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MUNICIPAL FINANCE - Taxation - Real or immovable property assessment - Appeals - Tribunals - Courts

Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 8:31 AM  


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Appeal by the City of Prince Albert (City) from a decision of the Assessment Appeals Committee of the Saskatchewan Municipal Board (Committee) which determined that its decision in another matter did not apply to the respondent’s property tax assessment. The respondent property owner appealed its 2014 municipal tax assessment to the Board of Revision (Board). The Board had allowed almost identical appeals from another group of taxpayers with respect to their 2013 property tax assessments. The Board allowed the appeals and reduced the market adjustment factor (MAF) used to calculate the respondent’s municipal tax assessments. The City appealed to the Committee. Before the appeal was heard, the Committee overturned the Board’s decision relating to the other group’s 2013 assessment appeal. Thereafter, the City withdrew its appeal in the belief that the Committee’s decision on the other 2013 appeal applied to the 2014 assessments of both the respondent and the other taxpayer group. The respondent requested a ruling from the Committee pursuant to s. 227 of The Cities Act (Act) as to whether the Committee’s decision related to the other taxpayer group would apply to its 2014 property tax assessments. The Committee concluded that its decision in the other matter did not apply to the respondent’s property tax assessment because that decision related to property owned by different taxpayers. It also found that the City could not reinstate its appeal and therefore the Board’s decision governed the respondent’s 2014 property tax assessments. The City was granted leave to appeal on the question of whether the Committee had erred in its interpretation or application of ss. 217(6) or 227(1) of the Act.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. Section 227 of the Act was meant to provide a mechanism by which appeal decisions of the Board and the Committee could be applied to a subsequent assessment without the need for a further appeal. Property owners had an annual right of appeal, which would be rendered meaningless if the outcome of one taxpayer’s appeal could be imposed on other property owners who were not parties to the appeal. Furthermore, the provision only applied to assessments, not appeals. Section 217(6) of the Act did not allow the City to reinstate its appeal. The City had withdrawn its appeal, which was not a procedural defect. As withdrawing the appeal did away with the substance of the appeal, s. 217(6) had no application.

Prince Albert (City) v. Prince Albert Co-op Assn. Ltd., [2017] S.J. No. 254, Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, G.R. Jackson, M.J. Herauf and J.A. Ryan-Froslie JJ.A., June 21, 2017. Digest No. TLD-August142017003