Ingrid Protacio's blog

AEC Response to Calgary Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra on the Issue of Taxes

AEC Senior Consultant, John Smiley, has written a response to address specific tax issues that Calgary Ward 9 Alderman incumbent Gian-Carlo Carra has brought up in his campaign for re-election. As a participant in the assessment appeal “mini-industry” of which Mr. Carra speaks, John and AEC believe that we can offer another point of view for consideration, as John writes below. If you want more details or would like to respond to John, you can do so directly via email or at 403.456.0096.


An excellent piece on taxation in Calgary appears on the re-election website for Gian-Carlo Carra, the incumbent candidate for Ward 9 on Calgary’s City Council. It is the most thorough writing on the subject of assessment and taxation on any candidate’s website that I have seen. 

Mr. Carra states that “the appeals process is a source of significant problems for the City’s Assessors”, and that there is a “mini-industry of assessment lawyers who are the chief beneficiaries” of the complaints process. This perception is not only an incorrect understanding of the work that we as tax agents do, but seems to suggest that taxpayers should just “pay up and shut up” and stop bothering the assessors.

AEC Win: Molson Toronto Brewery

Great result for our long-time client, Molson -- the resolution of 10 years of taxation with estimated savings in excess of $3,000,000 for our client!

The AEC Industrial Team concluded another highly successful appeal, resulting in significant savings that exceeded our client's expectations. Rather than go straight to hearing, these appeals were scheduled into ADR (Alternate Dispute Resolution) with a Vice Chair of the Assessment Review Board presiding. 

The Molson Toronto Brewery is located on the corner of the 401 and the 427 highways and was originally constructed starting in 1959. Like many industrial plants, it was added on to and changed over the years. Richard Lo, Director of Industrial Team, worked with the Molson's Brewmaster and Design and Field Services Manager to design and cost a model replacement brewery. Charles Johnstone, Managing Director, and Don Davies, Senior Consultant, worked with the accounting and logistics people to quantify excess operating costs and abnormal deterioration not considered by MPAC. 

AEC Win: Edmonton East (Capilano) Shopping Centres

Congratulations on a fantastic win for Edmonton East (Capilano) Shopping Centre, and more importantly for the taxpayers of Alberta! It sets a great precedent by now limiting the right of the assessor to increase assessments that are within the context of an active complaint. Details can be downloaded here.

AEC Property Tax solutions, Canada’s largest privately-held property tax consulting firm and a representative for Edmonton East (Capilano) Shopping Centres Limited (Capilano), appealed an August 2, 2011 decision of the Composite Assessment Review Board (CARB) to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench. The appeal sought to cancel the CARB Decision under s.470 of the Municipal Government Act, R.S.A., C. M-26 (MGA) on the basis that the Decision was made without jurisdiction since the Board essentially considered a different assessment than the one complained of and because the Board effectively permitted the City of Edmonton (the City) to act as an appellant. 

AEC Supports Seneca College and the Future of Real Property Administration

On April 4, Bob Langlois, Managing Director and Vice-President, awarded this year's winner of Seneca College's Steve McLean Memorial Scholarship to Steven Eakins. It is a $1000 award given to a graduating student in the Real Property Administration or Real Property Administration Accelerated program with above average grades in all RPA courses. Preference is given to students demonstrating strong work ethic, meaningful contributions to the camaraderie and collegial nature of the class and involvement in extra-curricular activities.

Aside from being named after a well-loved and remembered AEC practitioner, this scholarship is of significance to AEC as it embodies the model of Unique Abilities in which we believe. As a strength-based organization, AEC believes that the balance of technical aptitude and the ability to build strong and enjoyable relationships with internal and external stakeholders is critical for any Real Estate valuation professional. This year's recipient Steven Eakins epitomizes this balance and we wish him all the best! Congratulations, Steven!

Fraser Institute Report: "The Compliance & Administrative Costs of Taxation in Canada 2013"

Last week, the Fraser Institute released a report on "The Compliance and Administrative Costs of Taxation in Canada 2013".

