1998 Legislative Session: 3rd Session, 36th Parliament
THIRD READING


The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.


Certified correct as passed Third Reading on the 30th day of July, 1998
Ian D. Izard, Law Clerk


HONOURABLE JENNY KWAN
MINISTER OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS

 

BILL 21 -- 1998

ASSESSMENT AMENDMENT ACT, 1998

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, enacts as follows:

1 Section 1 (1) of the Assessment Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 20, is amended

(a) by repealing the definitions of "assessment roll" and "minister",

(b) in the definition of "board" by striking out "Assessment Appeal Board" and substituting "property assessment appeal board", and

(c) by adding the following definitions:

"assessment roll" includes a supplementary assessment roll and any amendments made under sections 42, 63 and 65 (10);

"file", in relation to a notice or record required to be filed with an assessor, the board or the commissioner, includes mail to or leave with the assessor, board or commissioner or deposit in the mail receptacle at their office;

"manufactured home" means a manufactured home to which the Manufactured Home Tax Act applies;

"review panel" means a property assessment review panel appointed under section 31; .

2 Section 1 (2) is amended by striking out "by a regulation under section 22 (1) (a) or 69 (2) (d):" and substituting "by a regulation under section 22 (1) (a) or 74 (2) (d):".

3 Sections 7 and 8 are repealed and the following substituted:

Provision of assessment rolls to municipalities and regional districts

7 (1) On completing the assessment roll under section 3, the assessor must make a statutory declaration in the form and manner prescribed by the regulations made under the Assessment Authority Act.

(2) The assessor must provide the following, as soon as they become available, to the appropriate municipality or regional district:

(a) the assessment roll completed under section 3;

(b) the assessment roll authenticated under section 42 (2);

(c) an amendment to the assessment roll ordered or directed under section 63 or 65 (10).

(3) Despite section 69 (1), the assessment rolls and amendments referred to in subsection (2) of this section must be provided to the municipality or regional district free of charge.

Assessment roll available for inspection

8 (1) An assessor must maintain the assessment roll for the geographic area assigned to that assessor by the commissioner.

(2) The assessment roll referred to in subsection (1) must be

(a) available for public inspection during regular business hours at the office of that assessor, and

(b) in the format and presented in the manner prescribed by regulation.

4 Section 10 is repealed and the following substituted:

Errors and omissions in completed assessment roll

10 (1) In accordance with section 34, the assessor must notify a review panel of all errors or omissions in the assessment roll completed under section 3.

(2) The assessor must not make changes to the completed assessment roll without the consent of the review panel.

(3) Without limiting subsection (1), the assessor must give notice to the review panel in respect of any of the following circumstances:

(a) because of a change of ownership that occurs after November 30 and before the following January 1 and that is recorded in the records of the land title office before that January 1,

(i) land or improvements or both that were not previously liable to taxation become liable to taxation, or

(ii) land or improvements or both that were previously liable to taxation cease to be liable to taxation;

(b) after October 31 and before the following January 1, a manufactured home is moved to a new location or destroyed;

(c) after October 31 and before the following January 1, a manufactured home is placed on land that has been assessed or the home is purchased by the owner of land that has been assessed;

(d) after November 30 and before the following January 1, land or improvements or both are transferred to or from the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority and the transfer is recorded in the records of the land title office before that January 1;

(e) land or improvements or both that are owned by the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority are held or occupied by another person, whose interest begins or ends after November 30 and before the following January 1;

(f) land or improvements or both that are owned by the British Columbia Railway Company or by its subsidiary are held or occupied by another person, whose interest begins or ends after November 30 and before the following January 1;

(g) land or improvements or both that are referred to in section 26, 27 or 28 are held or occupied by a person other than the owner of the fee simple, and the interest of the holder or occupier begins or ends after November 30 and before the following January 1.

5 Section 11 is amended

(a) by striking out "the Court of Revision under section 40 is, unless changed or amended under section 12, 62 or 64," and substituting "a review panel under section 42 is, unless changed or amended under section 12, 63 or 65 (10)," , and

(b) in paragraph (b) by striking out "Court of Revision." and substituting "review panel."

6 Section 12 is amended

(a) by repealing subsection (1),

(b) in subsection (4) by striking out "Despite sections 10, 11 and 40, and in addition to supplementary assessments under subsections (2) and (3), the commissioner may, at any time before December 31 of the year following the return of the completed assessment roll under section 7," and substituting "Despite sections 10, 11 and 42, and in addition to supplementary assessments under subsections (2) and (3), the commissioner may, at any time before December 31 of the year following completion of the assessment roll under section 3,", and

(c) in subsection (5) by striking out "to a change or amendment in the assessment roll ordered or directed by the board under section 62 or made as a result of a decision of the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal under section 64." and substituting "to an amendment in the assessment roll ordered or directed by the board under section 63 or 65 (10)."

7 Section 13 (2) is repealed and the following substituted:

(2) On receipt of a notice of complaint under section 33 in respect of a supplementary assessment roll, the assessor must

(a) record receipt of the notice, and

(b) ensure the complaint is brought before a review panel at the next sitting of review panels.

8 Section 15 (3) is repealed and the following substituted:

(3) A person who does not provide information as required by notice under subsection (2) commits an offence.

9 Section 16 is amended

(a) in subsection (3) by striking out "Court of Revision, a member of the board or any other person who has custody or control of information or records obtained under this Act" and substituting "review panel, a member of the board or any other person who has custody or control of information or records obtained or created under this Act",

(b) in subsection (3) (b) by striking out "Court of Revision," and substituting "review panel,",

(c) in subsection (3) (d) by striking out "if permitted by" and substituting "in accordance with a", and

(d) in subsection (6) by striking out "permitting the disclosure of information respecting" and substituting "respecting the disclosure of information obtained or created under this Act, including, without limitation, information respecting".

