Beaver County Council recognizes that small businesses are a key sector of the County’s economy and has established a new small business assessment classification that may be considered for a lower tax rate.
To be eligible, a non-residential property must meet ALL of the following criteria as at December 31st of the year prior to the taxation year:
- Business cannot be vacant property;
- Business cannot be “designated industrial property” as defined by Provincial legislation;
- Property must be owned or leased by a business and
a) be in possession of a valid development or business permit in Beaver County, and
b) employ fewer than 50 full-time employees across Canada, and
c) must not be subleased to someone else.
- Application has been submitted on or before December 31st of the year prior to the year of taxation. Post-marked applications will NOT be accepted.
If your business is eligible, only the portion of your assessment that is assigned to the small business classification will be eligible for the reduced tax rate. If your property is assessed for other uses (e.g. farm land, residential, other non-residential, etc.), the tax rates for these other types of assessment will apply.
Small business will also remain subject to the same school, seniors housing, and special municipal tax rates as other properties.
For a list of Frequently Asked Questions, click here.
For a copy of the Application for Small Business Classification, click here.
Farmland Assessment Policy
Farmland assessments are governed and regulated by the Municipal Government Act, associated Regulations and the applicable Minister’s Guidelines of Farmland Assessment. Farmland assessments are completed on an annual basis using the valuation date of July 1 of the year prior to the tax year. The valuation standard for farmland assessment is based on “agricultural use value” as determined by the Minister of Municipal Affairs from year to year. In Alberta, the “agricultural use value” is divided into three categories, each with farmland rates: Dryland Arable, Pasture Land, and Irrigated Arable. There are no irrigated farmlands found in Beaver County.
Farmland Ratings and Application
The farmland rating system categorizes all areas of the Province into 16 different agro-climatic regions and four irrigation regions. Typical net income has been established for each type of soil classification within the above-noted 16 zones and the four irrigation districts of the Province.
Net income was established as the basis for “agricultural use value” and reflects typical cropping rotations, yields, prices and input costs of production. A soil group classification within an agricultural zone with the highest net income was assigned a rating of 100. All other soil groups are then ranked based on their net income relative to 100%.
As the physical land attributes diminish in agricultural production (quality of land), a lesser percent rating is applicable to the affected farmland.
All of these factors can be summarized into two groups: Net Productivity Ratings and Cost of Production Ratings. Factors recognized in the Net Productivity Ratings include the soil class, cultivation depth and color, subsoil, soil texture, saline or alkali, acidity and flood delay. Factors recognized in the Cost of Production are adverse topography, stones, irregular shaped fields, obstacles, severance of fields and other miscellaneous features affecting cost of production.
What qualifies for farmland status? The Minister of Municipal Affairs has developed strict guidelines and rules for land classified as “farmland”.
By definition, “Farming Operations” means the raising, production and sale of agricultural products and includes 1) Horticulture, aviculture, apiculture and aquaculture. 2) The production of horses, cattle, bison, sheep, swine, goats, fur bearing animals, raised in captivity, domestic cervids within the meaning of the Livestock Industry Diversification Act, and domestic camelids, and 3) The planting, growing and sale of sod.
Should any of the above activities take place on the parcel of land, only then does the land qualify for farm status and assessment as agricultural use value. What does “agricultural use value” mean? It means the value of a parcel of land based exclusively on its use for farming operation.
If the land is not used for farming operations as prescribed by definition, the land cannot be assessed as agricultural use value and must, by legislation, be assessed at the market value standard.
Please note that when a parcel of land has qualified as farmland, it is assessed using regulated rates (agricultural use value) and this value has no relationship or reflection on the market value of the property.
Farm Buildings: The definition of a farm building is any improvement other than a residence, to the extent it is used for farming operations.
The first order of priority for any building other than a residence to be considered as a “farm building” is to engage in a “farming operation” on your property. Without evidence of farming operations, outbuilding or structures cannot be considered farm buildings.
In rural Alberta, farming buildings are exempt from assessment according to Provincial legislation. As a result of this exemption, no property tax is paid on a farm building.
