Assessment and Taxation

 

PROPERTY TAXES

 

Taxes are due and payable by November 30 of each year

 

A 14% penalty is added on December 1.

 

Please make arrangements to have your payment

 reach the County office by November 30.

 

Post dated cheques are accepted and will be deposited on the date stated on the cheque.

 

Assessment and Tax Notices are generally mailed in June of each year.  If you do not receive your assessment and tax notice by the end of June, please contact the County Office immediately.  Failure to receive an assessment and tax notice does not exempt you from the responsibility for payment of your taxes.

 

Taxes are due and payable on November 30 of each year.  A 14% penalty is added on December 1 to any outstanding balances.

 

The County Office is happy to accept post-dated cheques to November 30.  These cheques will be held until the date on the cheque to avoid the deadline being missed.  If you wish to send post-dated cheques, please send them to:

 

County of Warner No. 5
Attention:  Tax Clerk
Box 90, Warner, AB  T0K 2L0

 

For more information please call the Tax Clerk at the County Office or you are welcome to send an email inquiry to:  dking@warnercounty.ca

 

 Assessment Overview

 

Please review your combined assessment and tax notice for each property that you own in the County of Warner to ensure that the information is correct. This information includes the property classification (explained below), plus your name and address.

 

For the current tax year, the County of Warner has prepared a general assessment that complies with current provincial legislation including the Minister's guidelines.  Market Value is the valuation standard for all properties except farmland, railway, linear, and machinery and equipment properties.  Properties not on market value are assessed on regulated rates of assessment.

 

Definition of Market Value - Market value is defined as the amount that a property might be expected to realize if a willing seller sells it on the open market to a willing buyer.

 

Property Classification - Properties are classified as either residential, non residential, farmland, linear or machinery and equipment.  Some properties have more than one class.  The sub-classes of property are detailed below and provide a brief explanation of the general assessment.  Please check the classification of your property to ensure that it is properly described.

 

Residential Properties - Residential properties are assessed at market value.  Market value is determined by analyzing the sales of all property types throughout the municipality.  Mass appraisal techniques are used in this valuation process.  Since assessment reflects mid range sale values, the assessment may be slightly higher or lower than an actual sale price on a particular property.

 

Non-Residential Properties - This category of property refers to industrial and commercial  operations, such as industrial plants, gravel pit operations, service stations, meat processing facilities, stores, etc. Properties that have a multi-purpose use, such as a commercial business operating from a residential acreage, would have the commercial portion of the assessment classed as non-residential.  The non-residential category of land, buildings and structures is assessed at market value.

 

Farmland - Farmland is assessed on the ability of land to produce agricultural products.  The Minister's Guidelines, in conjunction with the Alberta Farmland Assessment Manual, has been utilized to prepare farmland assessments.  The Rural Assessment Policy applies the amount of agricultural valued land assessment in the owner's unit as an exemption towards the residence.

 

Machinery and Equipment - Machinery and equipment (M & E) that is used for processing or manufacturing is assessed at the stipulated regulatory level as per the Minister's Guidelines.  This category includes properties such as gas plants, gas and oilfield installations, seed cleaning facilities, etc. 

 

Linear properties - Linear properties include electric transmissions lines, telephone and telecommunications equipment, oil and gas wells, pipelines, towers, power generation and cable.  Linear property is assessed by provincial assessors using regulated rates and depreciation schedules which apply specifically to this property.

 

Farm Properties - Farm properties often contain several assessment classes.  If the property contains a residence, then the residence, along with the first 3 acres will be assessed at market value as if it were a 3.0 acre subdivided parcel.  These values are classified as residential on your notice.  If there is a commercial or industrial operation on the property, all buildings and improvements and the land area used for the operation will be assessed at market value.  These values will be classified as non-residential.  If there is machinery and equipment used in these operations, the machinery and equipment will be assessed based on regulated rates and the assessment will be classed as machinery and equipment.  The farmland is valued based on agricultural values and is classified as farmland.  Farm buildings are exempt from assessment and taxation to the extent that they are used for farming purposes.

