an error, you are encouraged to arrange an informal meeting with your assessor prior to filing your complaint. Assessors may able to make adjustments to your assessment based upon additional information.
Complaint forms and agent authorization forms must be used and filled out completely.

  • Timelines have been created for scheduling of hearings and disclosure requirements. These requirements relate to complainants and the responding Municipality alike.
  • Decision requirements of both the Local Assessment Review Board and the Composite Assessment Review Board are specifically set within Provincial regulation at Municipal Affairs - Property Assessment and Taxation .
  • The Composite Assessment Review Board can award costs in certain circumstances.
  • Appeals of decisions of both boards are now only to the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench. There is no longer a right to appeal to the Municipal Government Board.
  • We strongly recommend those individuals filing complaints consult the appropriate legislation and review all the information.

What's the purpose of the Assessment Review Board?

Assessment Review Boards hear complaints on assessments to ensure that assessments are fair and equitable in relation to assessments on other, similar properties in the municipality. The Board then directs any necessary amendments to be made to the assessment roll.

A Local Assessment Review Board (LARB) has been created to hear matters that are shown on an assessment notice for residential property with 3 or fewer dwelling units, farmland, or a tax notice other than a property tax notice.

A Composite Assessment Review Board (CARB) has been created to hear all other matters.

Who sits on the Board?

The Local Assessment Review Board (LARB) is composed of trained local members that are appointed by Council. The Composite Assessment Review Board (CARB) is composed of two trained local members and one provincially approved member who will be the presiding officer. This board will hear complaints about assessments for all property in the municipality, excluding residential properties with three or less dwelling units and farm land. (unless subject to the jurisdiction of the Municipal Government Board).

If a property is used or designated for multiple purposes in circumstances where both a Local Assessment Review board and a Composite Assessment Review Board have jurisdiction to hear a complaint with respect to property, the complaint must be heard by the composite assessment review board.

One-member Local and Composite Assessment Review Boards will hear complaints about matters other than an assessment (ie: procedural matters such as scheduling, adjournment, disclosure of evidence and/or administrative matters such as invalid complaints).

On what grounds may I make a complaint?

A complaint to the assessment review board may be about any of the following matters shown on an assessment notice:

  • The description of the property or business
  • The name or mailing address of an assessed person or taxpayer
  • An assessment amount
  • An assessment class
  • An assessment sub-class
  • The type of property
  • The type of improvement
  • School support
  • Whether the property or business is assessable
  • Whether the property or business is exempt from taxation

There is no right to make a complaint about any tax rate. A complaint must explain why the complainant thinks that information shown on an assessment or tax notice is incorrect. The complaint must be filed in writing using the prescribed form in schedule 1 of Matters Relating to Assessment Complaints Regulation (MRACR) and must be accompanied with the required fee as set by Council under section 481(1) of the Municipal Government Act.

What are the procedures during the hearing?

At the hearing - the following is a typical sequence of events at an assessment review board hearing:

  • The hearing is called to order and board members are introduced.
  • The clerk reads the assessment complaint.
  • You and the assessor introduce yourselves.
  • The presiding officer outlines the hearing process.
  • You and the assessor summarize your presentations.
  • You present your case.
  • The assessor and board members may ask you questions.
  • The assessor presents his or her case.
  • You and the board members may ask questions.
  • You may offer evidence regarding the assessor's case.
  • You summarize your case and state your argument.
  • The assessor summarizes his or her case and states an argument.
  • The board considers the information presented.
  • You will be provided with the board's decision in writing within 30 days of the hearing.

Filing, a property assessment complaint and preparing for your hearing. 

Are there any guidelines on how to present my complaint?

When you decide to present your case, be sure to follow these standard rules of conduct:

  • Remember to address the Board through the Chairperson
  • Always wait for the Chair to recognize you before you speak.