Farm Residence(s): All farm residences in rural municipalities are valued and assessed on the basis of market value. The dominant valuation approach in leading to the market value standard in a rural municipality is the cost approach modified to the market. The direct sales comparison approach is widely used to complement the cost approach. The income approach is rare and in most cases, is never used. The value of the farm residence is adjusted based on positive or negative attributes of the property, size and features of the house, services and location.
Farm residence(s) can receive exemptions from the market value assessment. In rural municipalities, the Provincial Government allows a farm residence to be exempt on the basis of the amount of farmland assessment in the owner’s unit. The maximum exemption is $61,540 for the first residence of a farm owner’s unit, and $30,770 for each additional residence.
Assessment notices are mailed to each owner by May 30th each year. If you have any questions or concerns about your property assessment, please contact the County's Assessment Department as soon as possible at 780-663-3730.
You are entitled to see or receive information about how the assessor prepared the assessment of your property. For more information, refer to the Guide to Property Assessment and Taxation in Alberta.
Click here for information regarding the exchange of information between a property owner and the assessor.
If, after reviewing your assessment with the Assessor, 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 on the
Assessment Review Board Complaint Form. The deadline to file a Property Assessment Complaint is July 24, 2023.
Please note the following requirements when filing your assessment complaint:
- The complaint should be made on the official Complaint Form.
- You may not complain about your taxes. You may only complain about your assessment, class of assessment, type of property, or other information on your assessment notice that is not the amount of your taxes.
- All sections of the Complaint Form should be completed. If your Complaint Form is incomplete, it may be considered invalid and the Assessment Review Board may not hear your complaint. If you are unsure how to complete the Complaint Form, please contact the Clerk of the Assessment Review Board at 780-663-3730.
- If you wish to have another person file the Complaint Form on your behalf, you must complete an Assessment Complaints Agent Authorization. Your agent may do any one or more of the following:
- file the complaint on your behalf,
- discuss the matters of the complaint with the assessor,
- reach an agreement with the assessor to correct the matter under complaint,
- withdraw the complaint,
- prepare for the Assessment Review Board hearing,
- represent you at the Assessment Review Board hearing. Please note that your agent is not authorized to obtain information about your assessment from the assessor. You must obtain this information yourself.
- You should discuss your complaint with the County's assessor before filing the complaint because you may be able to resolve the complaint without a hearing. If you choose to proceed with the complaint, you should indicate on the Complaint Form, the outcome of your discussion with the assessor. If you have not discussed your complaint with the Assessor, you should indicate on the Complaint Form why the discussion did not take place.
- You must include the required assessment complaint fee when you submit the complaint form. The assessment complaint fee is:
- $50 for each property that is a farmland property or a residential property with 3 or fewer dwelling units;
- $250 for each property that is a non-residential property or residential property with 4 or more dwelling units. If the Assessment Review Board makes a decision in your favor, the complaint fee will be refunded.
- The completed Complaint Form and applicable assessment complaint fee must be received by the Clerk of the Assessment Review Board no later than the date indicated on your assessment notice. Post-marked complaints will NOT be accepted.
A complaint against your property assessment does not exempt you from paying taxes on time or from late payment penalties. Please pay your taxes on time. If your complaint is successful, your taxes will be adjusted.
The Complaint Form may be mailed to the Clerk of the Assessment Review Board at Beaver County, Box 140, Ryley, AB T0B 4A0 or hand-delivered to 5120 - 50 Street, Ryley, AB. If the Complaint Form is mailed, please ensure that it is mailed in sufficient time to be received by the Clerk on or before the complaint deadline. Postmarked complaints will be considered late, and may not be heard by the Board.
If your complaint is accepted, you will be notified in writing of the date of the Assessment Review Board hearing. Evidence to be presented to the Board must be submitted prior the hearing date.
A decision regarding your complaint must be made by the Assessment Review Board prior to December 31st of the year in which you made your complaint.
None scheduled at this time
- 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?
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 2023 taxes as levied by Beaver County are based on the valuation of your property on July 1, 2022.
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) which is assessed at market value.