10 Section 21 is amended

(a) in subsection (4) by striking out "section 69 (2) (f)." and substituting "section 74 (2) (f).",

(b) in subsections (5) and (7) by striking out "served on" and substituting "filed with",

(c) by repealing subsection (8) and substituting the following:

(8) For the purposes of an appeal under this section, sections 50 (4) (b) to (g) and (5), 52 (2) to (4), 53 to 56 and 58 to 62 and Part 7 apply with all necessary changes. , and

(d) in subsection (14) by striking out "under section 69 (2) (e)." and substituting "under section 74 (2) (e)."

11 Section 22 (1) (c) is amended by striking out "under section 69 (2) (e)." and substituting "under section 74 (2) (e)."

12 Parts 4 to 9 are repealed and the following Parts are substituted:

Part 4 -- Property Assessment Review Panels

Appointment of property assessment review panels

31 (1) The minister must appoint property assessment review panels to review and consider the annual assessments of land and improvements in British Columbia.

(2) Each review panel consists of 3 members, one of whom must be designated by the minister as chair.

(3) The minister may determine the remuneration and expenses payable to the members of a review panel and the terms of their appointment.

(4) If a member of a review panel resigns or is otherwise unable to complete the term of his or her appointment, the minister may appoint a person to replace the member for the balance of that term.

(5) A member of a review panel must faithfully, honestly and impartially perform his or her duties and must not, except in the proper performance of those duties, disclose to any person any information obtained as a member.

Complaints respecting completed assessment roll

32 (1) Subject to the requirements in section 33, a person may make a complaint against an individual entry in an assessment roll on any of the following grounds:

(a) there is an error or omission respecting the name of a person in the assessment roll;

(b) there is an error or omission respecting land or improvements, or both land and improvements, in the assessment roll;

(c) land or improvements, or both land and improvements, are not assessed at actual value;

(d) land or improvements, or both land and improvements, have been improperly classified;

(e) an exemption has been improperly allowed or disallowed.

(2) Subject to the requirements in section 33, the Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations or the commissioner may make a complaint against all or any part of the completed assessment roll, based on any of the grounds specified in subsection (1) of this section.

(3) Subject to the requirements in section 33, a local government may make a complaint against all or any part of the completed assessment roll relating to property in the municipality or regional district, as the case may be, based on any of the grounds specified in subsection (1) of this section.

(4) Subject to the requirements in section 33, an assessor may make a complaint against all or any part of the assessment roll completed by the assessor, based on any of the grounds specified in subsection (1) of this section.

(5) Without limiting subsections (2) to (4), complaints under those subsections may be in respect of a class, category or type of property or interest in land or improvements, or both land and improvements.

Notice of complaint

33 (1) A person who wishes to make a complaint under section 32 must file notice of the complaint with the assessor responsible for the assessment that is the subject of the complaint.

(2) The notice of complaint must be filed with the assessor no later than January 31 of the year following the year in which the assessment roll is completed under section 3 or changed or amended under section 12, as the case may be.

(3) The notice of complaint must

(a) clearly identify the property in respect of which the complaint is made,

(b) include the full name of the complainant and a telephone number at which the complainant may be contacted during regular business hours,

(c) indicate whether or not the complainant is the owner of the property to which the complaint relates,

(d) if the complainant has an agent to act on the complainant's behalf in respect of the complaint, include the full name of the agent and a telephone number at which the agent may be contacted during regular business hours,

(e) include an address for delivery of any notices in respect of the complaint,

(f) state the grounds on which the complaint is based under section 32 (1), and

(g) include any other prescribed information.

Assessor recommendations

34 Before March 16 of each year, an assessor must, for the purpose of correcting an error or omission under section 10, recommend to a review panel changes to the assessment roll completed by the assessor.

Notice of hearing

35 (1) On receiving a complaint under section 33 (1), the assessor must

(a) set a time for a hearing of the complaint by a review panel before March 16,

(b) deliver notice of the hearing to the complainant's address for delivery, and

(c) if the complainant is not the owner of the property in respect of which the complaint is made, deliver notice of the hearing to each owner of that property.

(2) Despite subsection (1) (c), if the complaint is made under section 32 (2), (3) or (4), the requirement set out in subsection (1) (c) of this section is satisfied by publication of notice of the hearing in 2 current issues of a newspaper circulating in the municipality or rural area in which the property that is the subject of the complaint is located.

(3) An assessor is not required to deliver notice of the hearing to the owner of a property affected by a recommendation for change under section 34 if

(a) the assessor has obtained consent from an owner of the property for making that recommendation, or

(b) the recommendation

(i) results in a decrease in the assessed value of the property,

(ii) does not change the classification of the property, and

(iii) does not result in the removal of an exemption.

(4) If the assessor is unable to obtain consent for the recommendation under subsection (3) (a), the assessor must deliver to the owner notice of the hearing.

(5) The notice referred to in subsection (4) must be delivered to the owner at least 5 days before the hearing of the recommendation.

(6) A notice under this section must include a statement that the recipient may file written submissions instead of appearing at the hearing.

Daily schedule

36 (1) The daily schedule of matters for review and consideration by a review panel, as set by the assessor, must be posted at the place where the review panel is to meet.

(2) The review panel must proceed to deal with complaints and assessor recommendations in accordance with that schedule, unless the review panel considers a change in the schedule necessary and desirable in the circumstances.

Notice of withdrawal

37 (1) A complainant may apply to withdraw a complaint made under section 33 by filing with the assessor a notice of withdrawal.

