Clearing the Path recently spoke with Brian Dell, executive vice president of the CPTA, and asked him to inform our readers on the work of the CPTA.

I am delighted to have this opportunity to give the readers of Clearing the Path a bit of insight into the Canadian Property Tax Association (CPTA). Our organization has had the privilege of working with the First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) for the last 10 years, providing commentary and support on FNTC legislative reform and implementation of property tax initiatives. Prior to formation of the FNTC, the CPTA worked closely with the former Indian Taxation Advisory Board.

The CPTA was founded in 1967 and “is a national organization providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information relating to both commercial and industrial property tax issues arising across Canada”. The CPTA consists of four regional chapters being British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Eastern Canada, and Western. A Board of Directors oversees the membership and operations of the CPTA on a national level and provides guidance and support to the four Chapters, with each Chapter having its own Executive Committee. On a regional basis each Chapter brings its expertise to a diversity of issues in the area of property taxation, whether it be commentary on provincial legislative change or more localized assessment practices.

The constitution of the CPTA sets the aims and objectives of the organization as follows: to provide a forum and information exchange in the field of assessment and taxation of property to promote the equitable assessment of property tax purposes along sound and uniform lines to study existing and proposed legislation and make representations to Governments to perform such other functions as are consonant with the foregoing purposes.

Consistent with its objects, the focus of the CPTA is to advocate from the perspective of the taxpayer, keeping in mind recognition that revenues generated from a fair distribution of property tax across the entire assessment base are vital to the public need and good government. In furtherance of its objectives the CPTA draws from its diverse membership which includes in-house and external property tax consultants, assessors, appraisers, legal practitioners, and property tax officers within various public and private organizations.

The CPTA meets its objectives by bringing together various professionals in taxation through an open flow of information and knowledge relating to the property tax industry. Among the tools employed by the CPTA to keep its membership informed of current issues and developments are education seminars and a bi-monthly newsletter, Communication Update. In the fall of each year our members gather at a National Workshop for 3 days of learning seminars, and equally important, the opportunity to network with other experts from across Canada.

In addition, each Chapter organizes its own education seminars, breakfast or luncheon meetings, round table meetings or other functions to keep the membership connected and informed. The CPTA also takes an active role in consultation with government and participates in various adhoc stakeholder committees providing insight from the taxpayer’s point of view.

We at the CPTA understand the challenges associated with working in an environment were there are numerous diverging opinions, whether they are issue specific or of national reach. Elements of regional interests and local economy must often be balanced against global principles. As is often said, there is seldom one single right answer to any question, however through openness, transparency, an appropriate exchange of information, and mutual respect and professionalism, collectively we can strive to achieve the best answer concurrent with the times.

The FNTC has made strong progress towards fostering open, fair and transparent property taxation on first nation lands. The hallmarks of a healthy property tax regime, from a taxpayer’s perspective not only involves transparent legislative and regulatory processes, but also engages full disclosure of how an assessment has been prepared, the existence of an impartial and independent assessment review system, while all leading to the comfort that there exists in any local a fair distribution of tax burden.

The FNTC has made significant inroads in promoting a clear and discernible path for property taxation regimes on first nation lands. We at the CPTA look forward to forging the relationship between our organizations through continued and productive dialogue.

Brian Dell
Executive Vice President, CPTA