Central Alberta Regional Assessment Review Board

To learn more about the Board's response to the COVID-19 pandemic click here.

RARB COVID Procedural Rules (pdf)

The mission of Assessment Review Boards in Alberta is to provide timely, independent, quasi-judicial complaint adjudication to all Parties in assessment matters in a manner that yields fairness and equity consistent within the authority of the Municipal Government Act. They are responsible for making decisions regarding property assessment complaints.

There are two types of assessment review boards that hear complaints depending on the type of property:

  • Local Assessment Review Board (LARB) – members of this board are appointed by the Regional Review Committee to hear assessment complaints about farmland and residential property with up to three dwelling units.
  • Composite Assessment Review Board (CARB) - two members of this board are appointed by the Regional Review Committee and one member is appointed by the Minister of Municipal Affairs. This board hears complaints about residential property with four or more dwelling units and non-residential property.

For more information please contact the Regional Assessment Review Board.

Phone: 403-356-8907
Email:
regionalarb@reddeer.ca

Types of Hearings

In-Person Hearings – Suspended at this time in an effort to maintain physical distancing. The Board will monitor the situation and re-evaluate as necessary in accordance with the recommendations from Alberta Health Services.

Written Hearings – if the Parties have elected a written hearing, they will not appear before the Board. Although the hearing date is set the Parties will not be in attendance to the hearing. The decision will strictly be based on the Board’s review of the written submissions received by the Board.

Electronic Hearings – Teleconference or Video Conference – At time of scheduling the Parties must identify their preference if wishing to attend electronically. The Notice of Hearing will identify the agreed upon platform. The Parties will be in attendance to the hearing electronically to provide oral arguments.

Filing a Complaint

Each year the Assessor for each Municipality mails out Property Assessment Notices or a combined Notice of Assessment and Property Tax. This is your opportunity to review the assessed value of property and to address any concerns prior to receiving your Property Tax Bill.

Assessment complaints must be received by the final date for complaint indicated on your Notice (within 60 days of the date of mailing). The complaint and correct filing fee must be received at the address indicated on the Notice no later than this final date or the complaint is not valid and the Board will not hear the complaint. An assessment complaint is not an appeal for lower taxes or tax rates.

The Alberta Municipal Affairs website also provides online information in the form of various guides, frequently asked questions, and other resources.

If you have any questions about filing a complaint, contact the Board Clerk. The Board Clerk is located in the Legislative Services Department, 2nd Floor, 4914 48 Avenue, Red Deer.

Phone: 403-356-8907
Email:
regionalarb@reddeer.ca

Before you file an assessment complaint

Before filing a complaint/appeal, please discuss your concerns with the Assessor. They may be able to make corrections or make an appointment to visit your property.

Be proactive, compare your assessment with other assessments of similar properties in your area, the value shown on your assessment notice is based on the estimated value of your property on July 1 in the previous year. Remember that not all properties are created equal, just because you are in the same neighborhood doesn’t mean you are comparing apples to apples; you need to do your research.

Using the basic information from your Notice look at the recent sale prices of properties that are comparable to yours in terms of the following:

  • Location
  • Property size, Landscaping, Services
  • House size, age, type, basement finish, fireplaces etc.
  • Garage
  • Repairs required

If after doing so you feel your concern is unresolved, a formal complaint may be filed against your assessment with the Board.

Tip

To avoid penalties you must pay your taxes by the due date even if you have filed a complaint.

Is there a filing fee?

Each Municipality sets their own complaint filing fees. The correct filing fee must be received with a completed Assessment Review Board Complaint Form found on the Municipal Affairs Website (in pdf format) with the date indicated on your Notice.

If for any reason the required filing fee is not received by the final date to file a complaint, the Clerk will inform the Board of the issue as a preliminary matter.

Where can I find the required forms?

Both forms are also available on the Municipal Affairs Website (in pdf format).

The required forms must be completed as prescribed. Significant errors could lead to the complaint being dismissed as invalid.

Please note:

It is important to complete all fields on the complaint form that are relevant to your property.  This will help the Board Clerk schedule the appropriate amount of time for your hearing.

The Assessment Review Board must not hear any matter regarding an issue that is not identified on the complaint form. This means you cannot introduce new evidence or issues at the hearing that have not been previously disclosed.

