Frequently Asked Questions
What are my property taxes used for?
Your property tax bill generally consists of two major items: (1) municipal taxes and (2) provincial education property taxes.
Municipal property taxes are set by the municipality to pay for local municipal services such as road maintenance and snow clearing, street lighting, parks and recreation facilities, police and fire protection, land use planning, community programs, seniors and perpetually affordable housing.
Education property taxes are set by the Government of Alberta. The municipality collects the tax and forwards it to the Government of Alberta to pay for primary and secondary education delivered by schools boards across the province. The Town of Canmore has no control over this amount.
How is the value of my property determined?
The majority of residential and commercial properties are assessed using the market value standard which estimates the value your property would likely sell for on the open real estate market between a willing buyer and seller. Most commonly this value is determined through a comparison of similar properties and a minimum of the past three years of sale prices. If sales data is not readily available for a particular property, an assessor may also use an income approach or cost approach to determine the market value assessment.
Approximately every five years, we update the physical details we have on file for each property so that the most accurate property assessment can be made. Property owners are required to provide information to the assessor, or they could lose their right to appeal their assessment the following tax year.
What factors will affect the market value of my home?
Factors that may affect residential market value include the total finished living area, quality of structure, age of structure, level of modernization, building type (i.e. duplex, etc.), structure type (i.e. bungalow, two-storey, etc.), unit type in condominiums, type and size of garage, lot size and zoning, lot topography and access, views from the property and location of the property to traffic, greenspaces, community services, commercial properties, multi-family properties, waterways, schools, trains, transmission lines and communication towers.
Why is the value on my assessment notice higher/lower than what my property is worth today?
Your property taxes are based on the value of your property as of July 1 the previous year. Changes in real estate market conditions can result in substantial changes in property values between the time of valuation and when property assessment or tax notices are received by property owners. Any change in those property values will form the basis for the next year’s assessment.
Why is my neighbour’s property assessed higher/lower than mine?
There are a number of factors that can affect the value of property. Consider the following factors when comparing the value of two neighbouring properties:
-Lot size and influences to each lot – i.e. traffic, parks, walk-out lot
-Type of house structure – i.e. bungalow, two-storey, or split level
-Size of the house
-Age and condition
-Basement development – i.e. finished or unfinished or a walk-out basement
-Presence and size of a garage
-Renovations and quality of interior and exterior finishes
Why am I receiving a separate tax notice for my parking stall?
As per direction from the Provincial Government, Titled Parking units are assessed and taxed separately from the living unit. Separate assessment notices and tax notices are issued. Please note that this tax is a separate amount and therefore not included in the monthly payment plan for those that are currently enrolled in the Tax Installment Payment Plan (TIPP) for the living unit. Should you wish to enroll on an automatic withdrawal program for the annual payment, please contact the Property Tax Department for the one-time annual debit agreement. Due to the relatively low levy for Titled Parking Units, the monthly debit plan is not available for parking stalls.
Why did some neighbourhoods get assessed so much higher than others?
In some neighbourhoods, there were a significant number of recent, higher-value property sales that had influenced higher property assessments in that community. While a few properties may have sold for comparable values in previous years, there may not have been enough of those sales in the neighbourhood to justify a property assessment increase to all properties.
How does my property assessment affect my property taxes?
The Town of Canmore uses the assessed value of your property to determine your share of municipal property taxes and your share of provincial education taxes.
How are property tax rates determined?
Each December, Council will determine the amount of money needed to operate the municipality. From this amount, sources of revenue other than property tax, such as user fees and provincial grants, are subtracted. The remainder is the amount of money the Town of Canmore needs to collect through property taxes in order to provide municipal services for the year. For example:
Cost to operate municipality: $1,000,000
Less: Revenue from fees and grants: (300,000)
Property taxes required: $700,000
Total assessment in municipality: $100,000,000
Calculation for Municipal Tax Rate: $700,000 ÷ $100,000,000
Result is a municipal tax rate of 0.0070
Note: This calculation only offers a simplified explanation of how municipal tax rates are determined and does not account for the multiple tax rates for each type of property (e.g. tourist homes, vacant property, etc).
How are provincial education tax rates determined?
The education property tax rate is calculated different from property tax rates. Each year, the Government of Alberta will determine the total amount of revenue to be drawn from property taxes from across the province to pay for the K-12 education system. The province bills each municipality for its share of the education property tax requirement. This is known as the “education property tax requisition” or “education tax.”