When preparing your case, keep in mind the limits of the ARB's responsibility:

  • An ARB's purpose is to determine whether or not the assessed value of your property is fair in relation to the assessments of other similar properties. It has no power to make decisions concerning taxation or level of services.
  • An ARB has no power to act on complaints about changes in assessed values from previous years.
  • Remember that an ARB's role is to determine if the assessed value bears a fair and just relationship to the values of similar or neighboring properties.
  • If possible, present recent sales evidence of local properties similar to your own which will support your case. (Sales should have been made on the open market rather than between relatives or associated companies. "Forced transactions" have little value as evidence.)
  • You may wish to provide photographs of your property and other properties that you are using as comparison. Photographs are a great help and provide valuable support for verbal descriptions.
  • Be as clear and logical as possible.

May I appoint an agent to act on my behalf--or call a witness?

You may appoint an agent to present your complaint as long as he has written authorization from you. And yes - you or your agent may arrange for witnesses to appear on your behalf.

What will happen if I don't appear at the ARB hearing? The ARB may hear the case, but they are not required to do so. The ARB also has the authority to compel an appellant to attend the hearing.

Tell me about the Decisions of the ARB.

An assessment review board may make any of the following decisions:

  • Dismiss the complaint if it was not made within the proper time.
  • Dismiss the complaint if you have not explained why you think information in the assessment or tax notice is incorrect or unfair.
  • Change the following: the assessment, the description of your property or business, the name and mailing address on the assessment notice, an assessment class, an assessment subclass, the type of property, the type of improvement, the school support, whether the property is assessable, whether the business or property is exempt from taxation.
  • Decide that no change is required.

You may appeal the decision of the assessment review board to the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta.

Appealing to the Court of Queen's Bench

If you believe that the assessment review board made an error in its decision, you may file an appeal with the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta. You have 30 days from the date you receive the written decision of the assessment review board to file your application.

Note: You cannot appeal the decision of an assessment review board simply because you do not agree with the decision. An appeal can only be made if you believe that the board made an error on a question of law or jurisdiction.

A question of law is generally defined as a question to be decided, ultimately by a judge, concerning the application or interpretation of the law. Jurisdiction is the general power or authority to decide an issue.

Appeal process

In order to have the Court of Queen's Bench (the court) hear an appeal of an assessment review board decision, the appellant must first file an application for "Leave to Appeal" with the court. In your application you will need to clearly demonstrate that an error on a question of law or jurisdiction has been made by the board. Your application should include the written decision of the board and any supporting evidence that relates to the error on a question of law or jurisdiction. You can make a written request for materials from the board for the purposes of the application. The assessment review board has 14 days in which to provide you with this information.

Disclaimer: This information is provided as a courtesy only. If you need specific advice, please consult the appropriate legislation or seek legal counsel.

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If you have further questions about the Assessment Review Board, phone or write your Municipal office for the answers!

This is provided as information only and has no legislative sanction. For certainty, consult the Municipal Government Act and other related statutes and regulations at Municipal Affairs: Property Assessment and Taxation.

Filing A Complaint

What should I do before filing a complaint?
Should I still pay my taxes?
How do I file a complaint?
Where can I get a complaint form?
What is the deadline for filing an appeal?
What happens if my complaint is received after the deadline?
What happens after I file a complaint?
How do I prepare for a hearing?

Filing a property assessment complaint and preparing for your hearing. pdf

What should I do before filing a complaint?

Contact an assessor to get more information on how your assessment was determined, or to compare your assessment with similar properties. The assessor may issue an amended notice. If there is still disagreement with the assessed value or classification after your meeting, you may file a complaint with the Assessment Review Board. Complaints must be filed on or before the date specified on your assessment notice.

The Assessment Department can be contacted by email or by phone at 403-652-2341.

Back to Filing a Complaint

Should I still pay my taxes?

You must pay your taxes before the deadline to avoid being charged late payment penalties, even if you file a complaint. If the Assessment Review Board alters your assessment, the Municipality will adjust your tax account.

