PROPERTY ASSESSMENT APPEAL BOARD

Appeal Guide


INTRODUCTION

Welcome to an overview of the Board’s appeal process. This Guide will assist you in preparing for your appeal.

The guidance in this document is general in nature and is not offered as legal or appraisal advice. Each appeal is unique - the details in this Guide will not apply to every appeal. You may also need to refer to the Legislation or Board Rules.

If you are not familiar with any term, please refer to the Assessment Terms.

You can also refer to Board Information Sheets which provide guidance on specific topics and are much shorter in length. There are also specific guides on:

Please contact the Board office if you have any difficulties in finding information or require personal assistance.

Navigation hints:

Select or click on topic in the Table of Contents that you are interested in and you will be transferred to that section. Throughout this Guide, there are links to Information Sheets, relevant legislation, Board Rules and other documents. You can go to these other documents by clicking on any text which is underlined and you can return to the Guide by using the “Back” navigation button on your internet browser.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Overview of the steps in an appeal

  1. What are all the steps in my appeal?
  2. Where can I obtain assistance with my appeal?
  3. Is my appeal confidential?

Filing your appeal

  1. When do I appeal my assessment?
  2. What if I did not file an appeal or was late in filing an appeal to the Property Assessment Review Panel?
  3. What if my appeal is late?
  4. How do I start an appeal to the Board?
  5. Who can appeal?
  6. What can I appeal and what can I not appeal?
  7. How long will my appeal take?

First steps and ways of settling your appeal

  1. What should I do after I send in my appeal?
  2. What happens at an Appeal Management Conference?
  3. What happens if I reach agreement with BC Assessment to settle the appeal?
  4. Can I discontinue my appeal?
  5. What other ways can we try and settle the appeal?

Next steps if the appeal is not settled

  1. What are the options if the appeal is not settled?
  2. Do I need to prepare anything to support my case?
  3. How does the written submission method work?
  4. What happens if a hearing is scheduled?
  5. When & how do I submit evidence?

Board’s decision and How to appeal the Board’s decision

  1. How does the Board make a decision?
  2. Will my appeal expenses be reimbursed?
  3. Can the Board change or reconsider its decision?
  4. How can I appeal the Board’s decision?

Overview of the steps in an appeal

1. What are all the steps in my appeal?

The diagram below outlines the main steps taken in most residential appeals. You can link to more details for each step by clicking on the appropriate box. More complex commercial and industrial appeals can take longer and involve more steps (such as, more than one teleconference and possibly a Settlement Conference).

appeal steps flowchart

2. Where can I obtain assistance with my appeal?

There are a number of resources you can use for assistance with your appeal. We recommend you start with this Guide to become familiar with the main steps and what preparation will assist you.

Your first decision is whether or not you will represent yourself or obtain assistance from another person or firm. While it is not necessary to hire a professional, you may decide it is to your advantage to do so. In more complex appeals, especially for commercial and industrial properties, the parties often hire appraisers or legal counsel to assist them. This decision is completely yours and the Board does not require parties to appoint representatives.

In addition to this Guide, we have prepared the following resources to assist you in preparing for your appeal. All the documents are on this website and you can link directly to them by clicking on the underlined link on the right side of the table.

Topic Assistance Document
Details on various stages an appeal Information Sheets
- teleconference during first stage of an appeal Appeal Management Conferences
- application to settle the appeal through changes Recommendations
- application to discontinue appeal Withdrawals
- written method of submitting your case Hearing by Written Submission
- in-person hearing In-person Hearings
- guidelines on evidence you can submit Evidence in a hearing
Residential & recreation properties How to Prepare for a Single Family Residential Assessment Appeal
Farm classification appeals Information on Farm Classification Appeals
Understanding terms Assessment Terms

In addition to this website, you may want to refer to the BC Assessment website which has a number of guideline documents. For residential properties, BC Assessment has a database on Assessments and Sales by Address.

