How to Prepare a Case

You have not reached agreement on your appeal with BC Assessment. The Board will decide based on evidence from both of you. The best information on how to prepare depends on what type of property you have:

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What type of appeal do you have?

Residential

See Single Family Residential Guide for more guidance.

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Farm Class

See Farm Class Guide for more guidance.

 

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Other

 

Do I need to prepare anything to support my case?

How does the written submission method work?

What happens if a hearing is scheduled?

When & how do I submit evidence?

How does the Board make a decision?    


 

Do I need to prepare anything to support my case?

The short answer is “yes, most definitely”. Some property owners make the mistake of not submitting sufficient evidence and back up to support their appeal. The less you give the Board, the less likely you will be in convincing the Board of your point of view.

The Board does not go out and conduct research for you or BC Assessment. The Board makes its decision solely based on what it receives from you and BC Assessment. It may not be to your advantage to only argue against the evidence provided by BC Assessment. The Board recommends that BOTH parties seek the best evidence (often sales and market evidence of similar properties) to support their position on the appeal.

In some appeals (especially with legal issues or questions on how to interpret the Assessment Act or Regulations) parties may support their position by referencing previous Board or Court decisions on how similar cases were determined. You may use our search page Look up Decisions to locate previous Board decisions. You may also view a list with links to some of the Significant Court Cases.

Please be aware the Board has no evidence when an appeal is filed. Any evidence you submitted to the Property Assessment Review Panel is not forwarded to the Board. This is an entirely new proceeding which provides you with a fresh opportunity to present evidence in support of your case.

To make a decision on your appeal the Board will consider:

  • What you submitted with your notice or letter of appeal (when you initially filed your appeal);
     
  • Documents that you may have supplied for the Appeal Management Conference AND that you advised the Board that you want considered.
     
    • Note:
      If you want the Board to consider these documents, it is important that you either inform the Board or include them in your submissions. There is no obligation to include documents that were used in the Appeal Management Conference or settlement discussions. Sometimes a party may decide not to include or to alter these documents.
       
  • Documents, evidence and argument you and BC Assessment supplied in the written submissions or in advance of any in-person hearing.

 

How does the written submission method work?

If the Board orders that the parties submit their case via written submissions, no in-person hearing will be held. The Board will give you and BC Assessment deadlines for producing your submissions. You and BC Assessment will send two copies of your submissions to the Board and one copy to each other. You will both be given an opportunity to send in a reply submission to respond to any points or evidence supplied by the other party in their first submission.

Sometimes the deadlines for you and BC Assessment are the same (i.e. you must deliver the submissions on the same dates). Sometimes, the Board staggers the submission dates. In this case, normally the party appealing (the Appellant) delivers their written submission first. The other party then delivers their submission, including a reply to the Appellant’s submission. The Appellant is then given a final opportunity to reply to the other party’s submission.

Whether we are using simultaneous or staggered submissions, there are strict rules on what can be included in the reply submission. You should not repeat your first submission. You cannot introduce a new issue or new evidence, except as it relates to countering the first submission of the other party. Basically, if you can anticipate needing to submit evidence or documents when making the first submission, you should do so then.

If you do not produce your documents or submissions by the dates ordered, without first asking for an extension, the Board may not accept them.

Once the submissions are complete, the Board office will send them to a Board member who will consider all the written submissions and make a decision. The Board member will issue a written decision which will include reasons for their decision.

See the Board’s Information Sheet #6 – Hearings by Written Submission for more details.

 

What happens if a hearing is scheduled?

Once dates are scheduled for an in-person hearing, you will receive a Notice with the date, time and location of the hearing. Usually, the hearing is held in the area that the property is assessed, but we can consider any party’s request for an alternative location. If you want to reschedule the hearing date, you must apply to the Board for an adjournment at least 14 days in advance and provide the reasons for your request. The Board will consider the request as well as the other party’s position on it, and may and may not grant it. See Information Sheet #9 - Adjournments.

The Board panel will advise at the beginning of the hearing how it will proceed, including who will present their case first. Most hearings proceed in the following order:

  1. The party appealing (the Appellant) proceeds first, with a brief opening statement that explains the appeal issues and then presents their evidence. The Appellant may also call witnesses, if any, to present evidence.
     
