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: 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 1.6% increase in the municipal mill rate for the 2019 budget. Does this mean my municipal taxes will stay the same as last year?
- 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 2019 taxes as levied by Beaver County are based on the valuation of your property on July 1, 2018.
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 designated industrial (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 finds this figure by extensively analyzing sale transactions for a twelve month period from July 1 to June 30 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 subsequent taxation year. Your 2019 property assessment notice is based on mid-range values as of July 1, 2018 real estate market conditions and reflects the physical condition as of December 31, 2018.
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 2019 tax year, residential property values have increased 1.6%; 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, 2018 and reflects the physical condition of your property as of December 31, 2018.
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, 2018. Would you have considered selling your property on July 1, 2018 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. 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 approved a 1.6% increase in the municipal mill rate for the 2019 budget. Does this mean my municipal taxes will stay the same as last year?
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 mill rate increase to a reasonable amount. The County's assessment decreased by over $1.2 million and despite tax adjustments of $310,000, a mill rate increase of 1.6% was needed to balance the budget.
If property assessments have changed (e.g. market value, physical changes to the property, etc.), taxes will change in a similar fashion.
Increases or decreases in the mill rates that the County is required to levy for school and for Beaver Foundation will affect taxes. The municipal mill rate increased by 1.6%. The school mill rate decreased 1% for farmland and residential properties and increased by 4% for non-residential properties. The Beaver Foundation mill rate is increasing by 24% over the 2018 requisition.
New to the 2019 tax year, is a separate mill rate for the grant paid to Beaver Emergency Services Commission for fire protection and emergency management (disaster) services. Taxes collected are paid directly to the commission.
As a result of these external factors, a comparison of taxes from 2018 to 2019 will vary for each property. For example, the market value of acreage properties continues to fluctuate from subdivision to subdivision. 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 $40 - $175.
Farmland properties with assessments that did not change will still see an increase, but it will be minimal. Properties with a farm residence experienced an increase in assessment due to a change in market values and will see an average increase in property taxes of $40.
The continued loss of assessment in linear and machinery & equipment properties (e.g. equipment at well sites, pipelines & wells) did not buffer any increase in the total mill rate for these properties, although other non-residential properties have experienced an increase in relation to assessment changes.
Q. What did the County do to avoid a mill rate increase?
A. The County's 2019 municipal budget expenditures total $26,108,029 offset by funding sources of $12,877,103 (user fees, reserves, and grants), leaving a tax levy requirement of $13,230,926. This is $158,920 less than 2018 (2018 tax levy = $13,389,846) Due to the significant overall decrease in the assessment base, a 1.6% increase in the mill rate was required to balance the 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 ($3,378,543) and the Beaver Foundation ($264,577). The Beaver Foundation requisition increased by 23.5% however a small increase in the assessment base reduced the impact to 24%.
The education requisition stayed the same. For the very first time... However changes in the assessment base resulted in a 1% decrease for residential and farmland properties and a 4% increase for non-residential properties.
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 on Budget Highlights.
Q. When will I receive my tax notice?
A. Property tax and assessment notices were mailed June 5, 2019. 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, 2019. Your property tax bill period is from January 1 to December 31, 2019. Property taxes for the current calendar year that remain unpaid are subject to the following penalties
November 1, 2019 – 12% on unpaid current tax levy
January 16, 2020 – 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 assessment notice)
- By mail (post-dated cheques are accepted)
- In person at the Beaver County Service Centre
- 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.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.
If you would like more information about your education taxes, please contact the Government of Alberta at 780-422-7125.
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