The Assessment Review Board (ARB) is an independent adjudicative tribunal established under the Assessment Act, with a mandate to hear appeals about property assessment and classification. The ARB receives appeals on property assessments and property taxes. Hearings are scheduled across the province, usually in the municipality where the property is located. At the hearing, all parties have the opportunity to present evidence and make arguments. The ARB hears these appeals and makes decisions based on the applicable law and the evidence presented at the hearing.
The provincial government, through the Ministry of Finance, sets the laws regarding property assessment. Municipalities are responsible for setting tax rates and collecting property taxes. The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) assesses and classifies all properties in Ontario. If there is a dispute between a property owner and MPAC, the property owner can file an appeal with the ARB.
History of ARB
Property assessments have been conducted in what is now Ontario since 1793. In 1970, the province assumed the role of assessing property from municipalities and replaced the Courts of Revision with the Assessment Review Court (ARC). ARC was renamed the Assessment Review Board in 1983.
With the enactment of the Fair Municipal Finance Act, the ARB became the province’s sole adjudicative tribunal for property assessment appeals. The legislation reduced duplication and ensured that the ARB was the final tribunal of appeal for such appeals. Prior to 1998, ARB decisions could be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). In 1998, an amendment to the Assessment Review Board Act gave the ARB the capacity to dismiss frivolous appeals.
Decisions by the ARB are final and binding, subject only to appeal to Divisional Court on questions of law when the Court grants leave to appeal. The ARB also exercises the power to review its decisions.
Beginning with the 2009 tax year, changes to the Assessment Act require owners of residential, farm and conservation lands, and managed forests to file a request for reconsideration with MPAC, and/or the Program Administrator (for farm, managed forest or conservation land), before they may file an appeal with the ARB.
The ARB’s jurisdiction and its authority are defined by the Assessment Review Board Act, the Assessment Act, the Municipal Act, the City of Toronto Act, the Provincial Land Tax Act, the Education Act and the Statutory Powers Procedure Act.