You may also contact the Board for personal assistance at the office below. The Board will assign an Appeal Manager who is your key contact for questions and assistance on the next steps in your appeal.

Property Assessment Appeal Board Office:
10 – 10551 Shellbridge Way
Richmond, BC, V6X 2W9
Phone: 604 775-1740
Toll free phone: 1-888-775-1740
Fax: 604 775-1742
Toll free fax: 1-888-775-1742
Email: office@paab.bc.ca

Please note:

While the Board’s objective is to assist the parties in settling the appeal, the Board is ultimately responsible for making an impartial decision on the case if it is not settled. The Board must be careful to not provide preferential treatment to any one party whether he/she is a property owner or an employee of BC Assessment. The Board will assist you in understanding the various steps in your appeal and will point you to resources that may help in preparing your case.

In order to maintain the Board’s independence, it can not provide you with legal advice or help you to write your submissions if the appeal proceeds to the adjudication stage.

3. Is my appeal confidential?

No, appeals to the Property Assessment Appeal Board are not confidential.

Much of the appeal process is public. The Board posts on its website basic information on appeals, including the property address and name of person that filed the appeal. If your appeal is set to be decided by way of written submissions, these submissions are not confidential. If an in-person hearing is held, it is open to the public. Any person can ask the Board for copies of written submissions or evidence submitted for a hearing. The Board posts on its website all written decisions.

Some documents are not public (for example any documents you submit for settlement discussions in an Appeal Management Conference). These documents must, however, be shared with the other parties in the appeal. The public is not permitted to participate in the telephone Appeal Management Conferences or any other settlement discussions.

Please contact the Board if you would like to discuss any privacy concerns.

Filing your appeal

4. When do I appeal my assessment?

THE DEADLINE TO APPEAL TO THE BOARD IS APRIL 30.

In British Columbia, there are two levels of appeal. NOTE: This Board and website only deal with the second level of appeal.

You receive your Assessment Notice from BC Assessment at the beginning of January each year. If you disagree with your assessment you can file a complaint to the Property Assessment Review Panel by January 31st. The Review Panels will hold hearings between February and mid-March and issue a written Decision Notice by April 7.

If you disagree with the Review Panel’s decision, you can file an appeal to the Property Assessment Appeal Board no later than April 30th. Except in very limited circumstances, you must file an appeal to the Review Panel in order to be able to appeal to the Board. See what if I did not file an appeal or was late in filing an appeal to the Property Assessment Review Panel for more information.

You can file your appeal to the Board via mail, courier, personal delivery, fax, email or via this website. For more guidance, see: How do I start an appeal to the Board.

Since you can deliver your appeal via different methods, here are some more precise timelines for the April 30th deadline:

  • If you are mailing your appeal: it must be postmarked by Canada Post no later than April 30. If you are mailing your appeal close to the deadline, to be safe, we recommend you go into a Canada Post Office and request they postmark the envelope while you are there.
  • If you are couriering or delivering it personally: the appeal must be received at the Board’s office no later than 4:30 p.m. April 30. (This is because you will not be able to access the office after normal business hours.)
  • If you are emailing, faxing or sending your appeal electronically via the Board’s website, it must be completed and delivered to the Board by 12:00 midnight, April 30.
  • If April 30 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline is extended to the next business day.

Due to possible delays, WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO SEND IN YOUR APPEAL.

PLEASE BE AWARE:

You must send your appeal directly to the Board. It is not sufficient to send your appeal to BC Assessment or to the Property Assessment Review Panel. Since the Board is a separate and independent organization, delivery of your appeal to BC Assessment or the Review Panel can not be considered as proper delivery to the Board by the deadline.

5. What if I did not file an appeal or was late in filing an appeal to the Property Assessment Review Panel?

The Property Assessment Appeal Board is the second level of appeal. Usually the Board can not deal with your appeal if you have not first appealed to the Property Assessment Review Panel by their deadline of January 31st (e.g. by January 31, 2009 for the 2009 assessment).