(2) The review panel may summarily dismiss the complaint referred to in subsection (1) on consent of the assessor.

(3) No appeal lies under section 50 (1) in respect of summary dismissal of a complaint under subsection (2) of this section.

Duties and powers of review panels

38 (1) A review panel may review and consider the assessment roll and the individual entries made in it to ensure accuracy and that assessments are at actual value applied in a consistent manner in the municipality or rural area.

(2) For the purpose of subsection (1), a review panel

(a) may investigate the assessment roll and the individual entries made in it, whether or not the investigation is based on a complaint or an assessor recommendation,

(b) must adjudicate the matters set for its consideration under section 36,

(c) when considering whether land or improvements are assessed at actual value, must consider the total assessed value of the land and improvements together, and

(d) may direct amendments to be made to the assessment roll, subject to the requirements of subsections (4) to (6).

(3) Despite subsection (2) (b), the review panel may

(a) refuse to adjudicate a matter set for its consideration if the notice of complaint was not filed in accordance with section 33 (2), and

(b) summarily dismiss a matter set for its consideration if a notice of withdrawal is filed in accordance with section 37.

(4) A review panel must

(a) before March 16 complete

(i) any investigation referred to in subsection (2) (a), and

(ii) adjudication of the matters set for its consideration under section 36, and

(b) before April 1 authenticate the assessment roll as amended.

(5) If the review panel intends to direct that an amendment be made that is not based on a complaint or on an assessor recommendation and the amendment would

(a) increase the assessed value of the property,

(b) change the classification of the property, or

(c) result in the removal of an exemption,

the review panel must order the assessor to set a hearing in respect of the proposed amendment, giving the owner of the affected property an opportunity to make submissions.

(6) For the purposes of subsection (5), the assessor must, at least 5 days before the hearing, deliver to the owner of the affected property a notice of the hearing and the notice must include

(a) particulars of the proposed amendment, and

(b) a statement that the owner may file written submissions instead of appearing at the hearing.

(7) The chair of the review panel may

(a) determine the procedures to be followed at proceedings of the review panel,

(b) administer an oath or solemn affirmation to a person or witness before his or her evidence is taken, and

(c) for the purposes of section 36 (2), but subject to the requirement of subsection (4) (a) of this section, adjourn the hearings from day to day or from time to time and from place to place within the geographic area of the review panel's jurisdiction.

(8) The chair of the review panel must make a record of a summary dismissal under section 37, a refusal to adjudicate a matter under section 38 (3) (a) and any decision made in relation to an investigation, adjudication or direction by the review panel.

(9) The chair of the review panel must provide the assessor with information necessary to

(a) amend the assessment roll in accordance with a decision referred to in subsection (8), and

(b) provide sufficient notice under section 41 (1).

Power to compel witnesses

39 (1) The chair of a review panel has the same power as the Supreme Court has for the trial of civil actions

(a) to summon and enforce the attendance of witnesses,

(b) to compel witnesses to give evidence on oath or solemn affirmation or in any other manner, and

(c) to compel witnesses to produce records or other things.

(2) The failure or refusal of a person summoned as a witness

(a) to attend a hearing,

(b) to take an oath or solemn affirmation,

(c) to answer questions, or

(d) to produce the records or things in his or her custody or possession,

makes the person, on application to the Supreme Court by the chair of the review panel, liable to be committed for contempt as if in breach of an order or judgment of the Supreme Court.

Burden of proof

40 In a hearing before the review panel, the burden of proof is

(a) on the complainant, or

(b) if the matter concerns an assessor recommendation under section 34, on the assessor.

Notice of decisions

41 (1) Before April 7 following the sitting of the review panel, the assessor must deliver notice of the decision made by the review panel, or of its refusal to adjudicate the complaint made, to

(a) the owner of the property to which the decision relates, and

(b) the complainant, if the complainant is not the owner.

(2) Notice under subsection (1) must include

(a) a statement that the decision may be appealed to the board in accordance with section 50, and

(b) information on the procedures to be followed for initiating the appeal.

Amendment of assessment roll

42 (1) The assessor must ensure that all amendments are made to the assessment roll in accordance with the directions of the review panel under section 38 (2) (d).

(2) A review panel must review the amended assessment roll and confirm and authenticate the roll by completing and attaching to it a certificate in the prescribed form.

 

Part 5 -- Property Assessment Appeal Board

Property assessment appeal board

43 (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council must establish a property assessment appeal board and appoint at least 6 persons as members of the board.

(2) The board has jurisdiction to determine

(a) appeals from decisions of the review panels under Part 4 or from omissions or refusals by them to adjudicate complaints made under section 33 (1),

(b) appeals from the rates prescribed by the commissioner under section 21,

(c) complaints referred to the board for its determination under the regulations, and

(d) appeals brought under section 23 of the Forest Land Reserve Act.

(3) The Lieutenant Governor in Council must designate one of the members as the chair of the board and one or more members as vice chairs of the board.

(4) The chair is the chief executive officer of the board.

(5) During the illness or absence of the chair, a vice chair may act in the chair's place.

(6) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may determine the terms of appointment, duties and remuneration of members, and the terms, duties and remuneration may be different for different members.

(7) A member of the board must be reimbursed for reasonable travelling and out of pocket expenses necessarily incurred in carrying out his or her duties.

(8) A member of the board must faithfully, honestly and impartially perform his or her duties and must not, except in the proper performance of those duties, disclose to any person any information obtained as a member.

Organization of the board

44 (1) The chair of the board may organize the board into panels, each comprised of one or more members.

(2) If the chair organizes a panel comprised of more than one member, the chair must designate one of those members as chair of the panel.

