Home » FAQ » New Homeowner FAQs

New Homeowner FAQs

When should I contact PVSC?

Our client service representatives and assessors look forward to speaking with you! We can be reached Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Here are few reasons you may want to contact us:

  • You have questions about or wish to discuss your property assessment
  • You wish to better understand the assessment process
  • You require information about the program PVSC administers
  • If you have made changes to your property (renovations or demolitions)
  • If your property has been significantly damaged (i.e., flooding or fire)
  • You wish to obtain property information

What is the Capped Assessment Program?

The provincially legislated Capped Assessment Program (CAP), came into existence in 2005, and places a ‘cap’ on the amount that residential property assessments can increase year over year. The amount ‘capped’ is based on the percentage change in Nova Scotia Consumer Price Index, which is set by Statistics Canada.

Eligible Criteria:

  • Annual increase in market value greater than the Nova Scotia Consumer Price Index
  • At least 50% owned by a Nova Scotia resident
  • Residential property with less than four dwelling units or vacant resource
  • Ownership remained within the family
  • Owner occupied condominium
  • Manufactured home
  • Manufactured home park, co-operative housing, residential or resource portions of commercial farm

Non-Eligible Criteria:

  • Majority owned by an out of province resident
  • Commercial property
  • New construction
  • New home owners: Non-family sale homes are taken out of the CAP program for the year following the purchase
  • Non-owner occupied condominium

My assessment notice displays two values, an ‘assessed value’ and a ‘taxable assessed value’. What is the difference?

The assessed value reflects the market value of your property as of the base date, January 1st of the previous year and the physical state of your property, called the state date, as of December 1st of the year just prior to the date on your assessment notice.

Example: Your 2017 assessment notice will have a base date of January 1, 2016 and state date of December 1, 2016.

The taxable assessed value is the amount your municipality uses to calculate property tax bills and if eligible, will reflect a capped assessment.

Why do you assess properties at market value?

The Nova Scotia Assessment Act states that properties in Nova Scotia must be assessed at market value.

Market value is considered the most equitable and widely accepted system of property assessment in North America.  Every province in Canada uses this approach, as do most assessment jurisdictions in the United States and most other countries. 

Market value is widely accepted for the following reasons:

  • It is easily understood by most property owners.
  • It is a transparent process, allowing property owners to test fairness by comparing their assessment to sales of similar properties.
  • Market value allows the same appraisal standards and principles to be applied to all residential properties across Nova Scotia.

Factor that may influence market value:

  • Location
  • Dwelling size
  • Dwelling features (number of bathrooms, fireplaces, garages, pools, etc.)
  • Lot size
  • Living area
  • Age of the property, adjusted for any major renovations or additions
  • Quality of construction

My Assessment is different from the price I paid for my property. Why would this be?

A property might sell for a price different from its assessed value because:

  • The motivations of different buyers and sellers can vary significantly. This means that when similar properties are sold during the same time frame, a range of sale prices can result and the assessment could be higher or lower than a specific selling price.
  • Market values may have changed between our base date valuation and the date you bought your property.

If you would like more information about your property assessment, please contact us.

How does my assessment relate to taxes?

Every year, PVSC determines the market value assessment for each property in Nova Scotia and provides assessments to municipalities in the form of an assessment roll. Your municipality uses property assessments as part of a calculation to determine their tax rates and calculate tax bills. 

For information about your property tax bill, please contact your municipal office. 

The property taxes I was informed the previous owner was paying were less than the tax bill I just received. Why?

There are a few reasons why your property tax bill would be different from the previous owner, such as:

  • The property, before you purchased it, may have been eligible for the capped assessment program
  • The municipal tax rates for your area have changed
  • The assessed value of your property has changed

To better understand the historical changes of your property assessment, please contact us. If you have questions about your tax bill, please contact your municipal office.

When do you visit a property?

PVSC does not physically visit every property each year; however, we will review a property:

  • When it has sold
  • When a building permit has been issued
  • At the request of a property owner 
  • To complete inspections through scheduled data verification programs
  • To respond to individual appeals 

What is Advanced Notification?

Every fall, we publishing preliminary assessment to provide property owners the opportunity to view their preliminary assessment and property data, and to contact us if they have questions or would like to update their property information before assessments are finalized in December. You can access your preliminary value here or by locating your property on Nova Scotia real estate website Viewpoint Realty.

What are the different property classifications?

The Nova Scotia Assessment Act categorizes all properties into one of three possible classes. Classification is based on a property’s use, or intended use, and whether it meets the requirements for the class as specified by the Assessment Act.

The three property classes are:

  1. Residential - includes single-family residences, multi-family residences, duplexes, apartments, condominiums, nursing homes, seasonal dwellings, manufactured homes and vacant residential land.
  2. Resource - includes farm property (land and building used for agricultural purposes), forest property totaling less than fifty thousand acres, land of a municipal water utility (excluding the structure), community fishermen’s service buildings occupied and used by boat owners who are licensed commercial fishermen and the land used in connection with that use.
  3. Commercial - includes all property except residential property and resource property. Forest property that is owned by a person who owns fifty thousand acres or more is included in the commercial classification. 

For more information on property classifications, click here.

When will I get an assessment notice?

Assessment Notices are sent each year in January and property assessments are published on our website. If you prefer to receive a paper-free assessment notice, sign up at epost.ca or through your online banking.

What is the My Property Report?

As a property owner, detailed information about your property is available in your “My Property Report”. To access this report, you will need your Assessment Account Number (AAN) and PIN access number (found on your previous years assessment notice). Please call us at 1-800-380-7775 if you require assistance in obtaining this information.

Our website also makes property information available to the public. You can search for a property by address, AAN or sale date using the tools in 'Find an Assessment'.