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Property Tax FAQ

How are municipal property taxes calculated?

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) has urban (city) and rural (areas outside the city) service areas; tax rates for the two areas reflect the differences in service delivery. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has the lowest residential municipal tax rate in the country.

The costs associated with running the municipality are referred to as expenditures, which are offset by the money that comes into the municipality, known as revenue. The revenue is generated through different streams such as grants, user fees and taxes.

Property tax = Expenditures – all other revenue streams
 
All properties within the municipality are divided into classes. This grants Council the ability to establish different rates for residential, other residential (apartments) and non-residential (commercial/industrial) properties.

For 2016, Council voted to lower tax rates in all classes to two per cent below 2015 rates.

What is Revenue Neutral Plus New Construction Growth, and how does it work?

The RMWB utilizes a revenue neutral plus new construction growth approach, meaning the municipality collects the same amount of money from the same category of properties each year, with any increases only coming from new construction growth. This approach will allow the municipality to operate in a way that will drive transparent and fiscally responsible decisions that will see greater return on taxpayer dollars.

When will I get my tax bill?

Council approved the 2016 Property Tax Rate Bylaw on July 5, 2016. Property tax bills will be mailed to residents at the end of July. Property taxes will be due on Aug. 31, 2016.

Who sets the municipal tax rates?

Council sets the municipal tax rates to generate the revenue needed to offset municipal service expenditures with the annual Property Tax Rate Bylaw, which is developed through the annual budget approval process and usually approved in May.

Where does my tax money go?

Your municipal tax money helps pay for the following services:

  • Police
  • Social services
  • Community grants
  • Fire and ambulance
  • Snow removal
  • Libraries
  • Bylaw enforcement
  • SMART Bus
  • Transit services
  • Road construction and maintenance
  • Planning and land use development
  • Parks
  • Playgrounds
  • Swimming pool (urban only)

What about education taxes?

The Municipality collects the provincial education tax on behalf of the Province. The Municipality does not have control over the amount of the provincial education levy. The Province distributes this revenue to school boards across the province on a per capita basis.

This year the provincial education requisition has increased by four per cent. This increase translates into an education tax levy rate increase of six per cent for residential properties and two per cent for non-residential properties.

What about senior citizen lodge accommodation taxes?

The municipality is responsible for collection of senior citizen accommodation taxes, however the amount to be collected is determined by the lodge accommodations (there are two within the RMWB: Ayabaskaw Home and Rotary House). The tax levy the lodge accommodations require is distributed amongst taxpayers based on the assessed value of their property.

How does a general assessment affect taxes?

Annually updating property assessments does not generate more money for the RMWB, however it does redistribute the tax burden within tax rate classes and between the property classes.

For example, within the residential property class, property owners whose property values have increased more than the municipal average will pay a greater share of taxes.

Property owners whose property values have changed at an amount less than the municipal average will pay a smaller share of taxes.

The Municipal Government Act requires municipalities to complete annual general assessments, a process which helps minimize tax shifts experienced by individual taxpayers.

I haven’t received my tax notice in the mail. How can I get another copy of it?

If you do not receive your tax notice by Aug. 5, please contact Assessment and Taxation at assessment.taxation@rmwb.ca or 780-743-7900 to receive a reprint of your tax notice.

My property was destroyed or damaged and have not received my tax notice.

If your home was damaged or is located in a restricted area, please ensure that you have arranged to have your mail forwarded to your current address.

Why is my property tax notice different this year?

Your property tax notice depends on the assessment of your property, as of July 1, 2015. Annually updating property assessments does not generate more money for the RMWB, however it does redistribute the tax burden within tax rate classes and between the property classes. For example, within the residential property class, property owners whose property values have increased more than the municipal average will pay a greater share of taxes. Property owners whose property values have changed at an amount less than the municipal average will pay a smaller share of taxes.

Due to the mandatory evacuation during most of May 2016, the TIPPS program did not take payments for June, and that month’s cost was redistributed over the rest of the year

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