(3) The members of the board may sit

(a) as a board, or

(b) as a panel of the board,

and 2 or more panels may sit at the same time.

(4) If members of the board sit as a panel,

(a) the panel has the jurisdiction of, and may exercise and perform the powers and duties of, the board, and

(b) an order, decision or action of the panel is an order, decision or action of the board.

(5) The decision of a majority of the members of a panel of the board is a decision of the board and, in the case of a tie, the decision of the chair of the panel governs.

(6) If a member of a panel is unable for any reason to complete the member's duties, the remaining members of that panel may, with consent of the chair of the board, continue to hear and determine the matter, and the vacancy does not invalidate the proceeding.

(7) A member who resigns or whose term expires may continue to sit and make determinations in a proceeding if the member was assigned to the proceeding during office and all determinations made by that member are as effective as though he or she holds office.

Staff of the board

45 (1) The chair of the board may appoint, in accordance with the Public Service Act, employees necessary to enable the board to perform its duties.

(2) For the purpose of the application of the Public Service Act to subsection (1) of this section, the chair is deemed to be a deputy minister.

(3) The chair of the board may retain consultants, investigators, expert witnesses or other persons as may be necessary for the board to discharge its functions under this Act and may establish their remuneration and other terms and conditions of their retainers.

(4) The Public Service Act does not apply to a person retained under subsection (3) of this section.

General board powers

46 (1) The board may make rules of practice and procedure, consistent with this Act and the regulations, for conducting proceedings before it.

(2) Members of the board may, in the performance of their duties,

(a) enter on and inspect any land or improvement,

(b) require the production of any record, and

(c) administer oaths, solemn affirmations or declarations.

(3) The chair may in writing delegate the powers of the board under subsection (2) (a) and (b) to a person designated by the chair.

(4) The board may at any time require the commissioner to provide any information or record, obtained or created under this Act, that is in the custody or control of the British Columbia Assessment Authority, including, without limitation, an authenticated assessment roll and any information respecting an assessment dealt with by a review panel.

(5) Despite section 69 (1), the information or record referred to in subsection (4) of this section must be provided to the board free of charge and in the form and manner required by the board.

Orders and decisions of the board

47 Orders and decisions of the board must be available for public inspection during regular business hours at the office of the board.

Board records

48 A record purporting to be a record of an order or decision of the board is admissible in all courts of British Columbia, without proof of appointment, authority or signature and is evidence of the record.

Report

49 (1) In accordance with a regulation made under section 74 (2) (g) (iv), the board must annually and at other times it considers appropriate, report to the minister on its activities under this Act and the regulations.

(2) The minister must promptly lay the board's annual report before the Legislative Assembly if it is in session and, if the Legislative Assembly is not in session when the report is submitted, within 15 days after the beginning of the next session.

 

Part 6 -- Appeals to the Board from Review Panel Decisions

Appeals to board

50 (1) Subject to the requirements of subsections (2) to (4), a person may appeal to the board if the person is dissatisfied

(a) with a decision of a review panel, or

(b) with an omission or refusal of the review panel to adjudicate a complaint made under section 33 (1).

(2) The appeal must be based on one or more of the grounds referred to in section 32 (1).

(3) A notice of appeal under this section and the prescribed appeal fee must be filed with the board on or before April 30 following the sitting of the review panel.

(4) The notice of appeal must

(a) clearly identify the property in respect of which the appeal is made,

(b) include the full name of the appellant and a telephone number at which the appellant may be contacted during regular business hours,

(c) indicate whether or not the appellant is the owner of the property to which the appeal relates,

(d) if the appellant has an agent to act on the appellant's behalf in respect of the appeal, include the full name of the agent and a telephone number at which the agent may be contacted during regular business hours,

(e) include an address for delivery of any notices in respect of the appeal,

(f) state the grounds on which the appeal is based, and

(g) include any other prescribed information.

(5) If a notice of appeal is deficient or if the prescribed appeal fee is outstanding, the chair of the board may in his or her discretion allow a reasonable period of time within which the notice may be perfected or the fee is to be paid.

Copies of appeal to persons

51 If the board receives a notice of appeal in accordance with section 50, the board must promptly provide a copy of the notice to each of the following who is not the appellant:

(a) the owner of the property;

(b) the assessor;

(c) the municipality or regional district in respect of which the property is located;

(d) the commissioner;

(e) the complainant before the review panel, if that person is not a person specified in paragraphs (a) to (d).

Parties to an appeal

52 (1) The following persons are parties to an appeal under this Part:

(a) the appellant;

(b) the owner of the property, if not the appellant;

(c) the complainant at the review panel, if not the owner or appellant;

(d) the assessor.

(2) The board may direct that any other person who may be affected by the appeal may be added as a party to the appeal, including, without limitation, a local government in respect of which the property is located, the government or the commissioner.

(3) The board may permit a person to take part in an appeal as an intervenor.

(4) An intervenor may take part in an appeal only to the extent permitted by the board.

Disclosure

53 A party to an appeal under this Part may apply to the board for an order requiring a person, at any time before or during a hearing,

(a) to give evidence, or

(b) to produce for the board or for another party a record that is relevant to an issue in the appeal and is in that person's possession or control.

Orders to facilitate just and timely resolutions

54 (1) Subject to any requirements and restrictions in the regulations, the board may make any order the board considers necessary to facilitate just and timely resolutions of appeals.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the board may make orders

(a) requiring the parties to the appeal to file written submissions with the board in respect of all or any part of the proceeding,

(b) respecting the filing of admissions by parties,

(c) respecting disclosure, including, without limitation, prehearing examination of a party on oath or solemn affirmation or by affidavit,

(d) respecting exchange of records by parties,

(e) directing the joining of appeals, issues or parties, and

(f) requiring the parties to attend a confidential, without prejudice, prehearing conference in order to discuss issues in the appeal and the possibility of simplifying or disposing of any such issues, and for this purpose, the board may order that the conference not be open to the public.