Section 50(1.1) of the Assessment Act does allow for one exception only for the property’s owner. The Board may grant leave (or in other words “accept your appeal”) if we are satisfied there were circumstances beyond your control that resulted in you not filing your complaint to the Review Panel by the January 31st deadline.

If there is something you could have done to avoid missing the deadline, the Board will likely decide that the circumstance was within your control, and therefore will deny your application. For example, the Board would likely not be able to deal with your appeal if you missed the Review Panel’s deadline merely because you were busy or were out-of-town.

STEPS FOR LEAVE TO APPEAL:

  1. If you feel there were circumstances beyond your control, you can apply to the Board for leave to appeal. You may use the Board's Form 1B or simply write to us saying:
  • You wish to apply for leave to appeal under section 50(1.1) of the Assessment Act;
  • Describe the circumstances which caused you to miss the January 31st deadline;
  • Include any evidence or documents which might back up your description of the circumstances.

You should send us this application separately or with your notice of appeal by April 30th (see how do I start an appeal to the Board).

  1. The Board will need to decide whether or not the circumstances were beyond your control. We may request further information from you and BC Assessment.
  2. The Chair will issue a written decision indicating whether or not the Board has jurisdiction and can deal with your appeal.

6. What if my appeal is late?

The Board does not have the ability or power to extend the deadline for appeal. This deadline is firm and is stated in section 50(3) of the Assessment Act. If you miss the deadline the Board does not have jurisdiction to deal with your appeal. This is also the case if you miss the deadline due to technical problems with your fax or e-mail.

See the when do I appeal my assessment section for the detailed information on the deadline for appealing.

If your appeal is late, the Registrar will review the documentation and send you a letter with his/her opinion on whether or not the Board can deal with your appeal. If you disagree with the Registrar’s opinion, you can ask the Board to reconsider it. The Chair of the Board will then review the circumstances and the legislation and may seek further written input from you and BC Assessment. The Chair will issue a written decision indicating whether or not the Board has jurisdiction and can deal with your appeal. Please note, however, the Board’s inability to extend the deadline has been upheld through numerous past Board decisions and by the Courts. See Information Sheet #3 for more information on this reconsideration process.

7. How do I start an appeal to the Board?

You must file your appeal in writing to the Board by the April 30th deadline. There are three ways you can file your appeal:

  1. Electronically file through this website by clicking here.
  2. Complete the Assessment Appeal Form and send it to the Board office via mail, courier, personal delivery or fax (within Greater Vancouver: 604-775-1742 or toll free fax: 1-888-775-1742).
  3. Complete your own letter of appeal and send it to the Board office via mail, courier, personal delivery or fax. You MUST include:
  • The property address and roll number (or include a copy of the Review Panel Decision Notice);
  • Your name, a day time telephone number and fax number (if available);
  • Whether you are the owner of the property;
  • If you have an agent to act on your behalf, include the agent's name, address, telephone, fax and email;
  • Address for delivery of any appeal notices;
  • The grounds (or reasons) for your appeal.

Appeal fee:

You must include an appeal fee of $30.00 for each property you are appealing. If you are completing your appeal on-line through this website, you have the option to pay the fee with your credit card via a secure payment site. If you are sending in your appeal through one of the other options, you must include a cheque, payable to the “Minister of Finance”.

PLEASE BE AWARE:

You must send your appeal directly to the Board. It is not sufficient to send your appeal to BC Assessment or to the Property Assessment Review Panel. Since the Board is a separate and independent organization, delivery of your appeal to BC Assessment or the Review Panel can not be considered as proper delivery to the Board by the deadline.

8. Who can appeal?

Anyone, including a corporation, may appeal to the Board. Some owners are surprised to learn that it is possible for someone else to appeal their property – even though they do not have any ownership. Section 50(1) of the Assessment Act is the legislation that allows for this.

