Some commercial property owners in Manitoba will face higher property taxes this year after the province delayed property assessments to 2023.
An amendment extends the present assessment cycle from two to three years and is a temporary measure, with a return to a two-year cycle as of 2023, according to the province.
But changing the cycle has significant potential consequences for taxpayers hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, a tax expert explained.
As a result of the reassessment delay, the valuation date for the 2022 property assessments remains April 1, 2018.
“Due to the delay, property assessments in Manitoba will not reflect any negative impact of the pandemic known by April 1, 2020 until the 2023 assessment,” noted Rod Slaughter, vice president of property tax at Altus Group.
Slaughter, who is based in Winnipeg, said that retail and hotel owners are among those that may have been “severely impacted” by the pandemic, with real estate values falling as a result.
These property owners, he said, will still be assessed at their full 2018 assessed value as if no such impact occurred.
“While some municipalities, including the City of Winnipeg, announced property tax deferrals in response to the substantial economic downturn, property tax abatements have not to date been offered and there is currently no indication these are expected to be announced in the future,” Slaughter said in a recent blog.
Affected taxpayers should consider all options for achieving a fair property valuation and tax relief, according to Altus Group.
“Among other factors, changes to the physical characteristics of the property, certain building closures and other damage to property may enable taxpayers to apply for property tax relief prior to the completion of the 2023 general assessment,” Slaughter suggested.