Back to Filing a Complaint

How do I file a complaint?

Complaints must be filed in writing using the prescribed form in schedule 1 of Matters Relating to Assessment Complaints Regulation (MRACR) and must be accompanied with the required fee as set by Council under section 481(1) of the Municipal Government Act.

The reasons for filing a complaint must accompany the complaint form. The complainant must:

  • Indicate what information shown on the assessment notice or tax notice is incorrect,
  • Explain in what respect that information is incorrect,
  • Indicate what the correct information is, and
  • Identify the requested assessed value, if the complaint relates to an assessment.

Your completed complaint form and required fee, agent authorization form, attachments (if any) must be received no later that 4:30 p.m. on the deadline date (as indicated on your assessment notice) at the following address:

Clerk of the Assessment Review Board
309 Macleod Trail South
Box 5605
High River, AB T1V 1M7

Back to Filing a Complaint

Where can I get a complaint form?

Complaint forms are available at the Municipal District of Foothills, 309 Macleod Trail South, by phone at 403-652-2341 or online here.

Back to Filing a Complaint

What is the deadline for filing an appeal?

You must file your complaint by end of day on the complaint deadline specified on the assessment notice you are filing a complaint against.

Back to Filing a Complaint

What happens if my complaint is received after the deadline?

A preliminary hearing will be scheduled to allow the Assessment Review Board to determine if the complaint was:

  • Received by the clerk of the Assessment Review Board after the deadline specified on your assessment notice,
  • Incompletely or incorrectly filled out,
  • Accompanied by the required fee.
     

The Assessment Review Board has no jurisdiction to extend a complaint deadline for any reason.

Back to Filing a Complaint

What happens after I file a complaint?

If you have filed your complaint form on time, and in compliance with all applicable requirements of the Municipal Government Act and MRACR (Matters Relating to Assessment Complaints Regulation), a hearing will be scheduled for your complaint. You and the assessor will receive notice of the hearing date.

Back to Filing a Complaint

How do I prepare for a hearing?

Preparation for a hearing should begin as soon as you consider filing a complaint. Some ways of preparing for a hearing include:

Do research to find out if the assessed value is comparable to similar properties in similar areas. Your assessment should reflect what your house may have sold for on an open market July 1 last year.

Review the rules that apply to your complaint. They are set out in the Municipal Government Act and Matters Relating to Assessment Complaints Regulation.

Prepare your submissions:

  • Disclosure of evidence must take place between the complainant, the respondent and the Assessment Review Board. The documentary evidence is a summary of the testimonial evidence and any written argument that the complainant or the respondent intends to present at the hearing. It is submitted prior to the hearing and in accordance with the Municipal Government Act and the Matters Relating to Assessment Complaints Regulation. (see disclosure of documents).
  • Evidence is presented to the Board and the other parties at the time of the hearing. Your evidence may include documentary evidence supporting your claim (such as purchase agreements, comparables, lease agreements, appraisals, photos) as well as a written argument. You should have six copies of your documents available (one for you, one for Board administration, one for each of the three Board members, and one for the respondent).

Please note that you (the complainant) must present sufficient evidence to convince the Assessment Review Board that an assessment is incorrect or unfair and inequitable with assessments of similar properties.

Disclosure of Documents

Disclosure of evidence must take place between the complainant, respondent and the Assessment Review Boards. The documentary evidence is a summary of the testimonial evidence and any written argument that the complainant or the respondent intends to present at the hearing. The Municipal Government Act and Matters Relating to Assessment Complaints Regulation (MRACR) provides rules for the disclosure of documents and the exchange of information between the parties.

