(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.
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.
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.
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.