(3) If an appellant fails to comply with an order made under this section, the board may dismiss the appeal.

(4) The board may hear, consider or determine an appeal, or conduct any proceeding in an appeal, even though a party to an appeal under this Part fails to attend the proceeding, file or make submissions, make disclosure or exchange records, in accordance with an order of the board.

(5) For the purposes of subsection (4), the board may make any order the board considers appropriate in relation to the party referred to in that subsection, including, without limitation, restricting the party's continued participation in the appeal and the party's ability to submit evidence or make submissions.

Means of hearing appeals and notice of hearings

55 (1) The chair of the board may direct that an appeal under this Part be heard by any means the chair considers appropriate in the circumstances, including, without limitation, by telephone conference, on the basis of written submissions or by submissions made in person by the parties and any intervenors.

(2) The chair of the board must give notice of a hearing under subsection (1) to all parties and intervenors.

Evidence

56 (1) In an appeal under this Part, the board may admit any oral or written testimony or any record or thing as evidence in the appeal, whether or not admissible as evidence in a court of law or given or proven under oath or solemn affirmation.

(2) The board may not admit as evidence in an appeal anything that is privileged under the laws of evidence.

Powers and duties of board in an appeal

57 (1) In an appeal under this Part, the board

(a) may reopen the whole question of the property's assessment to ensure accuracy and that assessments are at actual value applied in a consistent manner in the municipality or rural area, and

(b) when considering whether land or improvements are assessed at actual value, must consider the total assessed value of the land and improvements together.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) (a) empowers the board to determine an assessment of a property other than the property that is the subject of the appeal, except to the extent permitted under subsection (3).

(3) If the property referred to in subsection (1) includes a building or other improvement that extends over one or more contiguous parcels of land that actually abut that property but the other parcels were not originally the subject of the appeal, the board may, if the board considers it necessary to accurately determine the assessment of the property referred to in subsection (1), include those parcels in its determinations.

(4) The board may order the commissioner to reassess at actual value land and improvements in all or part of a municipality or rural area, whether or not they are the subject of the appeal, if the board finds

(a) that the assessments in the municipality or rural area, or in part of either of them, are above their actual value, or

(b) that the assessment appealed against is at actual value but that the assessments of similar land and improvements in the municipality or rural area, or in part of either of them, are below their actual value.

(5) Despite section 12 (6), the assessor must enter any reassessments ordered under subsection (4) of this section on a supplementary assessment roll.

Power to compel witnesses

58 (1) The board has the same power as the Supreme Court has for the trial of civil actions

(a) to summon and enforce the attendance of witnesses,

(b) to compel witnesses to give evidence on oath or solemn affirmation or in any other manner, and

(c) to compel witnesses to produce records or other things.

(2) The failure or refusal of a person summoned as a witness

(a) to attend a hearing,

(b) to take an oath or solemn affirmation,

(c) to answer questions, or

(d) to produce the records or things in his or her custody or possession,

makes the person, on application to the Supreme Court by a member of the board, liable to be committed for contempt as if in breach of an order or judgment of the Supreme Court.

Order for compliance

59 (1) The board or a party to an appeal under this Part may apply to the Supreme Court for an order

(a) directing a person to comply with an order or decision of the board under this Part, and

(b) directing any directors and officers of the person to cause the person to comply with an order or decision of the board under this Part.

(2) Subsection (1) is in addition to and not instead of any other remedy or course of action that may be available to the board or a party under this Act or otherwise available by law.

Costs

60 (1) Subject to the regulations, the board may order that a party to an appeal under this Part or an intervenor pay another party or intervenor or the board any or all of the actual costs in respect of the appeal.

(2) An order under subsection (1) has, after filing in the court registry, the same effect as an order of the Supreme Court for the recovery of a debt in the amount stated in the order against the person named in it, and all proceedings may be taken as if it were an order of the court.

Decision of board

61 (1) The board must issue a decision at the earliest opportunity after hearing an appeal under this Part.

(2) On request by a party to the appeal, the board must provide written reasons for its decision.

Notice of board decision

62 (1) The board must deliver a notice of its decision on an appeal under this Part to

(a) the parties to the appeal and any intervenors, and

(b) the commissioner, if the commissioner was not a party.

(2) Notice under subsection (1) must include

(a) the board's decision,

(b) a statement that the decision may be appealed to the Supreme Court on a question of law, and

(c) information on the procedures to be followed for such an appeal.

Amending the roll to reflect board decisions

63 (1) On receipt of notice of the board's decision under section 62, the assessor must

(a) ensure that all amendments ordered to be made in the assessment roll by the board are made promptly, and

(b) ensure that a copy of the notice is available for public inspection during regular business hours.

(2) If there is a conflict between the authenticated assessment roll and an amendment made under this section, the amendment prevails.

 

Part 7 -- References and Stated Cases on Appeal

Reference on question of law to Supreme Court

64 (1) At any stage of a proceeding before it, the board, on its own initiative or at the request of one or more of the persons affected by the appeal, may refer a question of law arising in the proceeding, in the form of a stated case, to the Supreme Court.

(2) The stated case must be in writing and filed with the court registry, and must include a statement of the facts and all evidence material to the stated case.

(3) The board must

(a) suspend the proceeding as it relates to the stated case and reserve its decision until the opinion of the Supreme Court has been given, and

(b) decide the appeal in accordance with the opinion.