 

 

FILING A COMPLAINT

 

The following two links will open in Adobe:

Brochure:  Filing a property assessment complaint and preparing  for your hearing

Assessment Review Board Complaint Form

 

Please review the information on your Assessment and Tax Notice carefully.  You will receive a single notice for each property that you own.  If you have any questions, please contact the Assessor at 403-642-3635 or by email at mstrate@warnercounty.ca

 

If your concerns about your assessment are not satisfied after reviewing it with the Assessor, you may file a complaint against your assessment to the Assessment Review Board.

 

It is important to complete all fields on the complaint form that are relevant to your property. This will help the assessment review board clerk schedule the appropriate amount of time for your hearing and allow the board members to familiarize themselves with your case prior to the hearing.

 

Section 1 – Notice Type

 

In this section you will indicate what type of assessment or tax notice you received. The type of notice you received will be indicated on the notice, for example, “Annual Assessment” or “Supplementary Assessment”.

 

Section 2 – Property Information

 

This section identifies your property within the municipality. The assessment roll or tax roll number is unique to your property and is indicated on your assessment notice or tax notice. The address or legal land description further verifies the property under complaint. It is important to identify your property type so the clerk of the assessment review board can schedule your hearing with the proper board. For example, if you own a house in the city, you would select the “Residential property with 3 or less dwelling units”. If you own a residence that is located on a farm, you would select “Residential property with 3or less dwelling units” AND “Farm land”.

 

Section 3 – Complainant Information

 

This is where you identify who is filing the complaint on the property described in section 2. If, for example, you are going to have a family member or friend represent you at the hearing, you would identify them in this section. It is important for the municipality and the assessment review board to know who the complainant is because confidentiality could be an issue.  If you have hired someone to file the complaint and represent you at the hearing, you must identify them in this section, and submit the Assessment Complaints Agent Authorization form along with the complaint form.

 

Section 4 – Complaint Information

 

This is where you identify the specific issues (matters) you are filing the complaint about. On the back of the complaint form, you will find a list numbered 1 to 10, of the matters that a complaint can be about. Check the corresponding box on the front of the complaint form. You can check more than one box if your complaint is about more than one matter.

Section 5 – Reason(s) for Complaint

 

In the previous section, you identified the matter(s) for complaint. This section is where you provide the details about the matter. For instance, you may be filing a complaint about matter number 3 (the assessment amount). Here is where you state what information on the assessment notice is incorrect (in this case it would be the assessment amount). You need to explain why the information is incorrect (for example, the square footage on your property record is wrong), what the correct information should be (for example, the actual square footage), and what the requested assessed value is.

Note: An assessment review board must not hear any matter regarding an issue that is not identified on the complaint form. This means that you cannot introduce new evidence or issues at the hearing that have not been disclosed.

 

You must indicate if you have met or spoken to the assessor prior to filing the complaint, and the date and outcome of that discussion. If you have not spoken to the assessor, you must explain why you did not. You may attach additional information to the complaint form if the space provided is insufficient.

 

Section 6 – Complaint Filing Fee

 

If your municipality has set a filing fee payable by persons wishing to file a complaint, the filing fee must be submitted with the complaint form or the complaint will be invalid. If the assessment review board makes a decision in your favour, or you and the assessor have reached an agreement and your assessment has been corrected and your complaint is withdrawn prior to the hearing, the filing fee must be returned to you.

 

Section 7 – Complainant Signature

 

Be sure to sign, print your name, and date your complaint form, or have the family member or friend representing you sign, print their name, and date it.

 

Note: Your completed complaint form and any supporting attachments including the agent authorization form, and the prescribed filing fee must be submitted together prior to the deadline indicated on your assessment notice  late, or without the required filing fee are invalid.

 

Who do I send my complaint to?

 

All complaints are sent to the clerk of the assessment review board for your municipality. Your assessment notice or tax notice will indicate the address.

 

Tip: To avoid penalties, taxes must be paid on or before the deadline specified on the tax notice even if a complaint is filed.

 

What happens next?

