SAMA conducts audits of assessments in all jurisdictions throughout Saskatchewan to ensure compliance with both legislated and regulated requirements.
SAMA also balances assessment rolls for all municipalities in Saskatchewan, and recommends confirmation of municipal assessment returns by the SAMA Board of Directors. Municipalities are required to submit their rolls for confirmation every year.
Quality Assurance Vision, Mission, Principles
The SAMA Board adopted the following Vision and Mission statements along with corresponding Principles at their April 24th, 2009 meeting. These statements define the SAMA Board’s position on its property assessment oversight mandate relative to the formal, and independent quality assurance function. These statements are in addition to the Board’s existing agency’s Vision, Mission and Values statements, to specifically address the quality assurance function.
The SAMA Board, through its independent and directly accountable Quality Assurance Division, fosters public trust by ensuring property assessments meet prescribed statutory requirements.
To provide unbiased, responsive, professional and collaborative audits of mass appraisal valuation processes and municipal assessment rolls through an independent and directly accountable Quality Assurance Division.
Defines responsibility relationships. The principle of accountability requires a reasonable accountability framework be adopted and implemented, addressing both the auditor (QAD) and the auditees (Municipalities and Assessment Service Providers [ASPs]) to ensure a functional property assessment oversight program.
Defines what shall be undertaken (the quality assurance audits, and provision of information), by whom, what results are reported and when, and to whom those results shall be reported, to ensure confidence and trustworthiness in the property assessment oversight program. Further, this principle requires clearly establishing the authority, who(m) shall be solely responsible for the interpretation and adjudication of audit findings, with full independence for such undertaking from all auditees.
Defines the requirement for a consistent and impartial property assessment oversight program, and that the programs be undertaken by the auditors in a manner to ensure unbiased, and legitimate treatment of all auditees. Further, this principle addresses a broader desire of the agency, to provide auditees with the opportunity to improve their property assessments where identified by the program, on a continual improvement basis, without the fear of statutory reprisal for error where the order of magnitude is deemed largely compliant.
Defines the focus on property assessment equity (similar properties in similar markets are valued and assessed similarly), ensuring the desired outcome in an ad valorem system (This principle does not extend to equity in property taxation.)
Defines the need to have an ongoing, functional, and operational property assessment oversight program, ensuring the SAMA Board of Directors has access to reliable, and timely information concerning property assessments for purposes of advising Stakeholders that they may have general confidence and trust in municipal assessments. This principle addresses the need to ensure the property assessment oversight program does not adversely affect the ability of auditees to carry on their day-to-day functions.
Defines the need for the auditor to keep confidential, all audit working files, including data and information provided to the auditor by the auditee. This principle sets out the requirement to specify what shall be confidential (i.e. source audit data, and working files), and what information shall not be confidential (i.e. audit reports). The purpose of this principle is to ensure the ongoing stability of assessment rolls, which may be subject to adverse consequences if the auditor released certain data and/or information publicly.