Under the Assessment Act, the first level of appeal is to the Nova Scotia Assessment Appeal Tribunal (the "NSAAT"). The NSAAT and the Property Valuation Services Corporation (the "P.V.S.C.") have no connection with the Board. Information about the assessment process, and appeals to the NSAAT, can be found on the P.V.S.C. website.
Decisions of the NSAAT may be appealed to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (the "NSUARB" or "Board").
The taxation of land and buildings is based upon their assessed value, which is determined by the P.V.S.C. Section 42(1) of the Assessment Act provides that all property shall be assessed at its market value, such value being the amount which, in the opinion of an assessor, would be paid if it were sold in the open market by a willing seller to a willing buyer (on a convenient reference date chosen by the P.V.S.C. known as the "base date"). The assessor must have regard to the assessment of other properties in the municipality so as to ensure that taxation falls in a uniform manner upon all residential and resource property and in a uniform manner upon all commercial property in the municipality (commonly referred to as "uniformity").
The P.V.S.C. is a not-for-profit corporation created by provincial statute and has been given the responsibility of performing the assessment function on behalf of Nova Scotia's 55 municipalities. It also serves the functions of the Director of Assessment under the Assessment Act.
The Assessment Act permits appeals of assessments by property owners, and others (including municipal governments), if they think an assessment valuation is wrong (i.e., too high or too low), that it is wrongly classified (i.e., as commercial, residential, or resource), or that the property was wrongly inserted or omitted from the assessment roll.
In order to start an appeal, a notice of appeal must be actually received by the NSUARB within the strict time limits described in section 86(1) of the Act, being within thirty days from the date the NSAAT decision was mailed to the taxpayer.
Section 86(2) of the Act requires that the notice of appeal set out "the specific matters that are the subject of the appeal," the "component of the assessment" being appealed, and "the specific reason for the appeal."
The Board’s Assessment Appeal Rules contain a notice of appeal form and outline the requirements relating to practice and procedure for assessment appeals to the NSUARB. The Assessment Act and the Assessment Appeal Rules can be accessed through the Statutes, Rules & Regulations page.
The Board has also made provision for Alternative Dispute Resolution ("ADR") in s. 16 of the Assessment Appeal Rules, which describes the conduct of an Informal Settlement Conference. If you wish to explore whether this might be appropriate in your appeal, contact the Board’s Appeals Officer/Clerk.
For further information on the conduct of an appeal, please visit the Assessment User Guide.
Following the hearing, the Board is required to issue a written decision giving reasons for its disposition of the matter. A copy of the decision will be sent to each party. Past assessment decisions of the Board can be accessed through the Decision Archive section.