 

The clerk of the assessment review board will review the complaint to ensure required information, proper attachments, and the filing fee have been provided. If there are no problems, the clerk will determine what type of assessment review board will hear your complaint. There are two types of assessment review boards that hear complaints depending on the type of property:

 

• Local Assessment Review Board (LARB) – Members of this board are appointed by the municipality to hear assessment complaints about farmland and residential property with up to three dwelling units.

 

• Composite Assessment Review Board (CARB) – Two members of this board are appointed by the municipality and one member is appointed by the Minister of Municipal Affairs. This board hears complaints about residential property with four or more dwelling units and nonresidential property. Once the clerk determines which board will hear your complaint, you will be notified of the hearing date and location. If your hearing is scheduled with a LARB, you will receive notice at least 35 days prior to the hearing date. If your hearing is scheduled to be heard by a CARB, you will receive  notice at least 70 days prior to the hearing date.

 

Disclosure timelines

 

Once the date of your hearing has been set, you need to be aware of the following critical dates:

 

For a complaint about an assessment to be heard by a LARB:

 

Complainant must provide full disclosure at least 21 days before the scheduled hearing date.

Respondent must provide full disclosure at least 7 days before the scheduled hearing date.

Complainant must provide rebuttal at least 3 days before the scheduled hearing date.

 

For a complaint about an assessment to be heard by a CARB:

 

Complainant must provide full disclosure at least 42 days before the scheduled hearing date.

Respondent must provide full disclosure at least 14 days before the scheduled hearing date.

Complainant must provide rebuttal at least 7 days before the scheduled hearing date.

 

For a complaint about any matter other than an assessment, the parties must provide full disclosure at least 7 days before the scheduled hearing date. An example of a non-assessment matter would be the name or mailing address of an assessed person or taxpayer being incorrect.

 

Disclosure of evidence

 

As the complainant, you are obligated to provide the assessor with the information you will be presenting at the hearing. This is referred to as disclosure. Disclosure must include:

 

• All relevant facts supporting the matters of complaint described on this complaint form.

• All documentary evidence to be presented at the hearing.

• A list of witnesses who will give evidence at the hearing.

• A summary of testimonial evidence.

• The legislative grounds and reason for the complaint.

• Relevant case law and any other information that the complainant considers relevant.

 

Note: The timelines for disclosure must be followed. Any information that has not been disclosed will not be heard by the assessment review board. The disclosure timelines can be reduced if the disclosure information is provided at the time the complaint is filed, and only if agreed to by both parties.

 

Preparing for your hearing

 

When you are preparing for your hearing, it is important to remember that you are responsible for gathering information that proves your assessment is unfair or inaccurate. Your goal is to demonstrate that the assessment on your property is not a fair estimate of the market value of your property in comparison to other similar properties in your neighbourhood.

 

Think about how you want to present your comparison information to the board. You could describe your property and explain how each of your comparable properties is similar to or different from your property. Use the sale prices or assessments of your comparison properties to show how the assessment of your property is inaccurate or unfair.

 

Bring your comparison chart to the hearing along with other information you have gathered including:

 

• The notes you took when you reviewed the assessment roll.

• Copies of the registry searches.

• Any other material you have gathered, such as photographs and maps.

 

This information will help you to answer questions about the accuracy of your comparisons. If you say there is a physical problem with your property that affects its value, bring to the hearing:

 

• Written confirmation that the problem exists and a repair estimate from at least one reputable contractor.

• Photographs of the problem area.

• The written opinion of a realtor or appraiser saying how this might affect the value of your property in the current market. This opinion may or may not be accepted as

evidence.

 

Tip: Make copies of all your material (including photographs) to take to the hearing, for yourself, the board members, and the assessor. Contact the assessment review board to confirm the number of copies you will need to provide.

 

Note: Information that has not been disclosed prior to the hearing will not be heard by an assessment review board.

 

At the hearing The following is a typical sequence of events at an assessment review board hearing:

 

• The hearing is called to order and board members are introduced.

• The clerk reads the assessment complaint.

• You and the assessor introduce yourselves.

• The presiding officer outlines the hearing process.

• You and the assessor summarize your presentations.

• You present your case.

