Matters Relating to Assessment Complaints - Frequently Asked Questions
These questions and answers have been prepared by Alberta Municipal Affairs for information purposes and do not constitute legal advice. If there is any uncertainty regarding the use of this information, readers should consult legal counsel.
If there is a discrepancy in any form or manner between this information and current legislation, the legislation shall prevail.
- Municipal Government Act - MGA
- Matters Relating to Assessment Complaints Regulation - MRAC
- Matters Relating to Assessment and Taxation Regulation - MRAT
- Assessment Review Board - ARB
Does a municipality have to include a copy of the complaint form specified in Schedule 1 of MRAC with the assessment notices or tax notices?
No. The legislation states that a municipality must ensure that copies of the complaint form are readily available to the public. Various options for meeting this requirement are available such as sending a copy of the complaint form with the notices, making it available online, having copies in the municipal ARB office, or sending them by mail upon request.
Matters Relating to Assessment Complaints Regulation s.54, Schedule 1.
Does a complaint have to be filed on the complaint form set out in Schedule 1 of MRAC?
Yes. The legislation requires that a complaint be submitted in the form prescribed in the regulations. The form is prescribed in Schedule 1 of MRAC.
Municipal Government Act s.460(2)
Matters Relating to Assessment Complaints Regulation s.1(1)(e)(i), s.2(1)(a),s.2(2),s.54, Schedule 1.
Does an assessment review board have to dismiss a complaint that has not been filed or completed in accordance with the regulations?
Yes. Legislation requires that complaints must be filed within 60 days after an assessment notice or amended assessment notice is sent, and 30 days after a tax notice is sent. An assessment review board must dismiss a complaint that is received outside of these timeframes, keeping in mind that s.605(1) of the MGA provides an extension to the next business day should the day in which something is to be done falls on a weekend or holiday.
The MGA also prescribes the specific information that must be provided on the complaint form. If this required information is not provided, the assessment review board must dismiss the complaint as invalid.
Municipal Government Act, s.309(1)(c) s.460(2), s.460(5), s.460(7), s.467(2) s,605(1).
Matters Relating to Assessment Complaints Regulation s.2(2).
Can an assessment review board clerk dismiss a complaint that is not filed in accordance with the regulations?
No. Once a complaint has been filed with the clerk of an assessment review board, any decision that may have to be made on the vailidity of a complaint, process timeline violations, or any other administrative matter must be made by the board. An assessment review board clerk has no authority to decide any matter involving an assessment complaint: however, the clerk can flag issues for the board and schedule a hearing to decide the matter.
Municipal Government Act s.467(2).
Can a council establish a local or composite assessment review board prior to a complaint being filed?
Yes. A council may establish an assessment review board at any time; however, once a complaint has been filed it must establish an assessment review board.
Municipal Government Act s.454(1), s.454(2).
Can a council establish a joint local or composite assessment review board with another municipality?
Yes. Two or more municipalities may establish joint assessment review boards. Municipalities that agree to establish joint assessment review boards may need to develop a formal agreement that identifies the administrative logistics and responsiblities of each participating municipality.
Municipal Government Act s.456.
Who has the authority to appoint board members to a local or composite assessment review board?
A municipal council has the authority to appoint members to an assessment review board with the exception of the provincial member of a composite assessment review board, who must be appointed by the Minister. A municipal council may also delegate the authority to appoint board members to a council committee, the chief administrative officer, or a designated officer.
Municipal Government Act s.454.1, s.454.2, s.203(1), s.203(3).
Who may sit as an assessment review board member?
In order for a member of an ARB to be quaified to participate in a hearing, the member must successfully complete a training program set or approved by the Minister. A person may not be a member of an ARB if they are an assessor, an employee of the municipality for which the ARB is established, or an agent as defined in MRAC.
Municipal Government Act s.454.3.
Matters Relating to Assessment Complaints Regulation s.1(1)(b), s.49, s.50.
What are the obligations for disclosing information between a complainant and the respondent during the complaint process?
Once the clerk of the ARB sends the notice of hearing to the parties to a complaint, it is the obligation of the complainant and the respondent to provide each other and the assessment review board with the evidence and testimony they will present at the hearing. The consequences for failure to discolse the required information may include evidence being disallowed and in the case of a CARB, financial penalties being awarded.
Matters Relating to Assessment Complaints Regulation s.4, s.5, s.8, s.9, s.52.
What matters may be dealt with by an assessment review board?
An assessment review board may only hear complaints about specific matters referred to in sections 460(5) and 467 of the MGA.
Municipal Government Act s.460(5), s.467.
What are the requirements under the new legislation regarding assessment review board decisions?
The MGA requires the assessment review board to provide a written decision within 30 days from the last day of the hearing or before the end of the taxation year, whichever comes first. MRAC section 13(1) specifies what must be contained in the written decision.
Municipal Government Act s.467, s.468(1), s.468.1, s.605.
Matters Relating to Assessment Complaints Regulation s.13(1),
Interpretation Act s.22.
Record of a Hearing:Question:
What are the requirements under the new legislation regarding assessment review board record-keeping?
An assessment review board must make and keep a record of each hearing. MRAC section 13(1) specifies that a municipality must retain a record of all decisions for a minimum 5 years. MRAC section 14(1) specifies the information that must be included in the record, and that it must be retained by the municipality.
Matters Relating to Assessment Complaints Regulation s.13, s.14.