PROPERTY TAXATION & ASSESSMENT
Property taxes are a critical revenue source for municipalities. Fortunately, Brownlee has a wealth of experience serving municipalities in all aspects of property assessment and taxation, as well as tax recovery. For municipalities, we can:
- review and evaluate property assessment and tax to identify issues and ensure that assessments reflect fair value for the property
- provide formal legal opinions regarding property tax issues, including potential grounds for defending assessment and tax complaints, the probability of success of tax complaints, and a cost estimate to complete the work
- assist the assessor in negotiations with the taxpayer (if bona fide grounds for complaint are identified)
- represent the assessor throughout the property complaint process, from initial filing of a complaint through to the completion of a merit hearing (if necessary)
- represent the assessor in court on statutory appeals for Composite Assessment Review Board (CARB) and Municipal Government Board (MGB) decisions
- represent municipalities in the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeal on judicial review applications respecting decisions of the Municipal Government Board.
Brownlee also regularly represents the Province of Alberta through the Department of Municipal Affairs on important taxation issues that directly benefit municipalities. To this end, our particular focus has been the defense of provincial assessments of linear properties such as: wells and pipeline; telecommunications systems; electric power systems; and street lighting systems.
However, Brownlee’s expertise extends to any type of property over which a tax dispute might arise, including:
- large industrial properties
- special purpose properties
- linear property
- special exempt properties
Our clients include:
- private and public property owners
- the Designated Linear Assessor
- municipal assessors
Additionally, accounting firms and private property tax firms regularly ask Brownlee to handle tax appeals for their clients.
Brownlee has appeared at the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Court of Appeal on judicial review and statutory appeals of assessment board decisions.
Brownlee maintains a professional relationship with a variety of organizations regarding assessment practices, training and education, and recent developments in the property assessment/tax area. These organizations include:
- the Alberta Assessors’ Association
- various municipalities
- the Government of Alberta Assessment Services Branch
Brownlee encourages its government clients to proactively shape their organizations in order to limit assessment-based complaints. To this end, Brownlee helps its clients:
- prepare for and limit assessment litigation
- help draft better assessment legislation
- design, implement and execute internal processes and procedures that result in better assessments
ALVIN R. KOSAK partner, municipal practice area leader