Provincial legislation requires municipalities to complete an annual market value assessment for all properties within their boundaries. Municipalities are also required to pass a balanced budget annually.
Together, your property assessment and Beaver County’s budget determine your annual municipal tax bill.
When municipal budget expenditures exceed funding sources (i.e. user fees, reserves and grants), a property tax levy is required to make up the difference.
In addition to collecting municipal taxes, the County is required to collect taxes on behalf of the Alberta School Foundation Fund and the Beaver Foundation.
Hence, there are several factors at play when it comes to determining your current tax bill.
Following are some key definitions and frequently asked questions to help you better understand assessment and taxation in Beaver County.
2017 Tax Year Key Definitions
Property Assessment: the valuation of your property on the July 1, 2016 valuation date.
Budget: total expenditures required to pay for all programs and services
Mill Rate: property tax revenue requirements divided by the total County assessment
Property taxes: property assessment multiplied by the mill rate and divided by 1000
Property tax year: from January 1 to December 31
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is property assessment?
- Why do we have annual assessments?
- What types of property are there in Beaver County?
- What is market value?
- What is mass appraisal?
- Can my property assessment increase or decrease from year to year?
- Why is my property assessment different than my real estate appraisal?
- How can I judge whether the assessment is reasonable and fair?
- Can I appeal my assessment?
- How are my property taxes calculated?
- Why do my taxes change from year to year?
- Beaver County Council has approved a 3.0% increase in the municipal mill rate for the 2017 budget. Does this mean my municipal taxes will increase by this amount?
- What did the County do to limit the mill rate increase of 3.0%?
- Why does my tax bill include payments to the Alberta School Foundation and Beaver Foundation?
- Where do my tax dollars go?
- When will I receive my tax notice?
- Is there a penalty for not paying my taxes on time?
- What payment options do I have?
- Are there any property tax payment programs for seniors?
- Where can I get more information?
Q. What is property assessment?
A. Your property assessment is a valuation of your property as of July 1, prior to the current tax year. For example, the 2017 taxes as levied by Beaver County are based on the valuation of your property on July 1, 2016.
Q. Why do we have annual assessments?
A. The Municipal Government Act legislates and requires that all property in Alberta be assessed each year. Annual assessments ensure that changes in the market place are captured annually, protecting tax payers from large market fluctuations from year to year. Property assessments are used to distribute taxes in a fair and equitable way. This means that owners of property with similar market values will pay similar amounts of property taxes.
- Residential, (vacant or improved houses, cottages, acreages and farm sites) assessed at market value
- Non-residential, (commercial or industrial businesses including land and buildings) assessed at market value. A sub-class exists within the non-residential class known as Linear (wells, pipelines, power lines, cable distribution and telecommunications) which is assessed at regulated values.
- Farmland (land used for farming operations as defined in the regulations) assessed at regulated values
- Machinery and equipment (oil and gas field facilities and plants, processing or manufacturing facilities) assessed at regulated values.
Q. What is market value?
A. Market value is the price a property would likely yield if sold after adequate time and exposure on the open market by a willing seller to a willing buyer. The Assessor finds this figure by extensively analyzing sale transactions from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016 for similar property types to determine market trends and patterns and then uses mass appraisal techniques to finalize market values to be used for the 2017 taxation year. Your 2017 property assessment notice is based on mid-range values as of July 1, 2016 real estate market conditions and reflects the physical condition as of December 31, 2016.
Properties not assessed on a market value standard such as farmland, railway, machinery and equipment, and linear are assessed at prescribed regulated rates and standards mandated by the Minister of Alberta Municipal Affairs, Minister's Guidelines of Regulated Property.
Q. What is mass appraisal?
A. Mass appraisal is not a site-specific appraisal of property. It is an average or mid-range market value for similar types of properties. Mass appraisal takes into account a greater sampling of properties with common features and characteristics to perform statistical analysis. Common features include location, proximity to urban centers, age, parcel size, building size, quality of construction, and zoning.
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Q. Can my property assessment increase or decrease from year to year?
A. Yes, your property assessment is based on market value that was established as of July 1, 2016. Market values may increase or decrease from the previous assessment year depending on location. On average, residential property values have stayed the same, only in very few instances where residential property had a slight increase within the County.
Q. Why is my property assessment different than my real estate appraisal?
A. Private appraisers evaluate your property based on the market conditions that existed at the time of the appraisal report. The County's property assessment calculation is based on the market conditions as of July 1, 2016 and reflects the physical condition of your property as of December 31, 2016.
Q. How can I judge whether the assessment is reasonable and fair?
A. Ask yourself if the assessment reflects a mid-range value as of July 1, 2016. Would you have considered selling your property on July 1, 2016 for the assessed value? If the answer is Yes or Maybe, then the assessment is probably reasonable. If the answer is definitely NO, then you should speak to Beaver County’s Assessment & Taxation Department to clarify how the assessment was prepared.