9. What can I appeal and what can I not appeal?

You can only appeal on the grounds (or reasons) that are laid out in section 32(1) of the Assessment Act. These grounds are:

  • the property assessment is too high or too low. Most properties must be assessed at their actual or market value as of July 1 in the year before the assessment (see section 18(1) of the Assessment Act). For example, for the 2008 assessment it should be assessed at what it would have sold for on July 1, 2007.

    Note: For the 2009 assessment, only, you are entitled to the lower of the value as of July 1, 2007 or July 1, 2008.

  • the classification of the property is incorrect. The Prescribed Classes of Property Regulation details how properties should be classified. The most common classifications are “residential” and “business and other”.
  • the property should receive an exemption.
  • the name of the person on the assessment roll is incorrect.
  • there is an error with respect to the land and/or the improvement. For example, sometimes there is a dispute on whether an asset should be considered an “improvement” as defined in the Assessment Act and be included in the assessment.

The Board only has jurisdiction to decide whether your assessment is correct. It can not help you if you only disagree with the amount of property taxes charged, or the level of services provided by your local government.

10. How long will my appeal take?

(a) If you reach an agreement to settle:

Your appeal will be completed much quicker if you reach an agreement to settle. In some cases this settlement is reached as early as May (within a month of you filing your appeal). The Board recommends you and BC Assessment start settlement discussions as soon as possible after the Board sends out letters acknowledging your appeal (in May).

The Board will also schedule a teleconference (Appeal Management Conference), usually around the beginning of June to the end of September depending on the availability of the parties. One of the key purposes of this teleconference is to explore possible settlement.

If the Board approves a settlement, then it will issue a Board Order, within a few days, to confirm the settlement and complete the appeal.

(b) If the appeal is not settled and the Board needs to decide the case:

If your appeal is not settled, then it will be set for formal adjudication by one or more Board members. This may be either through written submissions from the parties or an in-person hearing. Usually the written submission method is quicker. In some appeals, the submissions are due as early as July. To provide you and BC Assessment with enough time, often the submissions are not due until the Fall or possibly later.

If an in-person hearing is required, it can take several months for an available date and to provide the parties with sufficient time to prepare and submit, in advance, supporting documents and reports.

After the written submissions or in-person hearing, it generally takes two to three months for the Board member(s) to issue a written decision. The written decision will include an analysis of the evidence and arguments along with reasons for the decision.

In summary, if the Board is required to make a formal decision (after written submissions or an in-person hearing), then you may not receive your decision until later in the year or even into the following calendar year.

The Board has set a goal to complete the majority of residential appeals by December 31 of the same year that they were filed (i.e. by December 31, 2009 for 2009 appeals). Commercial and industrial property appeals are usually more complex, therefore, the goal is to complete most by March 31st of the following year.

A NOTE ON PROPERTY TAXES:

The Board recommends all property holders pay their property tax by the due date to avoid any late charges and interest. Usually the appeals are not completed by the July 1st due date for residential taxes. If the assessment is lowered as a result of an appeal, any over-payment in taxes will be reimbursed to the taxpayer or the taxpayer will receive a credit for their subsequent year’s taxes.

First steps and ways of settling your appeal

11. What should I do after I send in my appeal?

(a) Review your acknowledgment letter from the Board:

The Registrar will send you a letter confirming your appeal has been received. This letter should arrive around May 15 to 31st. Review the attached report to ensure we have accurately entered your information – especially your contact information including your day-time phone number. If you have email, this method may be the quickest way for the Board to communicate with you.

(b) Do some preliminary research:

In order to have fruitful discussions in the first stages of your appeal, you should do some preliminary research on the issues. Also see the section: where can I obtain assistance with my appeal.

If you appealed because you believe your assessment is too high (i.e. the market value of your property was below your assessment on the Valuation Date) then you should do some market research on the sales of similar properties around the Valuation Date.

If you are concerned that your property has not been fairly assessed compared to the assessments of similar properties, then you have an appeal on what is called “equity”. You should research your property’s assessment relative to it market value and compare this to a group of similar properties.

Other issues (such as the property classification) will require different preparation.

