In 1995, the new Municipal Government Act consolidated a number of acts governing municipalities, including the former Municipal Government Act, the Municipal Taxation Act and other related legislation. In addition, the act set out the foundations for a current market value based assessment system for most property in Alberta.
The Municipal Government Act gives direction to municipalities to prepare assessments every year. The Municipal Government Act sets out two types of valuation standards—the market value based standard and the regulated procedure based standard. The market value based standard is considered the most fair and equitable means of assessing property. It is fair because similar properties are assessed in the same manner; it is equitable because owners of similar properties in a municipality will pay a similar amount of property tax. The regulated procedure based standard uses rates and procedures prescribed by Municipal Affairs to calculate assessed values for certain types of properties. These types of properties include farmland, linear property, machinery and equipment, and railway property.
The following article will explain the process of assessment and taxation, and how that affects tax rates in Milo.
Municipal Property Taxation
Under the Municipal Government Act, municipalities are responsible for collecting taxes for municipal and educational purposes. Property taxes are levied based on the value of the property as determined from the property assessment process. Property taxes are not a fee for service, but a way of distributing the cost for local government services and programs fairly throughout a municipality.
The property tax system is comprised of two distinct processes—preparing the assessments, and setting the tax rate. The assessor's job is to prepare assessments. The municipal council is responsible for completing the second process, setting the tax rate. In addition to setting the tax rate, the municipal council is responsible for calculating the taxes payable, and collecting the taxes.
The Assessment Roll
An assessment roll is a listing of all assessable properties in a municipality and their assessed values. The Municipal Government Act requires each municipality to produce an assessment roll by February 28 of each year.
The assessment roll must contain the following information for each assessed property:
- Assessed person (owner of the property), including name and mailing address
- Property type assessed (land, improvements, or land and improvements)
- Description of the property
- Assessed value
- Assessment class
- School support declaration
- Taxable status (total or partial exemption from taxation)
Assessment notices are created from the information on the assessment roll. The assessment notice is the document that municipalities send to property owners to tell them about the assessment of their property.
An assessment notice or an amended assessment notice must show the following:
- the same information that is required to be shown on the assessment roll;
- the date the assessment notice or amended assessment notice is sent to the assessed person;
- the date by which a complaint must be made, which date must be 60 days after the assessment notice or amended assessment notice is sent to the assessed person;
- the name and address of the designated officer with whom a complaint must be filed;
- any other information considered appropriate by the municipality.
- Each year every municipality is required to send an assessment notice to every assessed person listed on the assessment roll. Each municipality must publish a notification in one issue of a local newspaper to announce that the assessment notices have been mailed to property owners within the municipality.
Sometimes an error is found on an assessment notice. The assessed person can contact the assessor to have this information corrected. Corrections can only be made to current-year assessment notices. This means that an assessor cannot change an error, omission, or wrong description on an assessment notice from a previous year.
Each property listed on the assessment roll in a municipality receives an assessment notice, even if its exempt from property taxation. One of the important features of Alberta's assessment system is that assessed persons have the ability to complain about their assessment or tax status. If an assessed party believes that his or her property should receive an exemption from assessment, property taxation, or both, then the property's exemption status can be challenged via an assessment complaint.
If you believe your own or any other assessment is unfair, you may file a written complaint to the Assessment Review Board. The Assessment Review Board has the authority to review your assessment and direct the assessor to make amendments. It's function is to hear evidence as to whether your property is assessed on an equitable basis with similar properties.
Pursuant to Section 460 of the Municipal Government Act:
- A complaint must be made on the prescribed form which can be found here or at the village office
- If you intend to have an agent submit a complaint on your behalf, authorization must be provided in writing on the prescribed form which can be found here.
Pursuant to Section 299 and 300 of the Municipal Government Act:
- All assessed persons are entitled to see or receive sufficient information about a person's property or the summary of assessment.
- If you wish to speak to an assessor, please contact the Village of Milo and an assessor will be in touch with you.
- All other requests for information regarding the property or summary of assessment, in accordance with Provincial Legislation, should be in writing and sent to the Village of Milo. The Village of Milo will provide the information requested within 15 days of receipt.
Assessment complaints must be returned to:
CLERK OF THE ASSESSMENT REVIEW BOARD
VILLAGE OF MILO
MILO, AB, T0L 1L0