(4) The stated case must be brought on for hearing within one month from the date on which it is filed under subsection (2).

(5) Subject to subsection (6), the court must hear and determine the stated case and within 2 months give its decision.

(6) The court may send the stated case back to the board for amendment and the board must promptly amend and return the stated case for the opinion of the court.

Appeal of board decision on question of law

65 (1) Subject to subsection (2), a person affected by a decision of the board on appeal, including a local government, the government, the commissioner or an assessor acting with the consent of the commissioner, may require the board to refer the decision to the Supreme Court for appeal on a question of law alone in the form of a stated case.

(2) Within 21 days after receiving the decision referred to in subsection (1), the person must deliver to the board a written request to refer the decision to the Supreme Court, and include in the request the question of law to be referred.

(3) On receipt of the request under subsection (2), the board must promptly provide written notice of the request to

(a) the parties to the appeal from which the reference is requested and any intervenors, and

(b) the commissioner, if the commissioner was not a party.

(4) Within 21 days after receiving the request under subsection (2), the board must file the stated case with the court registry, including the decision on appeal, a statement of the facts and all evidence material to the stated case.

(5) The stated case must be brought on for hearing within one month from the date on which it is filed under subsection (4).

(6) Subject to subsection (7), the court must hear and determine the stated case and within 2 months give its decision.

(7) The court may send the stated case back to the board for amendment and the board must promptly amend and return the stated case for the opinion of the court.

(8) The costs of, and incidental to, a stated case under this section are at the discretion of the court.

(9) An appeal on a question of law lies from a decision of the Supreme Court to the Court of Appeal with leave of a justice of the Court of Appeal.

(10) The board must direct the assessor to make any amendment to the assessment roll necessary to give effect to a decision made by the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal under this section.

 

Part 8 -- General

Commissioner to provide information to the government

66 (1) The commissioner must provide assessment information to the government for purposes of determining tax liability or collecting a tax under the School Act and the Taxation (Rural Area) Act, as follows:

(a) before February 1 in each year, information from or respecting the completed assessment roll on December 31 of the previous year;

(b) before March 26 in each year, information from or respecting the assessment roll as amended by the review panels in that year;

(c) when it becomes available, information from or respecting an assessment roll as it is amended or changed under section 12, 42, 63 or 65 (10).

(2) Despite section 69 (1), information under subsection (1) of this section must be provided to the government free of charge and in the form and manner required by the Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations.

Open hearings

67 Except for an order that may be made in relation to a prehearing conference under section 54 (2) (f), a hearing under this Act must be open to the public.

Protection of privacy in assessment roll and records

68 (1) On application by an owner, the commissioner may omit or obscure the owner's name, address or other information about the owner that would ordinarily be included in an assessment roll if, in the commissioner's opinion, the inclusion of the name, address or other information could reasonably be expected to threaten the safety or mental or physical health of the owner or a member of the owner's household.

(2) Names of individuals must be deleted from

(a) an assessment roll other than an assessment roll that is

(i) supplied under subsection (4),

(ii) available for public inspection under section 8, or

(iii) accessible through the B.C. OnLine information service, and

(b) other prescribed records that are obtained or created under this Act.

(3) For the purpose of tracing unauthorized use of information, the commissioner may have fictitious or false entries or information included in an assessment roll or other record related to an assessor's valuations under Part 2 or 3, that is available for public inspection under this Act or may otherwise be disclosed in accordance with a regulation under section 16 (6).

(4) Subsections (1) and (3) do not apply to an assessment roll or record that is supplied

(a) to a person or for a purpose specified in section 33 (a) to (r) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act,

(b) to any of the following:

(i) the government;

(ii) a municipality or regional district;

(iii) a prescribed entity with taxing authority under an enactment of British Columbia or Canada, or

(c) to the board.

Use of and access to information in records

69 (1) Subject to the requirements of this section and section 68 and any prescribed limits on the fees that may be charged, if this Act, or a regulation under this Act, requires or authorizes the disclosure or public inspection or other use of or access to a record, including an assessment roll, a person may obtain a copy of the record or assessment roll on payment of any fee that may be set for the copy by the commissioner or by the chair of the board, as the case may be.

(2) A person must not, directly or indirectly, use the assessment roll or information contained in the assessment roll or a record referred to in subsection (1) as follows:

(a) to obtain names, addresses or telephone numbers for solicitation purposes, whether the solicitations are made by telephone, mail or any other means;

(b) to harass an individual;

(c) for other uses or purposes specified by regulation.

(3) A person who wishes to inspect or obtain a copy of a record referred to in subsection (1) may be required to complete a declaration in the prescribed form

(a) specifying the purpose for which the information is to be used, and

(b) certifying that the information contained in the record will not be used in a manner prohibited under subsection (2).

(4) A person who contravenes subsection (2) commits an offence.

Offences in relation to false or misleading information

70 (1) A person who does any of the following commits an offence:

(a) provides false or misleading information when required by or under this Act to provide information;

(b) makes a false or misleading statement or declaration when required by or under this Act to make a statement or declaration.

(2) A person is not guilty of an offence under this section if the person establishes that, at the time the information was given or the statement or declaration was made, the person did not know that it was false or misleading and exercised reasonable care and diligence in providing the information or making the statement or declaration.

Fines and penalties for offences

71 (1) A person who commits an offence under section 15 (3), 69 (4) or 70 (1) is liable on conviction to a fine of not more than $10 000 or imprisonment for a term not longer than 2 years, or both.

(2) If a person is convicted of an offence under section 69 (4) or 70 (1) and the court is satisfied that, as a result of the commission of the offence, the person acquired any monetary benefits or that monetary benefits accrued to the person, the court may order the person to pay a fine equal to the court's estimation of the amount of those monetary benefits.

