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Property Tax Exemptions for Non-Profit Housing

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Resolution Category: 
C.ii.6
Subject: 
Year: 
2009
Status: 
Adopted
Active Clauses: 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association urge the Government of Alberta through the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs and the Minister of Municipal Affairs to amend existing legislation and regulations as required to explicitly authorize municipalities to exempt from the payment of municipal and education property taxes all non-profit affordable housing  owner/operator agencies that are not “Management Bodies” formed pursuant to the Alberta Housing Act.

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association urge the Government of Alberta through the Minster of Housing and Urban Affairs and the Minister of Municipal Affairs to provide municipalities with grants-in-lieu-of-taxes to pay for the costs of municipal services to non-profit housing agencies that are not Management Bodies formed pursuant to the Alberta Housing Act, where those agencies are exempt from the payment of municipal and education property taxes.

Whereas Clauses: 

WHEREAS through its “Housing First: An Investment with Return in Prosperity,” the Alberta Affordable Housing Task Force Report, the Province has identified a need to “strengthen the non-profit sector as a partner in providing affordable housing”;

WHEREAS increasingly non-profit housing provider agencies that are not “Management Bodies” pursuant to the Alberta Housing Act, and as such do not receive annual operating subsidies from any order of government but have a mandate to provide affordable housing to lower-income households in housing need, are struggling to produce and maintain long-term affordable housing due to rising operating costs including property taxes;

WHEREAS a number of municipalities across Alberta are working with housing providers to respond to affordable housing needs and have identified municipal and provincial tax relief as an area of that merits consideration;

WHEREAS in 2008 the Province sent out stakeholder questionnaires to a number of municipalities and non-profit organizations as part of its review of the Provincial Community Organization Property Tax Exemption Regulation (COPTER) and received responses that identified a need for a clarifying amendment to this regulation to eliminate ambiguity in interpretation, that would make explicit reference to non-profit “affordable housing” as qualifying for property tax exemption; and

WHEREAS provincial grants-in-lieu-of-taxes sufficient to offset the foregone municipal property tax revenue arising from the exemption of non-profit, non-Management Body housing agencies from payment of local property taxes will ensure that other property taxpayers do not have to cover the foregone tax revenue associated with a property tax exemption for these agencies.

Government Response: 

May 5, 2010 - Housing and Urban Affairs

In response to Resolution 2009.C.ii.6: Property Tax Exemptions for Non-Profit Housing, municipalities may determine which non-profit organizations are exempt from property taxation on a case-by-case basis.

Jun 25, 2010 - Municipal Affairs

Municipal Affairs is not considering any further expansion to existing property tax exemption provisions in the Municipal Government Act (MGA) or this Act’s attendant regulations. For most municipalities, the levy and collection of municipal property taxes is the single largest revenue source by which to fund operations and provide services to municipal citizens. Further, property tax exemptions would conflict with the principle of local autonomy upon which the MGA is based.

The proposal would remove the ability of the local municipality to consider and make decisions about whether the benefits of any affordable housing exemptions are significant enough to the community to be funded by a tax rate increase to all other non-benefitting municipal citizens, thereby diminishing transparency and accountability.

AUMA Notes: 

AUMA files this response; however, AUMA will continue to advocate for assessment and taxation reforms and to provide municipalities with grants-in-lieu-of-taxes to pay for the costs of municipal services to non-profit housing agencies.