Next week is the Federal deadline to submit your personal taxes and then in June, is our municipal deadline to pay our property taxes. Hence, this week we thought we'd look into our property taxes, how they're calculated and where they go.
Everyone groans at property tax time simply because parting with our hard-earned money is always hard to do. But, there is good reason for these payments. In Alberta, our property taxes are collected both provincially and municipally, where about sixty percent of the collected levy stays within our City and forty percent goes to the Government of Alberta. The collective sum is used to fund a variety of things in the City, such as snow removal, street cleaning, street maintenance and repair, garbage collection, management of parks and green spaces, bylaw services, fire, police and emergency services, recreational and arts programs, events and festivals, protection of historical resources and provide access to our 311 information system. Naturally, everyone has an opinion as to how the funds should be spent and hence disagreements arise, however below is a visual breakdown of approximately how property tax dollars are spent every month (City of Calgary, 2017):
Below is another display of how we compare for Calgary's Municipal rate to other cities. Granted, this statistic is from 2012, but it does show that at the time, our municipal contributions were one of the lowest in the country (City of Calgary 2017):
In terms of how our property taxes are calculated, every calendar year, our City council determines what funds are needed to run City services. From this calculation, they then remove revenue sources such as business tax, user fees, provincial grants, and licence fees. The amount left over is the amount needed to be raised through property taxes. A tax rate is then established and this is the rate charged for every $1 of assessed property value. In 2017, the combined tax rate is set to be 0.0065008 / $1 assessed value. In 2016, the rate was 0.0061738.
Lastly, when it comes to assessing your property, the notice you receive in January from the City depicts the amount it would have sold for on July 1st the previous year, as well as includes any improvements to its physical condition as of December 31st. Factors such as age, location, additions, lot size, renovations and sales of similar properties in the vicinity over the last three years are included in determining the assessment of your property. You can of course challenge the assessment you receive by contacting the City before the start of March of each year.
So, that's your Property Tax bill in a nutshell. As is always the case, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about property taxes and your property. We always enjoy hearing from you!