Ontario residential property taxpayers will see average assessment increase of approximately five per cent in 2009



    
    Market increases in values since 2005 will be phased in over the next
    four years with new provincial policy as mailing of Property Assessment
    Notices for Ontario's nearly 4.7 million properties begins
    

    PICKERING, ON, Sept. 17 /CNW/ - Ontario property taxpayers will see an
average assessment increase of five per cent in 2009 with a four-year phase-in
introduced by the Provincial Government to add stability and predictability to
the assessment process.
    "Residential property values have increased by an average of
approximately 20 per cent across Ontario since 2005, when the last assessment
update was done. Because of the four-year phase-in, property taxpayers will
see an average assessment increase of five per cent next year," Carl Isenburg,
President and Chief Administrative Officer of the Municipal Property
Assessment Corporation (MPAC), said.
    An increase in assessment does not necessarily mean an increase in
property taxes. If the assessed value of a home has increased by the same
percentage as the average in the municipality, there might be no increase in
the property taxes paid by a property taxpayer.
    The phase-in program does not apply to decreases in assessed value. The
full amount of a decrease will be applied during the 2009 tax year.
    "Our values are based on actual sales and trends in real estate markets
across the province," Isenburg said.
    Municipalities establish tax rates that are applied to assessed values to
pay for local services and the Provincial Government sets rates for the
education portion of the tax.
    Property Assessment Notices will begin arriving in the homes of property
taxpayers this week.
    "We have made a number of changes to improve customer service and to
provide property taxpayers with more information so they can decide if their
assessment is accurate," Isenburg said. The changes include:

    
    -  Redesigning the Property Assessment Notice to make it easier to
       understand and provide more information, including the assessed value
       of a property for each of the next four tax years; and
    -  Online videos explaining how MPAC assesses property and how to resolve
       assessment concerns on the MPAC website at www.mpac.ca.
    

    "MPAC's role is to assess property accurately. If we don't have the right
information about a property or if a property taxpayer feels that his or her
property would not have sold for its assessed value as of January 1, 2008, we
want them to call us. If a mistake has been made, we'll fix it," Isenburg
said.
    Hours will be extended at each of MPAC's 33 local offices across the
province during the Notice mailing period this fall, as was done in 2005.
Property taxpayers can also call MPAC's Customer Contact Centre, which can be
reached toll-free at 1 866 296-MPAC (6722).
    "We have almost 500 customer service representatives across the province
who will be available to answer questions or deal with concerns," Isenburg
said, adding:
    "We strive for accuracy, but when you assess nearly 4.7 million
properties, errors can be made. If any property taxpayer has a question or
concern, we want them to call us or visit one of our local offices. We are
committed to working with property taxpayers to make sure that their
assessment is correct."

    MPAC (www.mpac.ca) is a not-for-profit corporation funded by all Ontario
municipalities. MPAC is responsible for administering a uniform, province-wide
property assessment system based on current values. It provides a range of
services, including the preparation of annual assessment rolls for use by
municipalities and the Province of Ontario to calculate property taxes and
education taxes. Municipal enumerations are also conducted by MPAC in order to
prepare a Preliminary List of Electors for each municipality and school board
during an election year.

    MPAC has 33 local offices located across Ontario. Its head office is
located in Pickering.

    
                     The New Property Assessment Notice

                           Background Information

    -  The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) has improved the
       2008 Property Assessment Notice to make it easier to read and
       understand. This year's Property Assessment Notice will include:

         -  The assessed value of the property for each of the next four tax
            years;

         -  The percentage by which the property has increased or decreased
            in value since the last assessment update in 2005 and the average
            percentage by which properties across the municipality have
            changed in value. If the assessed value of the property has
            changed by the same or a lower percentage than values in the
            municipality as a whole, property taxes may not increase;

         -  A history of past adjustments, if any, made by MPAC through the
            Request for Reconsideration process or the Assessment Review
            Board to the assessed value of the property and whether these are
            reflected in the current assessment;

         -  Details about the property including lot size, square footage,
            and year of construction used by MPAC to help determine the
            assessed value of a property;

         -  A User ID and Password that can be used to access
            AboutMyProperty(TM);

         -  The address of the nearest MPAC local office where questions can
            be answered and concerns addressed in person; and

         -  The toll-free phone number for MPAC's Customer Contact Centre.

    -  Property Assessment Notices will be mailed for Ontario's nearly
       4.7 million properties in 2008.

    -  Mailed with the Property Assessment Notice will be:

       -  A brochure explaining how property owners can determine if their
          assessment is accurate and, if they feel it is not, what options
          are available to have it corrected; and

       -  A brochure describing the new Ontario Senior Homeowners' Property
          Tax Grant to help eligible senior homeowners with low and moderate
          incomes pay their property taxes.

    -  An interactive Property Assessment Notice with details on each section
       has been posted on the MPAC website at www.mpac.ca
    

    Note to Editors: MPAC (www.mpac.ca) is a not-for-profit corporation
funded by all Ontario municipalities. MPAC is responsible for administering a
uniform, province-wide property assessment system based on current values. It
provides a range of services, including the preparation of annual assessment
rolls for use by municipalities and the Province of Ontario to calculate
property taxes and education taxes. Municipal enumerations are also conducted
by MPAC in order to prepare a Preliminary List of Electors for each
municipality and school board during an election year.

    MPAC has 33 local offices located across Ontario. Its head office is
located in Pickering.





For further information:

For further information: Michael Jacoby, Director, Communications,
Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, (905) 837-4209


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