(3) A fine under subsection (2) is in addition to and not in place of the fine or punishment that may be imposed under subsection (1) and is not limited to the maximum fine prescribed under subsection (1).

Offences and penalties

72 Section 5 of the Offence Act does not apply to this Act or the regulations.

Act prevails

73 If there is a conflict between this Act and any other Act, this Act prevails.

Power to make regulations and bylaws

74 (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations referred to in section 41 of the Interpretation Act.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as follows:

(a) defining any expression used and not defined in this Act;

(b) prescribing capacity for the purposes of section 1 (2) (l) and different capacities may be prescribed for different categories or types of vessels referred to in that section;

(c) exempting classes of interest in land or improvements, or both, from liability to assessment under section 26, 27, 28 or 29;

(d) excluding from the definition of "improvements" any category or type of thing included in that definition by section 1 (2);

(e) prescribing criteria for determining the land that is considered for the purposes of section 21 to be right of way for the track in place of a railway corporation;

(f) prescribing criteria to be applied by the commissioner in prescribing rates under section 21 (1) (d) and (e), including different criteria for different categories of right of way;

(g) respecting

(i) forms and returns required by the commissioner or by the board,

(ii) the format and manner in which assessment rolls under section 8 must be presented,

(iii) any other form or notice referred to in this Act, and

(iv) the form, content and filing of reports by the board to the minister under section 49;

(h) requiring railway corporations, tramway corporations, pipe line corporations, closed circuit television corporations and corporations engaged in the supply, transmission or distribution of gas, water, electricity, telephone services or telegraph services to supply to the commissioner, by prescribed dates, information respecting the property of the corporation and its operational and other costs required by the commissioner to determine the actual value of the property;

(i) extending the time within which any of the provisions of this Act must be performed, carried out or completed;

(j) in relation to forest land under section 24,

(i) prescribing classification standards for managed forest land and unmanaged forest land, which standards may be different for different parts of British Columbia,

(ii) prescribing requirements to be met by persons applying for classification of forest land as managed forest land,

(iii) prescribing information, undertakings and other matters that must be included in or covered by a forest management plan, which information, undertakings and matters may be different for forest reserve land and other private land, for different sizes of land and for different uses of the land before the plan applies,

(iv) prescribing criteria to be applied by assessors in approving forest management plans,

(v) prescribing information or other matters that must be included in or covered by a report required under that section from an owner of forest land, which information and matters may be different for forest reserve land and other private land, and

(vi) delegating to the commissioner or to assessors the powers and discretions considered necessary or advisable for the purpose of determining whether land should be classified as managed forest land;

(k) prescribing the circumstances and the manner in which the board may award costs under section 60;

(l) prescribing information that must be included in a notice of complaint under section 33 (3) or a notice of appeal under section 50 (4);

(m) prescribing records for the purposes of section 68 (2) (b);

(n) prescribing an entity for the purposes of section 68 (4) (b) (iii);

(o) specifying uses or purposes for which information contained in an assessment roll or record referred to in section 69 (1) must not be used;

(p) respecting witness fees and authorizing fees to be payable to the board for any services provided by the board or its staff in relation to an appeal or to a stated case under Part 7;

(q) prescribing fees payable by persons for appeals and complaints to the board, and different fees may be prescribed for different types of appeals and the fees prescribed may be different for

(i) different property classes,

(ii) different assessed values of property, and

(iii) different appeals by the same appellant respecting assessments recorded on the same assessment roll;

(r) providing for classes of complaints under section 32 to be referred to, heard and determined directly by the board instead of a review panel, and the classes may be based on value of property, property class, geographic location or any other matter that the minister considers necessary or advisable;

(s) governing the rules, practice and procedures for making, hearing and determining complaints referred to in paragraph (r), including, without limitation, making all or any part of Part 4 or Part 6 applicable with any modifications the minister considers necessary or advisable;

(t) respecting orders that may be made by the board in its proceedings, including, without limitation, the nature or types of orders that may be made under section 54;

(u) prescribing rules of practice and procedure for appeals to the board, complaints to the board under the regulations or any part of proceedings conducted by the board;

(v) for the purposes of section 69 (1), limiting fees payable by the government or by different classes of persons, for different classes of records or for different uses of the records, including, without limitation, prescribing the circumstances in which no fees are payable.

(3) For purposes of any regulation made under subsection (2) (h), the information referred to in subsection (2) (h) must be segregated, in a manner specified by the commissioner, according to the location of the property of the corporations.

(4) For the purposes of this Act, the British Columbia Assessment Authority may make bylaws, not inconsistent with this Act or the regulations, that it considers necessary or advisable.

(5) If an order or regulation affecting classification, valuation or exemption on the assessment roll is made in any year, under this Act or another Act, on or before the date set by section 3 of this Act for completing the assessment roll in that year, or any later date established by a regulation under subsection (2) (i) of this section, the order or regulation applies for the purposes of assessment and taxation

(a) in the taxation year following the year in which the order or regulation is made, and

(b) subject to the order or regulation being amended or repealed, in any subsequent taxation year.

Transitional

13 (1) The Assessment Appeal Board established under section 41 of the Assessment Act, as it read before its repeal by this Act, is continued as the property assessment appeal board under section 43 of the Assessment Act enacted by this Act.

(2) A reference in a regulation, order in council, bylaw or other document to a Court of Revision appointed under this Act as it read before this section comes into force, is deemed to be a reference to a review panel.

(3) Section 68 (2) does not apply to an assessment roll that is provided to a person by the British Columbia Assessment Authority in accordance with a contract entered into before May 1, 1998.

