Property Assessment Appeals Procedure Improved in Nova Scotia

The province is proposing Nova Scotia property owners have access to sales information and an improved property assessment system with amendments to the Municipal Government Act and the Assessment Act.

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister John MacDonell introduced the amendments on May 2.

An amendment to the Municipal Government Act would allow publishing real estate sales prices and related information from deed transfer tax affidavits. It is now available only on a limited basis.

Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada that does not allow government to publish property sales prices. This amendment will change that and make property transactions and assessment appeals much more transparent.

The Assessment Act amendments would extend the time ratepayers have to appeal property assessments. Currently, property owners have 21 days to appeal after assessment notices are mailed. The amendment would extend that to 31 days.

The time allowed to file appeals of amended or confirmed assessments would also increase, from 7 days to 14.

The legislation will also change the name of the Regional Assessment Appeal Court to the Nova Scotia Assessment Appeal Tribunal and clarify its authority.

The tribunal will be able to require disclosure from appellants or assessors when hearing appeals. Appellants will also be given 14 days notice of a hearing rather than 6 given for the Regional Assessment Appeal Court.

The changes are expected to be implemented in time for the assessments in 2013.