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RMWB Council approves reduction in property taxes and provides tax relief

(Fort McMurray, AB – May 12, 2020) – The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) Council approved the 2020 Property Tax Rate Bylaw resulting in a $168 million reduction in overall property taxes and passed the Tax Penalty Relief Bylaw allowing property tax payments and penalties to be deferred until Oct. 1.    

“Tonight, Council took a step to directly support the local economy and jobs, provide tax relief and waived fees for more municipal services to ensure community members have the support they need to overcome the challenges we are facing,” said Mayor Don Scott. “The Municipality will continue to invest in the projects, programs and services residents and businesses need to succeed while exploring and considering all options to assist residents and local businesses as we move forward on our path to recovery.”        

The approved 2020 Municipal Budget originally required $604 million from property tax revenue. While the current operating and capital budget has not changed, the required property tax revenue has been decreased by $112 million, with reserve funds being proposed to be used instead. With this decrease, the total reduction in overall property taxes from 2019 is $168 million. The decision to further reduce the tax burden on property owners is in direct response to the global pandemic, lower oil prices and a historic natural disaster.

“Our region has enjoyed periods of significant economic growth, allowing the Municipality to develop a strong fiscal management strategy focused on long-term financial sustainability,” said CAO Jamie Doyle. “Reducing spending and access to reserve funds are major components of this strategy and have allowed the Municipality to maintain some of the lowest tax rates in the province, ensuring most residents and businesses will see a reduction on their property tax bill this year while also lowering the tax ratio.” 

The approved 2020 Property Tax Bylaw will reduce the tax ratio between the highest non-residential and lowest residential tax rate to 7.78:1. The Municipality is working towards a 5:1 tax ratio, which is what the Government of Alberta defines as a “conforming” Municipality. In 2017, the RMWB had a tax ratio of 18:1.

Tax notices will be mailed by the end of May. Property taxes are due June 30, 2020. However, Council has approved the Tax Penalty Relief Bylaw, which gives community members the opportunity to defer property tax payments until Sept. 30, 2020. In addition to deferring payments, the initial late penalty and penalties on outstanding balances have been waived until Oct. 1, 2020, with further late penalties being waived for the remainder of the year. For those wishing to defer payments, please contact Pulse. Community members who pay their property taxes through their financial institution, must contact their financial institution to defer payment.

The 2020 Property Tax Rate Bylaw includes the rural non-residential small business property sub-class. Properties that meet the criteria outlined in the provincial regulation can apply for a further 25 per cent reduction from the rural non-residential rate. The online application period is open from June 1 to Dec. 31, 2020.

The Property Tax Rate Bylaw establishes the rates at which different property classes are taxed and is calculated based on the total assessment value of properties within each property class. This bylaw is essential for completing the work set out in the approved operating and capital budgets.

Provincial Education Tax 
The Municipality collects the provincial education tax on behalf of the Province. Education funding continues to comprise the largest part of a residential tax bill. The Municipality does not have control over the amount of the provincial education levy.

Designated Industrial Property Requisition Tax Rate

The Designated Industrial (DI) Property Requisition Tax Rate was introduced by the province in 2018. This tax applies to designated Industrial Property owners across the province 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. Designated Industrial Properties are assessed by the provincial assessor.

For further information regarding property taxes, please visit rmwb.ca/taxes.

For questions, contact Pulse at 780-743-7000, 1-800-973-9663 or online at rmwb.ca/pulse.  

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Media inquiries:
media@rmwb.ca 

 

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