 

Consequential Amendments

Assessment Authority Act

14 Section 17 of the Assessment Authority Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 21, is amended

(a) in subsections (5) and (7) by striking out "Municipal Affairs and Housing" and substituting "Municipal Affairs",

(b) in subsections (5) and (7) by striking out "appeals" and substituting "complaints and appeals", and

(c) in subsection (5) by striking out "the Courts of Revision and the Assessment Appeal Board." and substituting "the property assessment review panels and the property assessment appeal board."

British Columbia Transit Act

15 Section 16.4 of the British Columbia Transit Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 38, as enacted by section 5 of the Supplement to that Act, is amended

(a) in subsections (1), (3) and (5) by striking out "Assessment Appeal Board" and substituting "property assessment appeal board",

(b) in subsection (2) by striking out "Parts 5 to 7" and substituting "Parts 5 and 6",

(c) in subsection (3) (a) by striking out "section 58" and substituting "section 57", and

(d) in subsection (5) by striking out "section 57" and substituting "section 50 (3)".

Forest Land Reserve Act

16 Section 10 (3) (b) of the Forest Land Reserve Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 158, is amended by striking out "authenticated under section 37 (11) of the Assessment Act." and substituting "authenticated under section 37 (11) of the Assessment Act, as it read before its repeal under the Assessment Amendment Act, 1998."

17 Section 23 is amended

(a) in subsections (1), (2) and (6) by striking out "Assessment Appeal Board" and substituting "property assessment appeal board", and

(b) by repealing subsections (4) and (5) and substituting the following:

(4) For the purposes of an appeal under this section, sections 50 (4) and (5), 52 (2) to (4), 53 to 56 and 58 to 62 and Part 7 of the Assessment Act apply with all necessary changes.

18 Section 37 (2) (h) is repealed.

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

19 Schedule 2 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 165, is amended

(a) by striking out the following:

Public Body:  Assessment Appeal Board
Head: Chair
Public Body: Courts of Revision (each Court)
Head: Minister of Municipal Affairs, Recreation and Housing , and

(b) by adding the following:

Public Body:  Property Assessment Appeal Board
Head: Chair
Public Body: Property Assessment Review Panels (each Panel)
Head: Minister of Municipal Affairs .

Hospital District Act

20 Section 30 of the Hospital District Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 202, is repealed and the following substituted:

Assessment appeals

30 For the purposes of an appeal from an assessment under section 29, Parts 4 to 7 of the Assessment Act apply.

Municipal Act

21 Section 339 (4) of the Municipal Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 323, is amended by striking out "by correction of a Court of Revision, on complaint to a Court of Revision or on further appeal;" and substituting "by correction of a property assessment review panel, on complaint to a property assessment review panel or on further appeal;".

22 Section 362 (6) is repealed and the following substituted:

(6) Sections 32, 33 (3), 35 (1) (b) and (c), 35 (2), 36 to 38, 40, 41 (1) and 42 of the Assessment Act apply to a local court of revision with all necessary changes, and for these purposes a reference in those sections to an assessor is deemed to be a reference to a collector or other person named by the council.

23 Section 383 (5) is amended by striking out "by the Court of Revision established under the Assessment Act, or on appeal from the Court of Revision," and substituting "under the Assessment Act, ".

Petroleum and Natural Gas Act

24 Section 8 (5) of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 361, is amended by striking out "Despite section 68" and substituting "Despite section 73".

Public Service Labour Relations Act

25 Section 1 (1) of the Public Service Labour Relations Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 388, is amended in paragraph (dd) of the definition of "employee" by striking out "Assessment Appeal Board;" and substituting "property assessment appeal board;".

Taxation (Rural Area) Act

26 Section 1 of the Taxation (Rural Area) Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 448, is amended by adding the following definition:

"review panel" means a review panel as defined in the Assessment Act; .

27 Sections 2 (3), 21 (5) and 47 (1) are amended by striking out "the Court of Revision" and substituting "a review panel".

28 Section 15 (5) is amended by striking out "by correction of a Court of Revision, on complaint to a Court of Revision or on further appeal;" and substituting "by correction of a property assessment review panel, on complaint to a property assessment review panel or on further appeal;".

29 Section 24 (2) (a) (ii) (B) is amended by striking out "the Assessment Appeal Board's" and substituting "the property assessment appeal board's".

30 Section 25 (3) is amended by striking out "the Court of Revision appointed under the Assessment Act" and substituting "a review panel".

Vancouver Charter

31 Section 372 of the Vancouver Charter, S.B.C. 1953, c. 55, is amended by striking out "the Court of Revision" and substituting "a property assessment review panel appointed under the Assessment Act".

32 Section 396 (4) is amended by striking out "by correction of a Court of Revision, on complaint to a Court of Revision or on further appeal;" and substituting "by correction of a property assessment review panel, on complaint to a property assessment review panel or on further appeal;".

33 Section 401A (4) and (5) is repealed and the following substituted:

(4) If an assessment on a supplementary roll is set aside or the assessed value reduced under the Assessment Act, the collector must

(a) refund to the taxpayer the excess amount of taxes paid by the taxpayer and any penalty and interest paid on the excess, or

(b) if no tax payment was made, adjust the tax roll to record the proper information.

(5) For the purposes of the refund under subsection (4) (a), the collector must pay the taxpayer interest at the rate prescribed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

(6) Subsection (5) does not apply in respect of a refund that results from an appeal to the board under the Assessment Act if the appeal is started or filed with the board before December 31, 1998.

34 Section 438 is amended by striking out "the Court of Revision" and substituting "a property assessment review panel".

Commencement

35 This Act comes into force by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.


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