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Preparing for Your Hearing

How to Prepare for Your ARB Hearing
 
Your goal is to show proof to the board that the assessment of your property is not a fair estimate of the price your property would sell for on the market, or is not a fair estimate when compared to properties of similar value.  Remember, market value is not defined as the exact selling price of a property, but the most reasonable selling price.  Similar properties rarely sell for the same price.  However, the sale prices for similar properties will likely fall within a range of prices.  The market value of your property is within that range.
 
Make sure that you have enough information to demonstrate to the Board that your property is similar to those you have selected as comparable properties and the assessed value of your property differs significantly from those properties. 
 
Consider the following for your presentation:
  • Explain in detail the grounds for your complaint
  • Appraisals or assessments of similar properties located in your neighbourhood
  • If you have discussed the matters of the complaint with an assessor, be sure to include a statement specifying the date and outcome of the discussion including details of any issues or facts agreed to. If you have not discussed the matters of the complaint with an assessor, specify why a discussion was not held.
  • Repair estimates from a reputable contractor from physical problems (foundation is cracked, roof leaks, etc). Keep in mind not every defect will lower the value of your property. Some defects result from normal wear and tear and/or aging of your property.
  • Estimates of your property’s value in the current market from a professional appraiser or realtor
  • Look for sales data on properties similar to yours (size, age) that sold close to July 1 of the previous year
  • In presenting comparisons between your property and other similar and/or comparison properties, compare features such as services, landscaping, number and size of bathrooms, basement finishing’s, fireplaces, garage/carports, outbuildings, repairs and environmental problems
  • For condo units, compare features such as the floor your unit is on, view, corner, inside or end unit, floor plan, parking, elevators and building services
  • Photographs of your property or business and other properties or businesses you are using as comparisons provide valuable support for a verbal description (photos will not be returned)
  • Maps are helpful to locate properties used in comparisons
  • You may have witnesses appear on your behalf
  • You may hire someone to represent you at the hearing (e.g., a tax agent or lawyer) or you may bring a friend or family member to assist you
  • You may want to attend a hearing beforehand to see how the process works.  Hearings are open to the public
  • Refer to Alberta Municipal Affairs publications to assist you with the complaint process
  • One hour is allotted for residential hearings
Don’t assume the assessor knows why you are unhappy with the assessment.  Contact the Assessment and Taxation Department or at 403 320 3950 and explain why you think your assessment is unfair or inaccurate as per the information you have gathered.  The assessor can change an assessment and issue a new notice if he/she agrees the original notice is not accurate.  In that case, you would not need to proceed with a hearing. 
 
You may hire someone to represent you at the hearing (tax agent or lawyer) or you may bring a friend or family member to assist you. You may have someone appear on your behalf at the Hearing.  If you do, a letter of authorization is required.  Agent Authorization Form
 
Alberta Municipal Affairs - Guide to Preparing for your Assessment Complaint or Appeal Hearing
 
Disclosure of Evidence
 
Timelines are legislated and cannot be extended.
 
Prior to the hearing, all evidence must be submitted to the ARB Office and exchanged in its entirety, by both the Complainant and the City Assessor.  Please note six (6) hard copies of any written evidence/information are required.  This helps the hearing to proceed fairly and without unnecessary delays.  By sharing information, both you and the assessor will have a better understanding of how to present your case to the Board.  It is also another opportunity for you and the assessor to resolve the issue before the hearing. 
 
Timelines for Disclosure of Evidence:
​Type of ​Board ​Complaint
Disclosure​
​Respondent
 Disclosure
​Complainant
Rebuttal​
​Local Assessment Review Board (LARB)* ​At least 21 days before the hearing date ​​At least 7 days before the hearing date​ ​ ​At least 3 days before the hearing date
​​Composite Assessment Review Board (CARB)** ​​At least 42 days before the hearing date ​At least 14 days before the hearing date​ ​ ​At least 7 days before the hearing date
  
*Local Assessment Review Board - hears matters shown on assessment notice for residential property with three or less dwellings and farmland.
**Composite Assessment Review Board - hears all other matters.
 
Please read your entire Notice of Hearing letter for important information regarding your hearing. 
 
Mail or Deliver Evidence to: 
Assessment Review Board Clerk
910 4 Avenue South
2nd floor - City Hall
Lethbridge, AB  T1J 0P6
 
Contact Information:
Wendy Smith, ARB Clerk
Telephone: 403 320 3030