If an appeal is not settled through appeal management discussions between the parties, the Board can hold hearings in-person, by telephone conference or by way of written submissions. The hearings are open to the public and the Board publishes a Calendar of in person hearings for the public's information. For written submissions, the filed written submissions are available for review by the public upon request. For in-person hearings of simple appeals, usually one Board member will be assigned to conduct the hearing. For more complex appeals a panel of 2 or more Board members may be used.
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.
The panel will determine who will present their case first. Usually 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. The Appellant and any witnesses are not expected to detail or read all evidence, as the parties are usually required to submit all documents and written evidence in advance of the hearing. The Board panel will consider all these documents. The Respondent (normally the Assessor) will have an opportunity to question the Appellant or any witnesses.
The Respondent proceeds in the same manner and 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 case. The Board's panel may also have questions of the parties or witnesses. Both parties then have an opportunity to summarize their cases.
People who give evidence at a hearing must swear an oath or affirm that their evidence will be the truth. For more information on evidence, see the Board's Information Sheet 8 - Evidence for Appeals.
Following the hearing, the panel will prepare a written decision with reasons. The Board will send the parties the decision as soon as possible, however, due to the appeal load, complexity of the appeal and other resource issues, it may take a few months.
The Board will often hear several appeals on the same day. It is possible that the Board may not have enough time to complete all of the scheduled appeals. If this is the case, the Board will reschedule these appeals giving them priority on a new date.
The Board will notify the parties in writing of the date, time and location of the hearing. In setting the location, the Board will take into consideration the cost to the parties and the Board. Usually the hearings are held in the area that the property is assessed. The Board will, however, consider any party's request for alternative locations.