We have found that parties are more successful in resolving their appeals if they come to the table with support and research to back up their opinions on the issues. Even if you are not successful in settling your appeal, your time and research will assist you in preparing your case to submit to the Board for a decision.

(c) Talk to your local BC Assessment office:

Don’t assume that BC Assessment knows why you are dissatisfied with your assessment and will disagree with you. Even though you have already gone through the first level of appeal, we recommend you and BC Assessment have further discussions. It is best to not delay speaking with BC Assessment, as these discussions will often result in the settlement of your appeal.

BC Assessment may want to inspect your property to confirm your facts and the condition of your property.

If BC Assessment can successfully explain to you the accuracy or fairness of your assessment you may write to the Board indicating that you wish to withdraw (or discontinue) your appeal.

Sometimes, BC Assessment will agree with you that the assessment should change. BC Assessment will then complete a Recommendation form which you will both sign. They will then send the Recommendation to the Board for approval.

If your appeal is not resolved during these preliminary discussions, the Board will arrange a telephone appeal management conference. See what happens at an Appeal Management Conference for more details.

12. What happens at an Appeal Management Conference?

As the first main step in the appeal process, the Board will schedule a telephone appeal management conference with you, a BC Assessment representative, and the Board’s appeal manager.

The two main purposes of the teleconference are:

(a) To attempt to resolve your appeal – many are settled right during the teleconference;

(b) If your appeal is not resolved, set the next steps.

During the conference call, we will discuss the issues and ask you and BC Assessment to summarize the evidence each of you have to support your positions. This is why it is important that you do some preliminary research before the teleconference - see what should I do after I send in my appeal.

You can, if you wish, provide written materials beforehand to the Board and BC Assessment. If the appeal is not resolved during the teleconference, you can submit the same or different evidence in the next stage.

The Board’s appeal manager may provide a non-binding opinion to assist you and BC Assessment to re-evaluate your positions. If the appeal proceeds to a hearing or written submissions, the appeal manager will not be the Board member making the decision in your appeal.

If the appeal is not resolved, the Board will set the next steps, such as:

  • giving the parties more time to discuss the appeal;
  • setting dates for the parties to submit their case in writing. The Board then decides the appeal solely based on these written submissions. See how does the written submission method work;
  • setting dates for the parties to attend an in-person hearing. Note: the parties still must submit, in advance, all documents that they want to rely on in the hearing. See what happens if a hearing is scheduled.

13. What happens if I reach agreement with BC Assessment to settle the appeal?

If you are successful and reach an agreement to settle your appeal, the proposed settlement (called a Recommendation) must go to the Board.

The Board has created a form which can be used to detail the proposed changes to the assessment. Usually BC Assessment will complete the recommendation paperwork and send it to you for signature. You return the signed form to BC Assessment who will send it to the Board. Because the Board has a duty to ensure the assessment is accurate and at actual value, we must approve all Recommendations.

You may submit a Recommendation to the Board at any time after an appeal has been filed. If a hearing has been set, the Recommendation should be submitted preferably no later then two weeks prior to the hearing. Unless we advise otherwise, the hearing will be cancelled, pending the Board’s consideration of the Recommendation.

If the Board accepts the Recommendation, it will issue a written Board Order confirming the changes to the assessment. If the Recommendation is not approved, we will advise you of the next steps in the appeal.

14. Can I discontinue my appeal?

If you are the one who filed the appeal, you can apply to the Board to discontinue or withdraw it. You can use the Board’s Form 4 or just make your request in writing. We will usually ask BC Assessment whether or not they have any objections to the Board accepting your withdrawal. Even if there are objections, the Board may accept the withdrawal.

If the Board accepts the withdrawal it will cancel any hearing and issue a Board Order which will close the file. If there are no other appeals for your property for the same assessment year, this Order will confirm the decision of the Property Assessment Review Panel. If there are other appeals still open for that assessment year, those appeals must be decided before you will know if there will be any changes to your assessment.

If the Board does not accept your withdrawal, the appeal will continue with the next steps.