While the direct and explicit costs of taxes simply being the economic costs of the tax itself, there is a different cost to tax that maybe factor into the total effect of a tax on both taxpayers and taxcollectors, as summarized below:

The costs associated with complying with the tax code are almost always ignored in public policy debates. Compliance costs include the time required to collect and organize receipts, accounting and other professional fees, the time required to complete tax forms if professionals are not used, appeal costs if applicable, and the general costs of remitting returns. Similarly, the administrative costs incurred by governments to administer and collect taxes are often ignored. In both cases, one explanation of this is the lack of quantitative estimates of these costs. This study will facilitate taking these costs into account.

The research astutely attempts to quantify and qualify these "hidden" costs. You can download the whitepaper here.

BC Assessment Commercial Property Values – Average Percent Change by City

If you own or occupy commercial property in British Columbia, it is of immense interest to you what percent changes can be seen across various cities in British Columbia. This provides you a starting point for comparing your recent assessments. We have summarized the averages for various cities below, as reported by the BC Assessment Authority. If you have a question …

  • - How are these averages calculated?
  • - What if I want to know about another BC city not listed below?
  • - Who can I ask to review my specific property as compared to these averages?
  •  

David Nishi-Beckingham who oversees AEC British Columbia will gladly discuss via email or directly at 604.629.4643.

Changes to commercial property assessments

Prince George

13.69%

Burnaby

Calgary Property Owners: ACP Update

AEC actively participated in the City of Calgary's Advance Consultation Period (ACP). It has provided us with an excellent opportunity to engage in the assessment process and to review the details of our clients' properties and businesses prior to the 2013 Assessment Rolls being finalized. As a courtesy to AEC, the City's Assessment Business Unit provided us with an updated list with some of the preliminary 2013 assessment values (reflective as of December 7) for non-residential property, multi-residential property and business premises whereby the value changed greater than 5% from the last preliminary 2013 assessment value that was communicated. If you are an AEC client and have any questions regarding these updated values, please contact Jill McKenna via email or directly at 403.265.0271 x315. Please find below communication from the City of Calgary on the 2013 Customer Review Period.

7 Things to Know about MPAC's Non-Residential Property Re-assessments

MPAC is in the final stages of preparing the 2012 CVA Assessment Notices to be mailed to property owners. You may have already received your notice for your home, while the industrial and commercial sectors are the next group to receive their notices.

AEC has been able to ascertain 7 facts about the updated values and re-assessment processes, which may help you as a taxpayer:

Bob Langlois to Speak at the 7th Annual Canadian Self-Storage Association Ontario Conference and Tradeshow

Bob Langlois, Managing Director, will be participating as a panelist in the Canadian Self-Storage Association's 7th Annual Ontario Conference and Tradeshow on Thursday, November 8, at the Delta Toronto East Hotel.

Along with Iqbal Khan, CFO of Access Storage and Chair of the CSSA's Ontario Property Tax Committee, Bob will be discussing the "Status of the Ontario Property Tax Project: Where We Currently Stand with MPAC". Bob will be providing insights into the pending re-assessment in Ontario, while also updating the attendees with respect to ongoing appeal matters regarding vacancy rebates for self-storage in Ontario. There will also be a very focused discussion on four previously heard appeals and future challenges as it relates to having the Assessment Review Board re-assessing decisions that went against the taxpayer.

Ontario Properties Receiving Re-assessment Notices to Determine Taxation for 2013 to 2016

Property Taxes represent the single largest controllable expense impacting commercial and industrial properties in Canada. In Ontario, the province-wide property tax reassessment occurring in 2012 for the taxation years 2013 to 2016 will affect all non-residential properties. MPAC has started mailing out over 5,000,000 property assessments notices (September 13 to November 16). This assessment is based on the Jan 1, 2012 valuation date and is effective for the 4 years (property taxes for 2013 to 2016). It is important to note that market increases between 2008 to 2012 will be phased in and decreases will be applied immediately. Key dates are:

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