Q. Can I appeal my assessment?
A. Yes, if, after reviewing your assessment with Beaver County’s Assessment & Taxation Department, you still believe that your assessment or the assessment of another property is unfair or incorrect, you may file a written complaint to the Clerk of the Assessment Review Board within a specific timeframe called the Assessment Complaint Period. More information and Official Complaint Forms are available here.
Q. How are my property taxes calculated?
A. Property taxes are based on the following formula.
Assessed Property Value X Property Tax Mill Rate / 1000 = Taxes
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Q. Why do my taxes change from year to year?
A. Annually, property taxes may change from year to year for the following reasons.
1. There has been a change in the annual budget requirements for municipal operating expenditures, or changes in the Education and/or Senior Housing Foundation requisitions.
2. The property assessment of your property (market value) has changed more or less than the average from last year’s assessment.
Q. Beaver County Council approved a 3.0% increase in the municipal mill rate for the 2017 budget. Does this mean my municipal taxes will increase by this amount?
A. No, while the municipal mill rate has increased 3.0%, the impact of the increase on each landowner or business in Beaver County varies depending on changes to individual property assessments.
Each property owner may experience an increase more or less than 3.0% depending on how each property assessment (market value) has changed relative to the average.
For example, if the average residential market value assessment increase is 1.0% (July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016) and your property assessment has stayed approximately the same or increased, you will generally experience a greater than 3.0% increase in municipal taxes.
Farmland properties with assessments that did not change will see an increase in property taxes of less than $20 per quarter. Properties with a farm residence experienced an increase in assessment due to higher market values and will see an average increase in property taxes of $65.
The market value of acreage properties continues to fluctuate from subdivision to subdivision, however in 2016, the market value in some areas decreased or remained the same. While taxes will vary widely as a result of market value differences, a sampling of acreage properties indicates that taxes will increase within the range of $30 - $150.
Taxes for vacant acreages will increase an average of $35 due to a combination of the mill rate increase and a small assessment increase.
Due to a significant loss in assessment in linear well sites (pipelines and wells) for abandonments and depreciation, the impact of the municipal mill rate increase will be lessened for linear and machinery and equipment properties. Commercial business taxes will increase.
Q. What did the County do to limit the mill rate increase of 3.0%?
A. The County's 2017 municipal budget expenditures total $21,700,434, offset by funding sources of $8,505,732 (user fees, reserves, and grants), leaving a tax levy requirement of $13,194,702. This is $146,713 more than 2016 (2016 tax levy = $13,047,989). Unfortunately, the loss in assessment created a shift in the tax burden from the non-residential class (with a higher mill rate) to the residential class (lower mill rate) and to balance the budget, a 3% increase in all mill rates is required.
The loss of non-residential assessment was too great to allow Council to "hold the line" on mill rates.
Q. Why does my tax bill include payments to the Alberta School Foundation Fund and Beaver Foundation?
A. The County is required to levy taxes to pay a requisition to the Alberta School Foundation Fund ($3,271,717) and the Beaver Foundation ($175,497). The Beaver Foundation requisition remained the same, the loss in assessment means that all properties will experience a mill rate increase of 0.3%.
The education requisition decreased by $55,486. However, due to the loss in non-residential assessment and a shift in the tax burden as mentioned above, school mill rates for residential properties will increase by 1.2%. The non-residential mill rate will decrease by 3.9%.
Q. Where do my tax dollars go?
A. The municipal portion of your tax bill is used to fund municipal services and operations such as roads, utilities, agricultural services, policing, emergency services, planning and economic development, parks, recreation and libraries.
Q. When will I receive my tax notice?
A. Property tax and assessment notices were mailed on May 19, 2017. If you have not received your notice by mid-June, please contact the County Office at 780.663.3730. Failure to receive a notice will not exempt you from penalty if taxes are not paid by the deadline.
Q. Is there a penalty for not paying my taxes on time?
A. Property taxes are due upon receipt, but are penalty-free until October 31, 2017. Your property tax bill period is from January 1 to December 31, 2017. Property taxes for the current calendar year that remain unpaid are subject to the following penalties
November 1, 2017 – 12% on unpaid current tax levy
January 16, 2018 – additional 6% on unpaid arrears
- Internet or telephone banking (Payee is Beaver County Taxes and Account Number is your 9 digit Roll number from your tax assessment)
- By mail (post-dated cheques are accepted)
- In person at the Beaver County Office
- By monthly instalments. Beaver County offers a convenient Monthly Tax Instalment Payment Plan that allows you to pay your property taxes in 12 monthly payments instead of one annual payment. Please call 780-663-3730 for more information.
Seniors Property Tax Deferral Program (provincially funded) will allow eligible senior homeowners to defer all or part of their property taxes through a low interest home equity loan with the Government of Alberta. Applications for the Seniors Property Tax Deferral program are available by calling the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or by visiting www.health.alberta.ca/seniors/property-tax-deferral.html.
Q. Where can I get more information?
A. Please contact Beaver County’s Assessment & Taxation Department at 780-663-3730. You are also welcome to visit our office at 5120 - 50 Street in Ryley between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
If you would like more information about your education taxes, please contact the Government of Alberta at 780-422-7125.
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