  • Timelines for Disclosure of Evidence
  • What to Disclose
  • Failing to Disclose
  • Abridgement or Expansion of Time

Timelines for Disclosure of Evidence

  Complainant Disclosure Respondent Disclosure Complainant Rebuttal
*LARB MRACR
Section 4(2)
at least 21 days before the hearing date at least 7 days before the hearing date at least 3 days before the hearing date
**CARB MRACR
Section 8(2)
at least 42 days before the hearing date at least 14 days before the hearing date at least 7 days before the hearing date
one-member
*LARB MRACR
Section 33(2)
at least 7 days before the hearing date at least 7 days before the hearing date  
one-member
**CARB MRACR
Section 39(2)
at least 7 days before the hearing date at least 7 days before the hearing date  

*Local Assessment Review Board hears matters shown on assessment notice for residential property with 3 or less dwellings, farmland or tax notices other than property tax.
**Composite Assessment Review Board hears all other matters.

What to Disclose

The complainant must disclose to both the respondent and the Assessment Review Board:

  • The documentary evidence
  • A summary of testimonial evidence, including any signed witness reports
  • Any written argument that the party intends to present at the hearing in sufficient detail to allow the respondent to respond to or rebut the evidence at the hearing

Failing to Disclose

The disclosure of evidence must be submitted prior to the hearing. The Assessment Review Boards cannot:

  • Hear any matter in support of issue not identified on complaint form
  • Hear any evidence that has not been properly disclosed
  • Hear any evidence relating to information requested but not provided to the other party

Abridgement or Expansion of Time

The Assessment Review Boards may at any time, with the consent of all parties:

  • Abridge (shorten) hearing and disclosure notices
  • Expand disclosure timelines or abridge disclosure timelines

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Hearing Process and Decisions

Postponement and Adjournment
At the Hearing
Attendance
Decisions

Postponement and Adjournment

The Assessment Review Boards may consider a postponement or adjournment request prior to the hearing. The request must be in writing and include the following:

  • Tax roll number
  • Daytime phone/fax numbers
  • Detailed reasons
  • Hearing dates being requested
  • Dates when you are unavailable to attend a hearing
  • Signed consent of the other parties

If granted, a new hearing will be scheduled and all parties notified.

If denied, the hearing will proceed as scheduled.

If the other parties do not consent to the rescheduling request, then the request can only be made at the beginning of your scheduled hearing. If the rescheduling request is denied, the hearing will proceed.

At the Hearing

Please take a seat in the waiting area outside of Chambers upon your arrival.

When the Board is ready to proceed, the assessment review board clerk will escort the parties into the hearing room. The Presiding Officer of the Board will then give an overview of the process and asks the parties if there are any preliminary matters.

The complainant may then present his/her properly disclosed evidence. The respondent may cross-examine the complainant and any witnesses. It is then up to the respondent to present his/her properly disclosed evidence. Once again, the other party (the complainant) may cross-examine. The Board may ask questions at any time.

Once the evidence has been presented, both the complainant and the respondent may make their final arguments.

Attendance

Attendance is not mandatory. It is recommended, however, as you may wish to cross-examine witnesses and respond to arguments or objections made.

Instead of attending, you may file a written presentation with the Clerk of the Assessment Review Board. You must also provide the other parties with a copy of your presentation. Written presentations for LARB must be received at least 3 days before the hearing. Written presentations for CARB must be received at least 7 days before the hearing. For rules regarding the disclosure of documents and information between the parties to complaints and appeals refer to the Municipal Government Act Section 463.

Decisions

For the purposes of section 468 of the Municipal Government Act, a decision of an assessment review board must be made 30 days from the last day of the hearing or before the end of the taxation year, whichever is earlier. The decision must include:

  • A brief summary of the matter or issues contained on the complaint form,
  • The board's decision in respect of each matter or issue,
  • The reasons for the decision, including any dissenting reasons, and
  • Any procedural or jurisdictional matters that arose during the hearing, and the board's decision in respect of those matters.

The clerk of the Composite Assessment Review Board (CARB) must, within 7 days of a composite assessment review board rendering a decision, provide the Minister with a copy of that decision.

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