15. What other ways can we try and settle the appeal?

If the appeal is not resolved during the Appeal Management Conference, the Board may arrange a Settlement Conference or have the parties prepare a Statement of Issues, Evidence and Analysis. Normally these two steps are only used with more complex appeals, including some commercial and industrial properties.

(a) Settlement Conference:

A Settlement Conference is an in-person meeting of the parties, together with a member of the Board, who will facilitate the discussion and attempt to resolve the issues. The discussions are confidential and without prejudice to the positions the parties may wish to take if the appeal does not settle.

Because of the time, effort and expense of holding a Settlement Conference, the Board often requires the parties to produce a statement of their position on the appeal issues and a summary of evidence that they expect to use if the appeal continues. These documents can assist the parties in re-evaluating their position.

(b) Statement of Issues, Evidence and Analysis:

Both parties produce and exchange these documents. The purpose is to identify the appeal issues and state the reasons for your position on these issues. You and BC Assessment will also state a proposed settlement on the appeal.

These Statements may assist in settling all or some of the appeal issues in more complex appeals.

Next steps if the appeal is not settled

16. What are the options if the appeal is not settled?

If the appeal is not settled after the Appeal Management Conference, the Board usually sets it for formal adjudication. Often the method and timing is set at the end of the telephone Appeal Management Conference. There are two main methods:

  1. written submission method (case is decided solely based on submissions from you, BC Assessment and any other participating parties); or
  2. in-person hearing.

See how does the written submission method work and what happens if a hearing is scheduled for guidance on these two methods.

17. Do I need to prepare anything to support my case?

The short answer is “yes, most definitely”. Some property owners make the mistake of not submitting sufficient evidence and back up to support their appeal. The less you give the Board, the less likely you will be in convincing the Board of your point of view.

The Board does not go out and conduct research for you or BC Assessment. The Board makes its decision solely based on what it receives from you and BC Assessment. It may not be to your advantage to only argue against the evidence provided by BC Assessment. The Board recommends that BOTH parties seek the best evidence (often sales and market evidence of similar properties) to support their position on the appeal.

In some appeals (especially with legal issues or questions on how to interpret the Assessment Act or Regulations) parties may support their position by referencing previous Board or Court decisions on how similar cases were determined. You may use our search page Look up Decisions to locate previous Board decisions. You may also view a list with links to some of the Significant Court Cases.

Please be aware the Board has no evidence when an appeal is filed. Any evidence you submitted to the Property Assessment Review Panel is not forwarded to the Board. This is an entirely new proceeding which provides you with a fresh opportunity to present evidence in support of your case.

If you have a residential or recreational property, see How to prepare for a Single Family Residential Assessment Appeal for more guidance.

To make a decision on your appeal the Board will consider:

  • what you submitted with your notice or letter of appeal (when you initially filed your appeal);
  • documents that you may have supplied for the Appeal Management Conference AND that you advised the Board that you want considered.
Note: if you want the Board to consider these documents, it is important that you either inform the Board or include them in your submissions. There is no obligation to include documents that were used in the Appeal Management Conference or settlement discussions. Sometimes a party may decide not to include or to alter these documents.
  • documents, evidence and argument you and BC Assessment supplied in the written submissions or in advance of any in-person hearing.

See when & how do I submit evidence for more guidance.

18. How does the written submission method work?

If the Board orders that the parties submit their case via written submissions, no in-person hearing will be held. The Board will give you and BC Assessment deadlines for producing your submissions. You and BC Assessment will send two copies of your submissions to the Board and one copy to each other. You will both be given an opportunity to send in a reply submission to respond to any points or evidence supplied by the other party in their first submission.

Usually the deadlines for you and BC Assessment are the same (i.e. you must deliver the submissions on the same dates). Sometimes, the Board staggers the submission dates. In this case, normally the party appealing (the Appellant) delivers their written submission first. The other party then delivers their submission, including a reply to the Appellant’s submission. The Appellant is then given a final opportunity to reply to the other party’s submission.