- Non-residential (commercial or industrial businesses, including land and buildings) which is assessed at market value. Two sub-classes exist within the non-residential class:
a) Designated Industrial Property (wells, pipelines, power lines, cable distribution, and telecommunications) which is assessed at regulated values,
b) Small Business, which is assessed in the same manner as other non-residential property, but which is subject to a lower mill rate for property taxes.
- 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 2023 property assessment notice is based on mid-range values as of July 1, 2022 real estate market conditions and reflects the physical condition as of December 31, 2022.
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.
Click here to go back to the questions
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 2023 tax year, residential property values have increased; there are very few instances where residential property had an decrease 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, 2022, and reflects the physical condition of your property as of December 31, 2022.
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, 2022. Would you have considered selling your property on July 1, 2022 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 July 24, 2023. More information and Official Complaint Forms are available here.
- What qualifies for farmland class on my property?
- How do I apply?
- Why does Beaver County need to know my sales receipt or farm income?
- What happens if I cannot supply sales receipts?
- Can the farm status be re-instated in the future?
- Do I need to apply from year to year?
- What if I sell or buy property that was assessed as farmland last year?
- Can I rent the land out to receive farmland class?
- Why does an Assessor need to visit my property?
- What right does an Assessor have in inspecting my property?
- Can my classification change as a result of a farmland inspection?
- How will the loss of farmland class change my taxes?
Lands that have previously been assessed and classed as farmland are lands that are exclusively used for farming operations and have historically been treated and taxed as such. If the use of the parcel of land continues in a farming operation, the property will continue to be assessed as farmland.
If your land has not been assessed as farmland and you start up a farming operation, you may qualify for farmland status in the following tax year. To determine if you qualify, contact the County’s assessor at 825-385-0055 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Application/Declarations forms are available online or at the Beaver County Office.
To qualify as a farming operation, there must be a sale of agricultural products that were raised on or produced from the applying parcel of land. Sales receipts and evidence of farm income will help to determine your eligibility.
Your property will be inspected for farm activity and you will be required to provide a historical sales log or other proof of farm sales from the parcel of land on which you are making application. Otherwise, the parcel of land will be assessed on the basis of market value.
Your property can qualify for farm status in the following tax year if you re-apply for farm classification and meet the legislated requirements.
Not necessarily. To receive farm classification every year, the property which is classed as farmland shall be required on an annual basis to be used for farming operations and meet this legislative requirement.
Beaver County’s Assessment & Taxation Department may from time to time conduct property inspections or require further information from you to support the continued farm use classification.
All farmland sales are investigated thoroughly, identifying buyer and seller, analysis of arms length transactions, market value property analysis, use of existing farm practices by the seller, and future use of property by the buyer.
Beaver County’s Assessment & Taxation Department will determine whether a piece of property can continue to be assessed as farmland.
It is your responsibility to submit a farm declaration form if you change the use of your property to farming operation.
Yes, you are eligible to receive farmland status when a tenant takes over the use of the property by virtue of a lease agreement, IF the tenant is fully involved in a farming operation on the parcel of land. The tenant must meet the legislative requirements.
Secondly, you will be required to provide a copy of the lease agreement between yourself and the tenant.
An Assessor visits your property to accurately determine the physical characteristics, condition and use of the property. An Assessor will determine if buildings are present on the property and their use. The Assessor will also determine how the parcel is to be assessed, if all or part of the parcel is being used for farm, a farm residence, or other uses on the property or within buildings.
The Municipal Government Act provides assessors with the authority to enter the property and examine records in accordance with their duties. A letter is sent out from Beaver County’s Assessment & Taxation Department notifying the property owner of a forthcoming inspection. This letter officially serves as notification to the property owner of an upcoming inspection.
Can my assessment classification change as a result of an inspection?
The objective of a farm property inspection is to ensure that the proper assessment classification is placed on the property. If the assessor determines that your property may classify for farmland status, you may be contacted for more information.
How will the loss of farmland status change my taxes?
If a parcel of land is not farmed, it will be assessed at market value. This will result in an increase in property taxes.
For more information about assessment contact Orest Golinowski, Assessor at 780-663-3730 or email@example.com