NB realtors, government watchdog calling on property assessment changes
The 2,400 property tax assessments estimated by the government to have been made in error has started a conversation about the way the system is run and whether or not it should be overhauled.
With thousands of properties admittedly receiving incorrect assessments, the provincial government is citing human error as the culprit.
“There’s always the possibility of errors,” said Environment and Local Government Minister Serge Rousselle. “We’re working very hard to make the less errors possible.
“Assessment is not an easy task.”
Rousselle said every year thousands of property assessments are done incorrectly and that this year the number is actually substantially lower than years previous.
The New Brunswick Real Estate Association (NBREA) doesn’t think it’s a matter that should remain commonplace.
“We’re not really sure at this point where the assessed values are derived from,” explained Kari McBride, past president of the NBREA. “As realtors on a daily basis we explain to home owners, home buyers and home sellers that the assessed value is not necessarily a true depiction of the home.
“The way the whole tax system is run right now needs to be reconstructed.”
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation thinks overhauling the system should start by taking the government out of the equation.
“The whole mess with the property tax assessments demands change,” said Kevin Lacey, the Federation’s Atlantic director. “Two things needs to happen: a property assessment cap needs to be brought in place … and the second is that we need an independent assessment organization to do the assessments to ensure they’re both accountable and fair for all taxpayers.”
Lacey said he believes keeping the government at arm’s length would ensure the work being done on property assessments would be held to a higher standard than it currently is.
“An independent organization would be accountable to the taxpayers paying for it rather than a minister in Fredericton,” he said.
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