City of Halifax Assessment Department

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

City of Halifax Assessment Department

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Description area

Dates of existence

1842 - [1976]


The first property tax assessments for the City of Halifax were undertaken prior to 1820. The earliest existing assessment record is from 18[17] and was (as with all assessments prior to the incorporation of the City of Halifax in 1841) undertaken by Halifax County Court of General Session of the Peace. In 1842, City Council hired a city assessor, in addition to assistant assessors for set terms for their position. In addition, ward assessors for each ward were elected. Council provided direction on who was eligible to seek this office – many occupations such as clergy-- were ineligible. The role of the assessment staff is described in detail in each City Charter, Council minutes, bylaws and provincial statutes. These sources describe how, when and what forms were/are to be used for completing the assessment. Descriptions of the assessor’s office and the assessment process is provided in The Brittain Report (1938): “The Assessor is the executive head of the department. He is a permanent official appointed by the Council and holds office until at least two-thirds of the members of Council at a regular or special meeting vote in favour of his dismissal or superannuation. His staff at present consists of two Assistant Assessors, one of whom discharges the duties of his chief during vacation or when his chief is not in attendance. […] It is the duty of the Assessor and his staff to carry out the provisions of the City Charter relating to assessment. In the matter of valuation all real property must be valued by the Assessor at its actual value at the time of assessment. The expression “value” in the Charter means the value of property as determined by the Assessor or by the Court of Tax Appeals on appeal from the assessor. Land and buildings are required to be valued separately.” [pg. 37-38] In 1976, the Province of Nova Scotia took over the administration of assessments. In 2004, the Nova Scotia Assessment Management Board was created to oversee these records. As of April 1, 2008, the Property Valuation Services Corporation (PVSC)-- a not-for-profit corporation—took over responsibility for property assessments in Nova Scotia and all post 1976 assessment records formerly in the care of the Province were transferred to PVSC. More information can be obtained by consulting PVSC’s website, in addition to consulting the Property Valuation Services Corporation Act (2006). PVSC will provide access to assessment records in its holdings.


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For more information on the Halifax assessment department, see the Department's annual reports (in Reference Collection)
Additional information can be found in "Evaluations and Recommendations re: Assessment Records" (1973) v. 3 (333.332. E8)

Maintenance notes

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  • EAC

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