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This section provides an overview on common issues that municipalities face with regards to property assessment and taxation. While this list could be extensive, the purpose is to satisfy the basic needs of individuals that are new to the municipal environment. If you have suggestions for other topics to be included on this page, please email AUMA Advocacy.
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.
Property taxation is the process of applying a tax rate to an assessed value of property to generate revenue to fund the delivery of services. The assessment of property serves as the framework to allocate property taxes among property owners. In Alberta, those property taxes are used to fund services delivered by municipal governments and regional and provincial programs such as K-12 education.
The Municipal Government Act provides a complaints and appeals system for property owners who have concerns about their assessment.
Prior to filing a complaint, property owners are encouraged to contact the assessor to review the issue. If the property owner determines that the issue has not been resolved, they have the option to file a written complaint with, depending on the type of property, the municipality’s assessment review board (ARB) or the Municipal Government Board (MGB).
Equalized assessment is a process to audit and adjust the assessment data that each municipality reports to the province in order to reach a level of fairness in taxable assessment amongst municipalities. The province uses equalized assessments to determine each municipality’s requisition for a regional or provincial program or the allocation of grants to municipalities.
The most common example of a provincial program that is funded by property tax requisitions is the education tax.
In comparison to other types of taxation systems, the property taxation system offers a relatively stable source of tax revenue for government. When the economy is growing, any growth in property tax revenue is delayed until new construction brings new homes and commercial and industrial developments into the tax base. Conversely, when the economy declines, the assessment base does not immediately change and, therefore, property tax revenue remains stable.