• The assessor and board members may ask you questions.

• The assessor presents his or her case.

• You and the board members may ask questions.

• You may offer evidence regarding the assessor’s case.

• You summarize your case and state your argument.

• The assessor summarizes his or her case and states an argument.

• The board considers the information presented.

• The board may announce its decision at the hearing if the members believe they can make an immediate decision.

• Whether or not an oral decision is provided, you will be provided with the board’s decision in writing within 30 days of the hearing.

 

An assessment review board may make any of the following decisions:

 

Dismiss the complaint if it was not made within the proper time.

• Dismiss the complaint if you have not explained why you think information in the assessment or tax notice is incorrect or unfair.

• Change the following: the assessment, the description of your property or business, the name and mailing address on the assessment notice, an assessment class, an assessment subclass, the type of property, the type of improvement, the school support, whether the property is assessable, whether the business or property is exempt from taxation.

• Decide that no change is required.

 

You may appeal the decision of the assessment review board to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.

 

The complete brochure from Municipal Affairs entitled Filing a Property Assessment Complaint and preparing for your hearing is available here.

 

The Assessment Review Board Complaint Form is available here.

 

Commonly Asked Questions Regarding Assessment

 

1.  Why has my property assessment changed?

Assessments are prepared annually to reflect physical changes to real property and to take into account fluctuations in market conditions.  Assessment values can either be based on Provincially Regulated valuation rates, such as Farmland or Machinery and Equipment; or the Market Value Standard, where sales of similar properties are reviewed and reflected in the assessed value of your property.

 

2.  What if I have a concern about my assessment?

If you have a concern about your assessment, please contact the Assessor.  The Assessment Roll, which lists the assessment values for the municipality, can be viewed at the County office during regular business hours.

 

3.  What should I do if I want to file a complaint against my assessment?

If your concerns are not satisfied after you have reviewed your assessment with an assessor, you may file a complaint against your assessment to the Assessment Review Board.  Complaints must be filed within 60 days of the mailing date shown on the property assessment and tax notice.

 

To file a complaint you must state the reasons why you feel the assessment is incorrect.  Complaints must be in writing and accompanied by payment of an appeal fee in the amount of $20 for each parcel being appealed.  If the Assessment Review Board makes a decision in your favour the appeal fee will be refunded.  REMEMBER, complaints can only be filed against assessments, not against taxes or tax rates.

 

For more information regarding assessment complaints, please see "Filing a Complaint" above.

 

 

TAXATION OVERVIEW

 

Tax Calculation - To calculate your taxes, the assessment is multiplied by the tax rate for your class of property in the appropriate region.  Example: if you have a residential property and are a public school supporter your calculation would be as follows:

 

Assessed Value - $250,000

Tax Rate:  Municipal Residential:  3.140

Education Residential/Farmland:  4.843

Education Uncollectible:  0.000

Total Tax Rate:  7.983

Assessment x Tax Rate = Taxes (250,000 x 7.983/1000) = $1,995.75

 

A tax rate per thousand dollars of assessment.  For example: for each $1,000 of assessed value, taxes would be $7.98.

 

In this example the General Municipal Tax is $785.00 or 39.33% of the total tax levy of $1,995.75.

 

The County of Warner is required to collect the education taxes on behalf of the Province, but has no jurisdiction in setting the tax rate.  The provincial government establishes the Education Tax Rate.

 

 

TIPS FOR AVOIDING THE LATE TAX PAYMENT PENALTY

 

Payments submitted by mail must be clearly postmarked by Canada Post on or before November 30.

 

The last day to pay in person is November 30 of each calendar year.  

 

To avoid line-ups or to ensure we receive your payment on time, you can mail your post-dated cheque in early.  It will be deposited on the date on the cheque (no later than November 30).

 

ASSESSOR

 

The County Tax Assessor is contracted to the County.  He is generally available at the County office one day a week.  If you have any questions concerning the assessment on your property, please call the County Office and ask to speak to the Assessor. 

Phone:  403-642-3635 or 1-888-642-2241

e-mail:  mstrate@warnercounty.ca