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Definitions

Alberta School Foundation Fund

A provincial government fund into which all education funds are pooled and then allocated to public and separate system schools across Alberta.

Assessment

Process of placing a dollar value on property for taxation purposes.

Assessment base

The total value of all assessed property within a municipality.

Assessment class

Categories under which each property is assigned for assessment (residential, non-residential, farmland, and machinery and equipment).

Assessment notice

A document provided to each property owner to notify them about the assessment of their property which includes the location, type, description of the property, the assessment class, school support declaration, taxable status, and assessed value.

Assessment Review Board

Quasi-judicial administrative board that provides a forum for property owners to challenge their property assessment, except designated industrial property.

Assessment roll

List of all assessable properties including key details and their assessed values which is required to be produced by each municipality each year.

Assessor

Individuals that are trained and certified to collect and analyze data to determine the value of property.

Business revitalization zone tax

Tax imposed on businesses within a designated land area to fund improvements that will beautify and maintain the area.

Business tax

Tax imposed on business owners (not property owners) within a municipality’s boundaries.

Community aggregate payment levy

Levy on all sand and gravel businesses operating in a municipality to raise revenue to pay for infrastructure in the municipality.

Condition date

The date on which the physical condition of the property is fixed for property assessment purposes. The condition date in Alberta is October 31 for designated industrial property and December 31 for all other property.

Cost approach

One of three approaches used to value property for assessment purposes. The cost approach is based on the theory that a purchaser would not pay any more to purchase a property than it would cost to buy the land and then rebuild the same buildings or improvements.

Court of Queen’s Bench

Alberta’s superior trial court that hears appeals on decisions of assessment review boards.

Designated industrial property

Property that includes linear property, railway, and specific major plants (e.g. large refineries, upgraders, pulp and paper mills).

Education requisition

The amount of tax a municipality must collect on behalf of the province to fund Alberta’s primary and secondary education system.

Education tax

The amount each property must contribute towards a municipality’s overall provincial education requisition. It is included on each property owner’s tax bill.

Equalized assessment

An annual calculation to adjust the assessment data that each municipality reports in order to reach a level of fairness in assessment values for distributing the provincial education property tax requisition and provincial grants among municipalities.

Improvements

Buildings, or other structures, and attachments to land that are intended to remain attached (i.e. sidewalk, pavement, etc.).

Income approach

One of three approaches used to value property for assessment purposes. The income approach is based on the theory that the value of an income-producing property is based on its income-earning potential.

Linear property

Property that generally has distribution networks or other facilities, and may extend across municipal boundaries (i.e. oil and gas wells, pipelines and electrical power systems).

Local improvement tax

A tax imposed on a specific area in a municipality to pay for an improvement that is only applicable to that area (i.e. paving of an alley).

Market value

The most probable price that a property might sell for on the open market between a willing seller and a willing buyer.

Market value standard

A property assessment standard based on the market value of property.

Mass appraisal

Process of valuing a group of properties as of a given date, using common data, mathematical models and statistical tests. The process allows assessors to accurately value a large number of properties in a short period of time.

Municipal Government Act

The legislation governing most aspects of municipal government activities in Alberta.

Property

A parcel of land, an improvement, or a parcel of land and an improvement to the land.

Property taxation

The process of applying a tax rate to an assessed value of property to generate revenue to fund the delivery of services.

Real estate

The physical parcel of land and all improvements permanently attached.

Regulated property

Property that is assessed using prescribed rates and procedures (i.e. farmland, machinery and equipment, linear property and railway property) instead of the market value standard.

Regulated standard

A property assessment standard based on rates and procedures prescribed by the Government of Alberta.

Sales comparison approach

One of three approaches used to value property for assessment purposes. The sales comparison approach is based on the theory that the value of a property is directly related to the prices of similar properties.

Special tax

A tax to fund a special service that will benefit a defined area within a municipality.

Supplementary assessment

Assessment of improvements to a property that were constructed during a year but not captured on the annual assessment notice.

Supplementary taxation

Levy of taxes based on a supplementary assessment.

Tax arrears

Taxes that remain unpaid after December 31 of the year in which they were imposed.

Tax rate

Percentage of assessed value at which each property is taxed in a municipality. Some municipalities express this in terms of mills or a mill rate.

Valuation date

A fixed point in time on which assessment values are based. The valuation date in Alberta is July 1.

Well drilling equipment tax

One-time tax that is imposed on new oil and gas wells that are drilled. The tax is based on the depth of the well and is intended to fund the cost of infrastructure.