  2. The Respondent (normally the Assessor) will have an opportunity to question the Appellant or any witnesses.
     
  3. The Respondent, in the same manner, presents their brief opening statement, their evidence and calls any witnesses.
     
  4. The Appellant will have an opportunity to question the Respondent's witnesses. The Appellant also will be given an opportunity to respond to any new matters raised in the Respondent's presentation.
     
  5. Both parties then have an opportunity to summarize their cases.


Notes:    

  • The parties and their witnesses are not expected to detail or read all evidence, as you and BC Assessment are required to submit all documents and written evidence in advance of the hearing. The Board panel will consider all these documents.
     
  • The panel may also have questions of the parties or witnesses.
     
  • People who give evidence at a hearing must swear an oath or affirm that their evidence will be the truth.

Usually one Board member will be assigned to conduct hearings for simple appeals. For more complex appeals a panel of two or more Board members may be used. You can review the names and qualifications of the members of the Board by clicking here.

While not as formal as court proceedings, Board hearings are reasonably formal and parties are expected to act appropriately. Parties may represent themselves or have an agent or lawyer represent them. The Board will determine whether or not the hearing will be recorded. Hearings are open to the public.

For more information on evidence, see the Board's Information Sheet #8 - Evidence for Appeals. Following the hearing, the panel will prepare a written decision with reasons.

 

When & how do I submit evidence?

You should ensure that you produce evidence to support your case. For an in-person hearing, the Board will issue orders for the parties to produce all of their written material beforehand by specific dates. The first deadline is usually due three to four weeks prior to the hearing.

Usually two weeks later, the parties can then submit documents in response to the other party’s written material. There are strict rules on what can be included in the reply submissions. You should not repeat your first submission. You cannot introduce a new issue or new evidence, except as it relates to countering the first submission of the other party. Basically, if you can anticipate needing to submit evidence or documents when making the first submission, you should do so then.

If you do not produce your documents or submissions by the dates ordered, without first asking for an extension, the Board may not accept them.

If you intend to rely upon an appraisal report or a realtor’s opinion, or the report of any other expert, you must provide this report to the Board (and a copy to the other side) by the first submission deadline. It is always better to have the author of the report present at the hearing to explain any adjustments and answer questions. Evidence that cannot be tested by cross-examination may be less persuasive. Evidence that includes an opinion of value from a qualified appraiser or real estate professional is considered "expert evidence".

You must ensure that the Board receives at least two hard copies of your written materials, and the other side gets one copy, on the date ordered.

See Information Sheet #8 – Evidence for Appeals.

 

How does the Board make a decision?

The Board makes a decision on your appeal based on what you and BC Assessment submit to our office.

If the written submission method is used, the Board will make a decision solely based on what the parties include in their written submissions. Because there is no in-person hearing, it is important that you include in your submissions evidence or documents to support your case and argument or reasons why the Board should decide in your favour.

If an in-person hearing is used, you must still submit your evidence or documents by the deadlines ordered by the Board prior to the hearing.

Please be aware the Board has no evidence when an appeal is filed. Any evidence you submitted to the Property Assessment Review Panel is not forwarded to the Board. This is an entirely new proceeding which provides you with a fresh opportunity to present evidence in support of your case.

Evidence is the material that is submitted to establish the factual basis for the decision. Generally, it provides the "proof" of the issues in dispute. Evidence may be provided by the oral testimony of witnesses, by documents, by photographs or by physical objects.

The Board may accept any evidence that is relevant to an issue in the appeal. It is not bound by the technical and legal rules of evidence and may accept evidence that would not necessarily be accepted in a court - as long as the evidence is relevant.

When the issue is “what is the actual value of a property”, the Board prefers market-based evidence. If the property itself has not sold, the best evidence of its value is the sales of other similar properties. If you are appealing the assessment of a single family residential property, please refer to the Single Family Residential Guide.

The Board must consider all the evidence and decide which evidence it prefers. In a value-based appeal, the Board must make a decision on the values of both the land and improvements, whether or not the parties have raised both as an issue.

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Help With Your Appeal

We are the second level of appeal for property assessments in BC. 
We will first help you try and settle your concerns with BC Assessment.  If agreement is not reached, we will decide if your assessment is correct or should change.

This website will help you understand and prepare for the steps in your appeal.

Help With Your Appeal
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Submit An Appeal
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What's Next
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Ways to Reach Agreement
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What Happens After a Decision
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