  • Your complaint must explain why you think the information or assessed value shown on your Notice is incorrect.
  • If you disagree with the assessed value, you must include what you believe the assessed value should be.
  • Your complaint must be submitted to the address shown on the Notice along with the required filing fee.
  • The complaint will then be forwarded to the RARB Board Clerk for further handling, until the complaint proceeds to a scheduled hearing or is withdrawn.
Can someone act on my behalf?

You have the option of self-representing, having a family member or friend acting on your behalf or using a professional tax agent. If there is a fee associated with this service you must complete an Assessment Complaint Agent Authorization Form found on the Municipal Affairs Website (in pdf format) and include it with the complaint.

How do I withdraw my complaint?

You may withdraw your complaint by completing the Complaint Withdrawal Form (pdf) in advance of the scheduled hearing.

If there is a change to the assessed value for any reason, the completed Complaint Withdrawal Form (pdf)  must be filed with the Board including the required supporting documents (i.e. Revised Assessment Notice) at least one day prior to the hearing date or the complaint MUST proceed to the Board.

Will my filing fee be refunded?

If there has been a change in the assessment that is in favour of the Complainant, the filing fee is refunded by the Municipality who received the complaint.

A change to the assessment value in favour of the Complainant may be the result of either;

  1. withdrawn complaint, or
  2. a hearing decision.

If there has been no change in the assessment the filing fee may be refunded by the Municipality who received the complaint.

No change to the assessment value may be the result of either;

  1. withdrawn complaint, or
  2. a hearing decision.
I filed an assessment complaint, what happens next?

Hearings will be scheduled with the Board and the Parties based on the applicable legislation. The Board Clerk will provide you with an official Notice of Hearing, this notice will be provided to the Complainant (person that filed the complaint), Property Owner and Agent (where applicable). The notice will identify the type of complaint filed (LARB or CARB) and advise you of the date, time and location of your hearing based on the legislation.

Your Notice of Hearing also shows the deadlines for disclosure. The Board will not hear evidence that has not been properly disclosed.

Alberta Municipal Affairs publications are available to assist individuals with the complainant process and understanding how Alberta’s property assessment and taxation system works. 

Disclosure
Prior to the scheduled hearing date, both Parties to the complaint must submit evidence to each other and the Assessment Review Board in accordance with the legislated guidelines. The timelines for submission are set out in the legislation and are based on which Board will hear the complaint. 

There are two types of Assessment Review Boards that hear complaints (appeals) related to Property Assessments:

Local Assessment Review Board (LARB)

  • Single Family Residential
  • Farmland

Disclosure Dates

  • Complainant must provide full disclosure at least 21 days before the scheduled hearing date.
  • Respondent must provide full disclosure at least 7 days before the scheduled hearing date.
  • Complainant must provide any rebuttal at least 3 days before the scheduled hearing date.

Composite Assessment Review Board (CARB) 

  • Multi-Family (4 units or more)
  • Non-Residential (Commercial) properties

Disclosure Dates

  • Complainant must provide full disclosure at least 42 days before the scheduled hearing date.
  • Respondent must provide full disclosure at least 14 days before the scheduled hearing date.
  • Complainant must provide any rebuttal at least 7 days before the scheduled hearing date.

More information about disclosure is available on the Alberta Municipal Affairs website.

What type of disclosure (information/evidence) should I submit?

When you file a complaint with the Assessment Review Board you are required to provide evidence in advance of your hearing to support your claim. The Board Clerk can provide information regarding the process to assist you, however they are unable to offer an opinion or advice regarding the merit of your complaint. Your goal is to demonstrate that the assessment on your property is not a fair estimate of the market value of your property in comparison to other similar properties.

Listed below are some ideas to think about when gathering information for your Assessment Review Board hearing:

  • Sales data on properties similar to yours (size, age, location) that sold before July 1 of the previous year.
  • Estimates of your property’s value in the current market from a professional appraiser, assessor or realtor.
  • Repair estimates from a reputable contractor for physical problems (e.g., cracked foundation, roof leaks, etc.). Keep in mind not every defect will lower the value of your property, such as defects that result from normal wear and tear.
  • In presenting comparisons between your property and other similar and/or comparison properties, compare features such as location, lot and building sizes, age, structure type and quality services, basement (finished or unfinished), garage/carports, outbuildings, repairs and environmental problems.
  • Photographs of your property or business and other properties or businesses you are using as comparisons can be useful to establish whether a comparable is similar (inferior or superior). This is especially important if condition or quality is an issue.
  • For apartment condominium units, compare additional features such as the floor your unit is on, view, corner, inside or end unit, floor plan, parking, elevators and building services.
  • In presenting comparisons between your business and other businesses in similar premises; describe the square footage, net rent, location, age, use and quality of the buildings where the businesses are located.
  • Maps are helpful to locate properties used in comparisons.
  • Use a computer spreadsheet program to create your comparison chart or prepare one by hand.
  • You may have witnesses appear on your behalf if you wish.

