Imagine for a moment that you have appealed your assessment and PVSC told you they thought your assessment was fair but it is clear to you that they really didn’t give your property a fair examination (this is a common complaint. One person appealed and the assessor simply drove past stating later that he stood by his assessment) but that is a story for another time.
For now assume you have decided to appeal further to the Assessment tribunal which is your right and, in fact what you should do. Anyone who accepts PVSC’s assessment without question is simply asking to have his/her pocket picked at tax time.
You have prepared your case well. You have comparable property sales that are all lower than your assessment. You present your case methodically and carefully. The chairman of your hearing compliments you on your appeal.and rules in your favour. Great you can sit back and relax – or can you.
Next year PVSC raises your assessment despite the fact that property values are dropping. It’s small increase so you let it slide.Next year, however, PVSC raises your assessment by a huge amount well over the Tribunal’s corrected assessment. What is happening here? One thing that isn’t happening is any semblance of fairness.
Here is an actual example.
In 2011 the land value of a property is assessed at $195,000. The owner appealed and received a judgement reducing the property valuation to $150,000.
In 2012 PVSC raises the assessment to $153,000. The property owner does not appeal figuring it isn’t worth the effort even though he knows similar land values are dropping.
In 2013 he is assessed at $165,000. He has still not had the hearing for his 2012 assessment and PVSC is happy with their valuation (and probably happier that no appeal has been heard).
Clearly the Tribunal ruling doesn’t amount to much if PVSC is going to raise the assessment the following year on a whim in what looks suspiciously like a vindictive action.
You can almost hear them,” We can’t allow this guy to get away with this so let’s stick it to him later.” And they do. But they don’t stop there, they raise his house value as well even though house values for similar houses are dropping like stones.
The lesson is that you must appeal, appeal again and again and again etc. etc.. PVSC doesn’t even have to get off their dead behinds to raise your assessment and probably laughs themselves silly at how they have stuck it to you.
Many people have written to me saying how courteous PVSC employees were but than followed up by saying they thought they had been screwed. Well, they probably were screwed. PVSC can afford to be nice because, by law you have to prove they are in the wrong.
Meanwhile, your municipality which owns PVSC sits by complacently reaping the benefits of high assessments while paradoxically, ignoring low assessments.
So much for a “Fairly valued Nova Scotia”