OVERVIEW OF THE APPEAL PROCESS
The Property Assessment Appeal Board hears appeals from the Property Assessment Review Panels to determine whether:
The Board is independent of both the Property Assessment Review Panels and BC Assessment. The parties to an appeal are the person appealing (usually the property owner or taxpayer) and BC Assessment (the Assessor for your Area). Sometimes, BC Assessment starts the appeal and the owner is the “Respondent”. The municipality and other persons affected by the appeal may apply to be added as parties.
The appeal before the Board is a new proceeding. It provides the parties with a fresh opportunity to present their cases. The Board does not have any evidence except the letter of appeal and the evidence the parties provide to the Board. Evidence submitted to the Review Panel is not forwarded to the Board.
You should be aware that much of the appeal process is public. If your appeal requires a formal decision, both oral and written submission hearings are open to the public and many documents and evidence are not confidential. Basic appeal information and formal decisions are posted on the Board’s website. Please contact the Board if you would like to discuss any privacy concerns.
The Board may require the parties to take part in an Appeal Management Conference (AMC), usually conducted by telephone, or to participate in Online Dispute Resolution (ODR), via the Board’s web-based platform.
The purpose of an AMC or ODR discussion is to identify the issues, likely evidence and explore whether the appeal can be resolved without a hearing. Decisions about how the appeal will proceed are generally made during the discussion. The Board may order the parties to produce information to each other and to the Board, and may issue any other orders or directions to help resolve the appeal.
Settlement Conferences are sometimes arranged to attempt to resolve the appeal issues. This approach is usually only practical and cost-effective for more complicated appeals or those which would require considerable hearing time. Settlement Conferences are confidential and without prejudice to the positions the parties may take in a hearing.
If the appeal is not resolved through appeal management, the Board may hold hearings by telephone conference, by video conference, by written submission, in-person, or a combination of formats.
In-person hearings are usually held at the Board’s offices and are open to the public. They may be presided over by one or more members of the Board. People giving evidence at a hearing must swear an oath or affirm that their evidence will be the truth.
The Board may accept any evidence in a hearing that is relevant to an issue in the appeal.
Often the Board will set timelines in advance of the hearing for the parties to submit documents they intend to rely on in the hearing. If the Board has not set specific timelines, the parties must, at least 3 weeks before the hearing, provide the Board and each other with copies of any expert opinions/reports they intend to rely on at the hearing. The Board may refuse to admit evidence at the hearing if it is not produced in advance in this manner.
The Board may accept or reject all or part of a party’s evidence. Further, the Board may decide that the value of the property is lower than, equal to, or higher than the value determined by the Review Panel. The Board must determine the values of both the land and improvements, even if only one of the values is raised as an issue.
Once an appeal has been set for hearing, the Board will not usually grant a delay or an adjournment. If an adjournment is required, the application should be made in writing no later than 2 weeks before the hearing.
A person appealing may ask the Board, in writing, to withdraw the appeal and close its file. The Board must approve the withdrawal before proceedings will be cancelled. If the appeal is set for hearing, the withdrawal request should be made preferably no later than 2 weeks before the hearing.
During appeal management, the Board encourages the parties to discuss the issues in an effort to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. If an agreement is reached, it must be submitted to the Board in writing, signed by both parties, for the Board’s approval. If an appeal has been scheduled for a hearing, recommendations should be submitted preferably no later than 2 weeks before the hearing. Even when the parties agree, the Board must be satisfied that the revised assessment will reflect actual (market) value.
Appealing the Board's Decision
Anyone affected by a decision of the Board may appeal through the Board’s offices, to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. An appeal can only be made on a question of law and is known as a “stated case”. The party requesting a stated case must submit a written request and the questions in law to the Board, within 21 days of receiving the Board’s decision.