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. For certain non-residential properties, a small levy is charged on behalf of the Provincial Government to carry-out assessments of designated industrial properties.
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.
2020 Tax Year Key Definitions
Property Assessment: the valuation of your property on the July 1, 2019 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: 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 the municipal mill rate for the 2020 budget. How will this impact my taxes?
- What did the County do to avoid a mill rate increase?
- 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 2020 taxes as levied by Beaver County are based on the valuation of your property on July 1, 2019.
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 over time. 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 designated industrial property (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 DIP (oil and gas field facilities and plants, processing or manufacturing facilities) regulated by the Alberta Energy Regulator, the Alberta Utilities Commission, or the National Energy Board, are assessed at regulated rates.
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 determines this figure by extensively analyzing sales transactions for similar property types for a twelve month period from July 1 to June 30 to determine market trends and patterns, and then uses mass appraisal techniques to finalize market values to be used for the subsequent taxation year. Your 2020 property assessment notice is based on mid-range values as of July 1, 2019 real estate market conditions and reflects the physical condition as of December 31, 2019.
Properties not assessed on a market value standard include farmland, railway, machinery and equipment, and designated industrial property. These are assessed at prescribed regulated rates and standards mandated by the Minister of Alberta Municipal Affairs, using the Minister's Guidelines for 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 of the year prior to the tax year. Market values may increase or decrease from the previous assessment year depending on location. On average, for the 2020 tax year, residential property values have decreased or strictly stayed the same; there are very few instances where residential property had no 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, 2019, and reflects the physical condition of your property as of December 31, 2019.
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, 2019. Would you have considered selling your property on July 1, 2019 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.
Click here for information regarding the exchange of information between a property owner and the assessor.
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. The deadline for assessment complaints is August 18, 2020. 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. 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 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 has approved the municipal mill rate for the 2020 budget. How will this impact my taxes?
A. The budget reflects the priorities of Council as identified during budget and strategic planning discussions, and considers what it heard from you - the resident and taxpayer. It also reflects Council's desire to keep the mill rate increase to a reasonable amount. The County's assessment increased by over $14 million however other factors beyond the County's control threatened to create a spike in the municipal mill rate. To avoid this, Council used reserves and grants to keep the general municipal mill rate at 0%.
The mill rate to pay the grant to the Beaver Emergency Services Commission will decrease by 1%.
New to the 2020 tax year, is a separate mill rate for Policing. The Provincial Government has mandated that municipalities will start sharing in the cost of RCMP services. In 2020, the County will pay 10% ($104,429 for the period of April - December). By the year 2024, the County will pay $418,016 (30%). This cost will be passed along to the taxpayer as a separate mill rate. In 2020, the additional mill rate is 0.0847.
In addition to the municipal mill rates, increases or decreases in the mill rates that the County is required to levy for school and for Beaver Foundation will affect taxes. The school mill rate increased 6.5% for farmland and residential properties and decreased by 6.1% for non-residential properties. The Beaver Foundation mill rate is increasing by 4.1% over the 2019 requisition.
All of these mill rates will affect your total tax bill. In addition, if your property assessment changed from 2019 (e.g. market value, physical changes to the property, etc.), taxes will change in a similar fashion.
Q. What did the County do to limit the mill rate increase?
A. The County's 2020 municipal budget expenditures total $25,701,413 offset by funding sources of $12,054,309 (user fees, reserves, and grants), leaving a tax levy requirement of $13,647,104. This is $416,179 more than 2019 (2019 tax levy = $13,230,925), however an increase in the assessment base was used to keep the general municipal mill rate to 0%.
The 2020 budget was a difficult one due to economic challenges in the region, our inability to collect taxes from the oil/gas sector, and the unknown impact of COVID-19 on operations and various services. Click here for information regarding the County's budget.
Q. Why does my tax bill include payments to the Alberta School Foundation Fund and Beaver Foundation?
A. The County is required by the Municipal Government Act to levy taxes to pay a requisition to the Alberta School Foundation Fund ($3,461,897) and the Beaver Foundation ($278,386).
Unfortunately, there was a large increase in the school taxes for residential and farmland properties. In 2019, the Provincial Government was delayed in setting the school requisition amount, so the County took the advice of Provincial officials and estimated the amount required. This amount proved to be inaccurate and the County did not raise enough taxes last year to pay the requisition. The County is now required to make up the difference, resulting in an increase in the mill rate for 2020. School taxes are payable regardless whether a taxpayer has children in the school system or, in the case of COVID-19, that the schools are closed.
Soon after the COVID-19 outbreak, the Provincial Government announced a school tax deferral program for non-residential property. Click here to view the Provincial Government tax deferral directive.
Taxes are to be deferred for 6 months from the date of the announcement (April), therefore they are due by September 30. The County's tax payment deadline is October 31st, therefore the tax deferral period requirements have been met.
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. For more information, click here to access the Budget Highlights.
Q. When will I receive my tax notice?
A. Property tax and assessment notices were mailed on June 11, 2020. If you have not received your notice by mid-July, 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. Your property tax bill period is from January 1 to December 31, 2020. Property taxes are due upon receipt, but are penalty-free until October 31, 2020. Because October 31st falls on a Saturday this year, tax payment is due by November 2, 2020 to avoid penalty. Property taxes for the current calendar year that remain unpaid after November 2 are subject to the following penalties:
To assist with the financial impact of COVID-19, tax penalties have been reduced for the 2020 tax year ONLY:
November 3, 2020 – 6% on unpaid current tax levy
January 16, 2021 – additional 3% on unpaid arrears
- Internet or telephone banking (Payee is Beaver County Taxes and Account Number is your 9 digit roll number from your assessment notice)
- By mail (post-dated cheques are accepted)
- In person at the Beaver County Services Centre (due to COVID-19, in-person access to the Services Centre is restricted to TWO customers at a time)
- By monthly instalments. Beaver County offers a convenient Monthly Tax Installment 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.
- NEW !! - tax payments may be paid by credit card, e-transfer, PayPal, or at a Canada Post outlet through a payment processing agency (NOTE: a convenience fee will be charged by the payment processing agency)
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.seniors-housing.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. Due to COVID-19, access to the Beaver County Services Centre is limited. The Assessor is happy to assist you by phone or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or you may make an appointment to meet with him.
If you would like more information about your education taxes, please contact the Government of Alberta at 780-422-7125.
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