If you have been receiving huge tax bills in the mail and you’re wondering, ‘how do I lower my property taxes?’, don’t worry, because there is hope for you. You can actually appeal the value that has been assigned to your property, have it reassessed and ultimately reduce your tax burden. However, to do this, you will have to prove that your property is actually worth less than the assessed value, and this can be done by either contacting a qualified real estate agent or doing comprehensive research online.
How to Lower Property Taxes in Ontario
The taxes you pay on your property are based on that property’s assessment value. However, if you feel that your property has been unfairly assessed and is overvalued, you can appeal the assessment in order to lower your taxes. However, this process can be quite challenging and overwhelming and that is why you might need the help of qualified property tax consultants. Below are some of the steps you can take if you want to successfully reduce your property tax:
- Checking For Fairness in the Assessment
Property taxes are actually a product of the local tax rate multiplied by that property’s assessed value. Even though you cannot change the applicable tax rates, you can argue that the property was over-assessed. You can do this by checking the assessment report, which is basically the computerized estimate of that property’s selling price. If similar properties in the vicinity cost less than your property’s valuation, you could actually use that as evidence for over-assessment.
- Fixing Factual Errors
Property assessments are usually carried out by either municipalities or provincial agencies. If you have spotted any factual errors on your assessment, you can get that fixed by just calling the assessor. For instance, if the assessment report claims that there is a two-car garage on your property when there is none, you can ask them to fix the error. However, if there are no clear-cut mistakes and yet you think you have been over-assessed, then you will have to appeal your assessment officially.
- Preparing Your Case
If you live in a unique house with unusual features or in a pricier neighbourhood, chances of winning your appeal are much higher, since the computer always has problems valuing such properties. For instance, a smaller or older house in a high-end neighbourhood or in close proximity to a school, railway or busy road can provide you with a stronger case for appeal. You should also find comparable homes in your local area that sold for much less than your property’s assessed value close to the assessment date.
If your case was not considered legitimate by the assessor, the good news is that you can file another appeal with the Assessment Review Board and if the outcome does not seem pleasing, you can still escalate the matter to a court of law. If you have substantial evidence, you will have higher chances of the case going in your favour. If you are tired of huge tax bills year in year out and you are wondering, ‘Is it possible for the assessor to reassess my property taxes?’, then it may be time for you to get a qualified tax consultant to help you file an appeal.