Attention Property Owners: Requests must be completed and returned to the City within 60 days

The City of Calgary mails Assessment Requests for Information (ARFI) throughout the spring in preparation for the following year’s assessments. This request is made under section 295 (1) of Alberta’s Municipal Government Act (MGA):

A person must provide, on request by the assessor, any information necessary for the assessor to carry out the duties and responsibilities of an assessor under Parts 9 to 12 and the regulations.

The Assessor uses this information to verify physical information and to update their market information in preparation for the next year’s assessments. The rental information is used to create market rent analyses for the assessment of income producing properties in the retail and office sectors, as well as calculate the business assessment values for all property types.

ARFI’s are completed on the paper form sent by the City or online at www.calgary.ca/assessmentsearch and must be completed and returned to the City within 60 days from the date the request was made.

TIPS FOR COMPLETING YOUR ARFI

Altus has compiled some tips to help you complete the ARFI:

TIP 1
Send it in. Even if the property is 100% owner-occupied, complete and return the ARFI to the City. Section 295(4) of the MGA specifies the penalty for not providing requested information to the assessor:

No person may make a complaint in the year following the assessment year under section 460 or, in the case of designated industrial property, under section 492(1) about an assessment if the person has failed to provide the information requested under subsection (1) within 60 days from the date of the request.

This means the ARFI is serious. Alberta courts have stated that the penalty of the loss of the right of complaint is disproportionate to the gravity of the fault and have even gone so far as to call the penalty draconian and capricious.  While the courts have interpreted the legislation in this manner, it has been Altus’ experience that the municipality has been calling for section 295(4) to be implemented with increasing frequency, at the risk of losing the right to a merit hearing on the assessment.

TIP 2
Check it. Verify the building and leasing information in the ARFI such as leased area and total area, tenancy, rental rates and any incentives being applied. Correcting information on the ARFI can help ensure the building characteristics are captured accurately.

TIP 3
Send it to your Altus representative for review. We are pleased to provide a second look at your completed ARFI to verify that the information is appropriate and complete.

TIP 4
If sending by fax or email, keep a copy of both the ARFI and the sent email, confirmation page or fax receipt. If sending by mail, consider sending it via registered mail and keeping the receipt.

In the event that the City misplaces the ARFI or otherwise notes the ARFI as not returned, the send receipt is a vital piece of evidence that the Assessor’s request was complied with, or at least attempted. This piece of paper could be the difference between saving tens of thousands of dollars in taxes in an assessment appeal and losing the right to make a complaint.

TIP 5
Send it in. This bears repeating – the most important thing to do is to complete the ARFI to the best of your ability and return it to the City within the 60 day period.

View the 5 Tips Infographic