Ontario to mail out new property assessments after next provincial election, sources say

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The Ontario government plans to further delay releasing the provincewide property assessments – on which property taxes are based – until after the June provincial election, municipal sources involved in the government consultation told.

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Some municipal leaders are concerned that voters may find new assessments in the middle of next fall’s municipal elections. Home prices have increased dramatically — 50 percent or more in some parts of the province — since the last provincewide appraisal in 2016. Assessments are typically done every four years and mailed to homeowners starting in April, but were delayed in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The province’s plans are expected to be included in next month’s economic update as a direction for the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, or MPAC, the arm’s length agency that manages property assessments.

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An increase in the value of a home does not necessarily mean that a particular homeowner will pay more in property taxes, as tax bills also depend on how much the value increases or decreases in other neighborhoods in the municipality. The assessed value used to calculate property taxes is typically phased out over four years.

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The Ontario government’s March budget indicated it would consult on the property valuation process and then communicate its new direction this fall.

Ontario’s provincial election is in June, but it’s already campaign season

Two senior officials with two municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area say they learned through consultation that the province is proposing to mail 2022 property assessments to residents after the June 2 provincial election, but before the municipalities. Be on the ballot on October 24. The source said there are concerns in their mayors’ offices that the timing could lead to sticker shock in the midst of municipal campaigns, in which rising house prices could be a major issue. The Granthshala is not identifying the officials because they were not authorized to speak on the record.

Also, Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, who said he had heard assessments were coming in 2022 but did not know their exact timing, urged the provincial government to delay assessments to 2023 to avoid an election year. did.

“Listen, there’s no question that this will probably add a level of anxiety to people, at a time when a lot has been changing in all of our lives for the past 18 months,” Mr Vrbanovic said in an interview.

According to the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors, the median sale price of a detached home in Kitchener-Waterloo in September was $963,646, up 25 percent from a year earlier.

Mr Vrbanovic said the large increase in property values ​​over the past year meant that municipal employees needed more time to calculate tax rates and analyze numbers to plan cities’ budgets. .

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“Trying to rush it before an election, in the middle of an election or whatever, probably doesn’t make the most sense,” he said.

Emily Hogwein, a spokeswoman for Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvi, said no formal decision had been made about any direction to the MPAC. He said the government is reviewing property valuation and taxation and is seeking inputs from municipalities, taxpayers, industry and others on the “timing and valuation date for the next revaluation”. As outlined in the 2021 budget, it said plans would be unveiled this fall.

A spokesperson for MPAC said the agency maintains an inventory of all properties and maintains accounts for changes in their values.

“We are in a strong position to provide the next provincewide assessment update, whenever it can,” MPAC spokeswoman Paula Chung said in an e-mail.

The Union of Municipalities of Ontario would not comment on the timing of the next round of assessments, but said it would work with the provincial government and MPAC when the time comes.

“We are confident that the Ontario government understands that municipal governments have a pragmatic interest in running the MPAC’s property valuation updates smoothly,” AMO executive director Brian Roseborough said in a statement.

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