> Home > Municipal Government > Municipal Departments > Assessment and Taxation Department > Property Taxes > Property Tax FAQ

Property Tax FAQ

How are municipal property taxes calculated?

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) has urban and rural service areas; tax rates for the two areas reflect the differences in service delivery.

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 2018, Council voted to reduce the rural non-residential tax rate by 16 per cent. The tax rate for urban residential, other residential and urban non-residential increased by three percent, while the rural residential rate increased by five per cent.

When will I get my tax bill?

Council approved the 2018 Property Tax Rate Bylaw on May 8, 2018. Property taxes were due on June 29, 2018.

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

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 was reduced to $75.9 million. This translates into an education tax levy rate decrease of 1 per cent for residential properties and 5 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.

What is the Designated Industrial (DI) Property Requisition Tax Rate?

The Designated Industrial (DI) Property Requisition Tax Rate is a new tax introduced by the province for 2018. This tax applies province-wide to designated Industrial Property owners and appears as a separate line item on each DI Property owner’s tax bill. As with Provincial Education Tax, the Municipality collects this on behalf of the province without retaining any revenue from this tax.

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 June 14, please contact Assessment and Taxation at assessment.taxation@rmwb.ca or 780-743-7900 or 1-800-973-9663 to receive a reprint of your tax notice.

Why is my property tax notice different this year?

Your property tax notice depends on the assessment of your property, as of July 1, 2017. 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.

Rural Non-Residential Small Business Tax

What is the Rural Non-Residential Small Business Tax Rate?

At the Council Meeting on May 8, 2018, Council approved a motion that created a new tax sub-class for rural non-residential small business. Properties that qualify for this tax rate will receive a 25 per cent reduction from the rural non-residential tax rate. To receive this tax rate, properties must meet criteria outlined in the provincial regulation and submit an application to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

How do I know if I qualify for the small business tax rate?

Property within this tax sub-class must meet the following criteria:

  • Currently taxed as rural non-residential;
  • Property must be owned or leased by a business (properties subleased are excluded);
  • Business must hold an RMWB Business License as of December 31, 2017;
  • Business must have fewer than 50 employees across Canada; and
  • Business must not be a designated industrial property as identified by the Provincial Assessor.

How do I apply?

An application form can be downloaded or completed online. Downloaded forms can be submitted for review by email to smallbusiness.taxrate@rmwb.ca, or by mail or in-person to the Regional Assessor’s Office:

Regional Assessor’s Office
3rd Floor, 9909 Franklin Avenue
Fort McMurray, AB T9H 2K4

What happens after I apply?

Your application will be reviewed by the Assessment and Taxation department. They will contact you if they have any questions. Once your application is assessed, you will receive a response by mail.

If I qualify, do I have to pay my full taxes?

Property Tax Notices were mailed in May and do not reflect the new rural non-residential small business tax rate. Regardless of the status of your application, taxes are due June 29, 2018. If you qualify after that date, you will receive a credit on your account or, if you have already paid your taxes in full, you can choose to receive the funds by cheque.

Who do I contact for more information?

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Assessment and Taxation at assessment.taxation@rmwb.ca or by calling 780-743-7900 or 1-800-973-9663 (toll-free).

WMZones and all subzones are active Nov. 19 - 23. Follow us here for regular updates.