Board of Revision Decisions
Res #: 20-05M
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency
Resolution No. 20-05M
WHEREAS, the Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency (SAMA) has a mandate to provide for a fair, equitable and defensible assessment of all properties in Saskatchewan; and
WHEREAS, legislation provides that the Secretary of a Municipal Board of Revision be appointed by council; and
WHEREAS, the local Board of Revision Secretary has the job of determining whether a submitted appeal is worthy (i.e. has a valid reason and supportive evidence) of being heard at a Board of Revision hearing in any year; and
WHEREAS, SAMA staff often contacts the appellant prior to the hearing process to discredit their appeal and promote SAMA’s defense to the appeal in an effort to have the appellant withdraw their appeal prior to it being heard by the Board of Revision;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that SAMA discontinue the practice of contacting appellants between the time of the filing of appeals and the Board of Revision hearing in order to discredit such appeals and promote a defense of the assessments being appealed, SAMA’s goal being to have appellants withdraw their appeals prior to the hearing date, and that the decision of the local Board of Revision Secretary that an appeal be given a fair hearing before the Board of Revision, should the Secretary deem the appeal worthy, be upheld by SAMA without interference; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution be forwarded to the next SAMA Annual Meeting by SARM for consideration.
Response from the Honourable Len Taylor, Minister of Government Relations:
The ability to reach an agreement to adjust an assessment is intended to streamline and simplify the appeal process for appellants and reduce costs both for appellants and municipalities. Current legislation enables and even encourages a property owner, the agency responsible for providing assessment and the municipal assessor to discuss the appeal of a property's assessment prior to a Board of Revision hearing, to enable the parties to reach an agreement to settle the matter in dispute without a hearing.
These provisions have been in legislation for some time and have been continued and clarified in the new Municipalities Act (MA) at the request of the municipal sector, who have also expressed concerns with requiring a Board of Revision to be convened even though agreement has been reached among all the parties to an appeal, to resolve the matter without a hearing. An appellant is not obligated to discuss his or her appeal with an assessor or assessment service provider or to reach an agreement regarding the property's assessment. If no agreement can be reached, the appellant retains his/her right to continue with an appeal hearing. Concerns with SAMA's policies and practices regarding contacting appellants, should be brought to the SAMA board of directors for consideration. SARM's resolution provides that this matter be forwarded to the next SAMA Annual Meeting for consideration. Government Relations concurs with this approach.