Whether we are using simultaneous or staggered submissions, there are strict rules on what can be included in the reply submission. You should not repeat your first submission. You cannot introduce a new issue or new evidence, except as it relates to countering the first submission of the other party. Basically, if you can anticipate needing to submit evidence or documents when making the first submission, you should do so then.

If you do not produce your documents or submissions by the dates ordered, without first asking for an extension, the Board may not accept them.

Once the submissions are complete, the Board office will send them to a Board member who will consider all the written submissions and make a decision. The Board member will issue a written decision which will include reasons for their decision.

See the Board’s Information Sheet #6 – Hearings by Written Submission for more details.

19. What happens if a hearing is scheduled?

Once dates are scheduled for an in-person hearing, you will receive a Notice with the date, time and location of the hearing. Usually, the hearing is held in the area that the property is assessed, but we can consider any party’s request for an alternative location. If you want to reschedule the hearing date, you must apply to the Board for an adjournment at least 14 days in advance and provide the reasons for your request. The Board will consider the request as well as the other party’s position on it, and may and may not grant it. See Information Sheet #9 - Adjournments.

The Board panel will advise at the beginning of the hearing how it will proceed, including who will present their case first. Most hearings proceed in the following order:

  1. The party appealing (the Appellant) proceeds first, with a brief opening statement that explains the appeal issues and then presents their evidence. The Appellant may also call witnesses, if any, to present evidence.
  2. The Respondent (normally the Assessor) will have an opportunity to question the Appellant or any witnesses.
  3. The Respondent, in the same manner, presents their brief opening statement, their evidence and calls any witnesses.
  4. The Appellant will have an opportunity to question the Respondent's witnesses. The Appellant also will be given an opportunity to respond to any new matters raised in the Respondent's presentation.
  5. Both parties then have an opportunity to summarize their cases.
Notes: The parties and their witnesses are not expected to detail or read all evidence, as you and BC Assessment are required to submit all documents and written evidence in advance of the hearing. The Board panel will consider all these documents.
The panel may also have questions of the parties or witnesses.
People who give evidence at a hearing must swear an oath or affirm that their evidence will be the truth.

Usually one Board member will be assigned to conduct hearings for simple appeals. For more complex appeals a panel of two or more Board members may be used. You can review the names and qualifications of the members of the Board by clicking here.

While not as formal as court proceedings, Board hearings are reasonably formal and parties are expected to act appropriately. Parties may represent themselves or have an agent or lawyer represent them. The Board will determine whether or not the hearing will be recorded. Hearings are open to the public.

For more information on evidence, see the Board's Information Sheet #8 - Evidence in a Hearing. Following the hearing, the panel will prepare a written decision with reasons.

20. When & how do I submit evidence?

You should ensure that you produce evidence to support your case. For an in-person hearing, the Board will issue orders for the parties to produce all of their written material beforehand by specific dates. The first deadline is usually due three to four weeks prior to the hearing.

Usually two weeks later, the parties can then submit documents in response to the other party’s written material. There are strict rules on what can be included in the reply submissions. You should not repeat your first submission. You cannot introduce a new issue or new evidence, except as it relates to countering the first submission of the other party. Basically, if you can anticipate needing to submit evidence or documents when making the first submission, you should do so then.

If you do not produce your documents or submissions by the dates ordered, without first asking for an extension, the Board may not accept them.

See how does the written submission method work for details on how to submit evidence for this method.

If you intend to rely upon an appraisal report or a realtor’s opinion, or the report of any other expert, you must provide this report to the Board (and a copy to the other side) by the first submission deadline. It is always better to have the author of the report present at the hearing to explain any adjustments and answer questions. Evidence that cannot be tested by cross-examination may be less persuasive. Evidence that includes an opinion of value from a qualified appraiser or real estate professional is considered "expert evidence".

You must ensure that the Board receives at least two hard copies of your written materials, and the other side gets one copy, on the date ordered.

