The following information is intended as a guide to appeals under the Real Property Assessment Act and not as a legal reference. The Real Property Assessment Act should be consulted for an exact statement of law.
I just received my property tax assessment notice and I feel my property tax assessment is too high. Can I file an appeal directly to the Commission?
No. Before you may file an appeal of your property tax assessment with the Commission, you must first complete the “referral” process.
What is the referral process?
A referral is an internal review of your property tax assessment which is performed by the staff at the Department of Finance. If you disagree with the tax assessment stated in your property tax assessment notice, your first step is to request a referral. Your assessment notice will contain information on the referral process and a form. Be sure to review this information carefully and send your referral form to the Provincial Tax Commissioner, not the Commission.
When may I appeal my property tax assessment to the Commission?
Once you have received a Referral Disposition of Assessment letter from Department of Finance, you have the option of appealing the assessment decision contained in that letter to the Commission. A Notice of Appeal form and instructions will be included in the Referral Disposition of Assessment letter. The Real Property Assessment Act requires that the Notice of Appeal documents be sent to the Commission and to the Department of Finance by registered mail and the Commission and the Department of Finance must receive the Notice of Appeal documents no later than 21 days after the date of your Referral Disposition of Assessment letter.
I have received my Referral Disposition of Assessment letter from the Department of Finance and I am now satisfied with my property tax assessment. Do I need to file an appeal with the Commission?
No. If you are satisfied with the assessment stated in the Referral Disposition of Assessment letter, you should not file an appeal with the Commission. Only file an appeal with the Commission if you are not satisfied with the assessment decision referred to in your Referral Disposition of Assessment letter.
How much does it cost to file an appeal with the Commission?
There is no charge to file a Real Property Assessment Act appeal with the Commission.
Are property tax appeal hearings open to the public?
Tax appeal hearings are usually open to the public, however, due to COVID-19, the Commission only allows in-person attendance for appeal participants and their representatives/counsel.
Do I need a lawyer to represent me on an appeal?
You are not required to have a lawyer on a Real Property Assessment Act appeal. However, you are entitled to hire a lawyer to advise or represent you. You are responsible for paying your lawyer’s fees.
If I file an appeal, will I get a copy of the documents the Department of Finance sends to the Commission?
Yes. The Commission will provide you with a copy of the documents filed by the Department of Finance. Likewise, the Department of Finance is entitled to a copy of the documents that you file with the Commission.
I have filed an appeal of my property tax assessment with the Commission. Do I have to go to an appeal hearing right away?
Most often, assessment appeals may be resolved without going to a hearing. The appeal may be held in abeyance [on hold] to allow an opportunity for the parties to attempt to resolve your assessment concerns. If you reach a resolution with Department of Finance, you should then contact the Commission to withdraw your appeal. If, however, your assessment remains unresolved, you may then ask the Commission to set a hearing date.
How much time will it take for the Commission to hear my appeal?
The length of the appeal process varies depending upon several factors including:
- the length of time it takes for the Commission to receive requested file information;
- the complexity of the issues;
- the availability of a hearing date for which the parties are available; and
- whether the parties request and agree on an abeyance, which effectively places the appeal process on hold.
Can I present photographs to the Commission as part of my evidence?
Yes. If possible, photographs shall be provided to the Commission with sufficient copies for all parties.
Can my appeal hearing be postponed?
Yes, with the approval of the Commission and for special reasons such as illness or severe weather. It is important to contact the Commission as soon as possible so that the other parties can be notified.
How long will my hearing last?
It depends on the matter. Some appeals take less than a complete morning, while others may take a whole day. A very complex hearing may require two or more days.
The Commission heard my appeal a week ago and I just thought of something important to add concerning my appeal. Can I send a letter containing this information to the Commission?
No, unless the Commission requests written submissions or further information from the parties following the hearing, the Commission makes its decision based on the evidence and submissions presented at the hearing. It is important to carefully prepare for the hearing.
How long will I have to wait for the written decision?
The time period for the written decision to be issued depends upon the complexity of the matters under appeal and the Commission’s schedule.
What can I do if I don’t agree with the Commission’s decision?
You can seek a review or appeal. Attached to the Commission’s Order is a Notice explaining the procedure to follow.
I have filed an appeal with the Commission, but the Department of Finance has since agreed to a lower assessment and I am satisfied. Is there anything further that I need to do?
Yes. Contact the Commission to advise that you have reached a satisfactory settlement and that you wish to withdraw your appeal. The Commission will advise the Department of Finance that your appeal has been withdrawn and then your appeal file will be closed.
Who can I contact at the Commission?
If you have any questions concerning Real Property Assessment Act appeals, please contact
Philip J. Rafuse, Appeals Administrator
Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission
5th Floor, National Bank Tower
134 Kent Street, PO Box 577
Charlottetown PE, C1A 7L1
Tel (902) 892-3501
PEI toll-free 1-800-501-6268
Fax (902) 566-4076