Each municipality uses the following formula to calculate its local education tax rate that will be taxed on properties: Local education tax rate = municipality’s education tax requisition ÷ total assessed value of all properties
For example: A municipality’s education property tax requisition is $1,200,000 and the total value of assessed property is $475,000,000. Therefore, the calculation is $1,200,000 ÷ $475,000,000 = a local education tax rate of 0.0025.
Note: This calculation only offers a simplified explanation of how education tax rates are determined and do not account for the creation of multiple tax rates for each type of property. For example, the provincial education tax requisition is split between residential and non-residential properties so a municipality will have two different education tax rates depending on the type of property.
If I do not agree with my property assessment, what can I do?
If you have concerns about the information in your assessment notice, you should contact the assessor. If after having a discussion with the assessor, you are still of the opinion that your assessment is incorrect, you have the option to file a written complaint with the the Town of Canmore's assessment review board as long as it is filed within the defined complaint period. Instructions can be found on your assessment notice.
Can I appeal my taxes?
No, you cannot appeal your taxes. Property taxes are based on the municipal tax rates that are applied to the values of all properties in a municipality. You may appeal the assessed value of your property but it must be done during the period specified on your assessment notice.
While a property owner cannot appeal the taxes on an individual property, property owners can contact their municipality’s administration or council to discuss opportunities to minimize the level of taxation on all property owners in the future.
I have filed a complaint regarding the assessment of my property. Do I still need to pay my property taxes?
Yes, you must still pay your taxes by the due date to avoid penalties. If a decision on your complaint results in a lower tax levy, you will be credited the appropriate amount.
Does a change in my property assessment affect my property taxes?
Yes, it can. A change in your property taxes is typically a result of three factors:
Whether the change in your property’s assessed value is higher or lower than the average change in property values in the municipality; or
Changes in the amount of money required by the municipality’s budget;
Changes in the amount of money required by the province through the education property tax.
For example: If the value of your property increased by 7 per cent while the average increase in property values in the municipality was 5 per cent, then your property taxes may increase.
Why did I receive a property assessment notice that is separate from my property tax bill?
Your assessment notice is provided in March to give you time to review your property’s assessed value and contact the the Town of Canmore if you have concerns about the assessment before property taxes are determined. Since you are not able to dispute your property tax bill, you must address any concerns with your assessment notice before the assessment complaint deadline closes.
Why did I receive a supplementary notice?
You received a supplementary assessment and tax notice because of new construction to your property that was not included in the current year’s assessment and tax notice. You are being taxed on that additional value so that you pay your fair share of property taxes that support municipal services provided to your property in the year. The resulting supplementary tax is pro-rated based on the number of months your newly built property has been completed or occupied.
For example: A property owner receives their previous year property assessment notice for $500,000 which represents their vacant lot. In April, they start construction of a new house and complete it in October. During this time they pay their property tax on the $500,000 value of their land. At the end of October they receive a supplementary assessment for $350,000, which represents the value of the new building. Supplementary tax will be levied on the value of the building and is pro-rated for the three remaining months (October to December) of the previous tax year.
Will my property taxes increase if I renovate my house?
A significant improvement to a property generally increases its market value and subsequently its assessed value because your assessment is based on market value. Improvements such as a new addition, new garage, or basement development will increase your property assessment. Interior renovations may increase your assessment depending on the extent to which the market value has been enhanced.
Are there any property tax programs available for seniors?
The Government of Alberta offers the Seniors Property Tax Deferral Program
that allows eligible senior homeowners to defer all or part of their property taxes through a low-interest home equity loan with the Alberta government. If you qualify, the Alberta government will pay your residential property taxes to the municipality on your behalf. You re-pay the loan, with interest, when you move or sell the home, or sooner if you wish.
Can I get information about how my property was assessed?
Yes, instructions on how to contact the assessor for that information can be found on your assessment notice.
How do I get information about other comparable properties?
You are entitled to request a summary of information on properties that are similar to yours. Instructions on how to contact the assessor for that information can be found on your assessment notice.
What are the important dates in the property assessment and taxation process?
July 1 - Your property is valued based on what it would have likely sold for on the open real estate market as of this date.
December 31 - Any changes in the physical condition of your property as of this date are factored into your property assessment from July 1
February/March - Assessment notices are mailed to property owners. You have 60 days to file a complaint as per your assessment notice.
April/May - Council approves the tax rates and tax notices are mailed to property owners based on the assessed values collected on July 1 of the previous year.
June - Deadline to pay property taxes is the last business day of June.
July 1 - Municipalities may apply a penalty to any unpaid taxes owing.
Where can I see a simple example of how property assessments relate to property taxes?
The City of Airdrie has created an easy-to-understand video
to help explain how it works.
For specific information on property assessments, visit Rates and Assessments