See Information Sheet #8 – Evidence in a Hearing.

Board’s decision and How to appeal the Board’s decision

21. How does the Board make a decision?

The Board makes a decision on your appeal based on what you and BC Assessment submit to our office.

If the written submission method is used, the Board will make a decision solely based on what the parties include in their written submissions. Because there is no in-person hearing, it is important that you include in your submissions evidence or documents to support your case and argument or reasons why the Board should decide in your favour.

If an in-person hearing is used, you must still submit your evidence or documents by the deadlines ordered by the Board prior to the hearing.

Please be aware the Board has no evidence when an appeal is filed. Any evidence you submitted to the Property Assessment Review Panel is not forwarded to the Board. This is an entirely new proceeding which provides you with a fresh opportunity to present evidence in support of your case.

Evidence is the material that is submitted to establish the factual basis for the decision. Generally, it provides the "proof" of the issues in dispute. Evidence may be provided by the oral testimony of witnesses, by documents, by photographs or by physical objects.

The Board may accept any evidence that is relevant to an issue in the appeal. It is not bound by the technical and legal rules of evidence and may accept evidence that would not necessarily be accepted in a court - as long as the evidence is relevant.

When the issue is “what is the actual value of a property”, the Board prefers market-based evidence. If the property itself has not sold, the best evidence of its value is the sales of other similar properties. If you are appealing the assessment of a single family residential property, please refer to the Board's guide How to Prepare for a Single Family Residential Assessment Appeal.

The Board must consider all the evidence and decide which evidence it prefers. In a value-based appeal, the Board must make a decision on the values of both the land and improvements, whether or not the parties have raised both as an issue.

22. Will my appeal expenses be reimbursed?

The quick answer is “no”. The Assessment Act – the key legislation which governs the appeal system – does not allow for your expenses to be reimbursed. At the same time, if you lose your appeal, you are not exposed to paying the expenses of BC Assessment or any other parties.

The appeal system has been set up to have a very low appeal fee ($30.00), such that the majority of the Board’s time and expenses are covered by the general taxpayers. Your personal expenses will depend on whether there is travel involved and whether or not you hire professionals to assist you. Over the last 5 years, the Board has implemented new methods to reduce the cost of appeals – especially to residential homeowners:

  • Efforts are focused on trying to resolve your appeal through mutual agreement. If successful, this avoids the more costly stages of formally presenting your case to the Board for a decision.
  • For residential appeals that are not resolved, most are decided through the written submission method. This method avoids the cost of you having to travel to an in-person hearing and take time off of work to attend.

23. Can the Board change or reconsider its decision?

Once the Board issues a written decision, it cannot change or re-consider the decision except in very limited situations. The Board can correct typographical or mathematical errors.

In addition, there may be some rare situations when the panel may not have considered all of the evidence provided by the parties (e.g. the Board mistakenly did not send materials to the panel). The Board can then decide whether it should re-open the appeal and reconsider its decision.

The Board, however, has no ability to reconsider if a party wants to enter new evidence or re-argue the appeal. The party’s only option is to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court (see how can I appeal the Board’s decision).

24. How can I appeal the Board’s decision?

If you disagree with the Board’s decision, you may appeal to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. You can only appeal on a question of law. The Court proceedings are not a complete re-hearing of the appeal. The Board will send to the Court the evidence that was presented to it. There will be no opportunity to present new evidence to the Court and you can only make submissions on whether the Board made an error of law.

You can use the Board’s form to list the questions in law that you want to the Court to answer.

The deadline to send in your request to appeal (called a “Stated Case”), along with your questions in law, is 21 days from when you received the Board’s decision. Refer to Information Sheet #13 – Stated Cases for more information.

The Court may charge a filing fee which must be paid by the party requesting the Stated Case. The Supreme Court has jurisdiction to order that the unsuccessful party pay the costs of the successful party.

The Board strongly suggests that you obtain legal advice if you are considering an appeal to the Supreme Court.

appeal resources
appeal resources