You will need enough evidence to convince the Board that your assessment is not a fair estimate of the market value of your property. Your assessment should reflect:

  • What your property may have sold for in an open market on July 1 of the previous year (valuation date).
  • The condition of your property on December 31 of the previous year (condition date).

Hearings of the Board are open to the public and documents filed as evidence in respect of a complaint will form part of a public record.

How do I submit disclosure (evidence)?

Prior to the hearing date, both the Complainant (the person that filed the complaint) and the Respondent (the Assessor) must submit to each other, and to the Board, all evidence and information they wish to use to support their position. Both Complainant and Respondent must submit their evidence and information by the legislated deadlines which is found on your Notice of Hearing. Disclosure includes: 

  • Relevant facts that support your complaint
  • Documents you want to use at the hearing (with consecutive page numbers clearly marked on each page)
  • A list of witnesses who will give evidence at the hearing
  • A written summary of oral testimony, including a signed witness report for each witness
  • Any other information or written arguments you intend to rely on

Evidence must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. on the disclosure deadline indicated on the front of the Notice of Hearing (if filing in-person, disclosure documents must be delivered during office hours). If filing by email, disclosure documents should be one pdf file, have consecutive page numbers and have no passwords or other security features enabled. Failure to comply with the rules governing disclosure due dates may result in your complaint being dismissed.

What happens at the hearing?

Normally three panel members will hear your complaint. One member will act as the Presiding Officer. You may call the Presiding Officer "Mr. Chair" or "Madam Chair" and the side members by their last names.

The Presiding Officer will start by explaining the hearing process. Usually, the process is as follows:

  • The Board will address any preliminary matters. This includes questions about procedures, disclosure issues and requests to reschedule.
  • As the Complainant (person who filed the complaint) you will be asked to present your case first.
  • You may then present your evidence. Be as specific as possible. Explain why you think the assessment is incorrect. Describe the evidence that supports your case. Make your comments to the Presiding Officer, not to other Parties or the other Board members.
  • Then the Respondent (Assessor) may question you and present information in defense of the assessment. You will also have a chance to ask questions of the Respondent.
  • When all the evidence has been presented, you and the Respondent may present final arguments to the Board. This includes a summary of your case and the arguments supporting them.
  • The Board members may ask questions at any time.

Remember that you must present enough evidence to convince the Board that your assessment is incorrect or unfair.

The Board will consider the evidence you submitted along with the evidence provided by the Respondent to decide if the current year assessment is fair and equitable compared to other similar properties or similar business premises in the neighbourhood/community.

The Board cannot make decisions concerning your rate of taxation, nor can it help you obtain Municipal services.

Postponement and Adjournment

In exceptional circumstances, the Board may consider rescheduling your hearing. A request to reschedule must be in writing. The request must include the following:

  • Tax roll number
  • Daytime phone numbers and email addresses
  • Detailed reasons why the rescheduling is necessary
  • Hearing dates requested
  • Dates when you are unavailable to attend a hearing
  • Signed consent of the other Parties (if available)

If granted, the Board will schedule a new hearing date. If denied, the hearing will proceed as scheduled.

Attendance

We recommend that you attend your hearing as your complaint is stronger if you are present. You can question witnesses, answer questions and respond to arguments or objections made.

If you do not attend the hearing, it will still take place. The Board will review the information you have disclosed (written submissions/evidence).

If you would like to attend someone else’s hearing as an observer, please contact our office. 

Hearing Decision

You will receive a copy of the Board’s decision (by email and regular mail) 30 days after the date the hearing has closed.

What happens if I do not agree with the Board’s decision?

If you do not agree with the decision of the Board you have the right to apply to the Court of Queen’s Bench for judicial review of the decision.

Section 470 of the Municipal Government Act governs the review of Board Decisions. Both Parties have the right to apply for judicial review of the decision.