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Property assessment is the process of assigning a dollar value to a property for taxation purposes. In Alberta, a property is taxed based on the value of the property. Property assessment is the method used to distribute the tax burden among property owners in a municipality. Your assessment is completed using the laws outlined in the Municipal Government Act. All municipalities are required, by law, to use and follow this act.
The following are a few frequently asked questions about property assessment:
What is the difference between assessment and taxes?Quite often property owners confuse taxes with assessment. It is important to distinguish the difference. Although one impacts the other, each is a distinct and independent process. "Assessment" is the process of assigning a dollar value on a property for taxation purposes. This value is used to calculate the amount of taxes that will be charged to the owner of the property. "Taxation" is the process of applying a tax rate to a property's assessed value to determine the taxes payable by the owner of the property. An owner cannot change the tax rate, however an owner can question their property assessment.
How do I know my assessment is correct?Red Deer County assessors work diligently to value property as accurately as possible in relation to similar properties and according to provincial regulations and guidelines.
The more accurate the assessed values, the more equitable the entire assessment system is. Detailed information about each property is gathered by making on-site visits and/or by corresponding with the property owner. Correspondence with an owner usually occurs when the assessor is requesting information about the sale of a property, construction costs, or rental income for non-residential property. Information is also available to the assessor from other sources including Alberta Land Titles, Real Estate Multiple Listing Services, and financial institutions. Assessors review properties on a 5 year inspection cycle, as well as periodically to ensure file information is accurate. Having an assessor visit your property for an inspection can be a good opportunity to confirm that the assessment data is correct. If you would like your assessor to re-inspect your property, please call 403.350.2166 and ask to speak to your assessor.
What is market value?All assessments, other than farmland, are based on market values. Properties in Alberta are classified as either residential, non-residential, farmland, linear or machinery & equipment. Some properties have more than one class.
In Alberta, the marketplace determines the values of your property, not the assessor. Properties with similar market values will have comparable assessed values. Market value is determined by analyzing the sales of all property types throughout the municipality. Since assessment reflects median sale values, the assessment may be slightly higher or lower than an actual sale price on a particular property.
What is mass appraisal?Properties in Alberta are assessed using a method called mass appraisal. Mass appraisal is the process of valuing a group of properties as of a given date, using common data, mathematical models, and statistical tests. The use of a mass-appraisal process results in assessments that are accurate in comparison to the market standard and uniform in comparison to similar properties.
How is farmland assessed?Farmland is assessed on the basis of its productive value for agricultural use, and assessed using the annual Alberta Ministers' Guidelines, in conjunction with the Alberta Farmland Assessment Manual. This is not based on market value. This is designed to measure the potential ability of the land to produce agricultural products. The Rural Assessment Policy applies the amount of agricultural valued land assessment in the owner's unit as an exemption towards the residence.
What if I don’t agree with my assessment?The first step a Red Deer County property owner should take if they believe their property assessment is inaccurate is to contact Assessment Services at 403-350-2166 and ask to speak to their assessor. The assessor may request to inspect the property to determine if an error was made; this may include both an interior and exterior inspection of the property. If the assessor agrees that the original notice is not accurate, a corrected notice may be issued. Please note: corrections can only be made to current-year assessment notices and prior to the complaint deadline found on your current year’s Assessment Notice.
If the assessor and the property owner cannot come to an agreement on the assessment, the property owner may begin the formal complaint process by filing a complaint with the municipality’s assessment review board. See FAQ: Assessment Complaint System for further information.
Why does the County ask about my property’s sale information?Assessment Services mails out Sales Verification letters requesting information on properties that have sold in the County. The information collected helps to ensure we are using the correct information when analyzing the market as it relates to the equitable assessment of properties within the County. We appreciate your cooperation in completing the sales information questions and returning the form to our office.
Guide to Property Assessment and Taxation in Alberta
Properties in Alberta are classified as either residential, non-residential, farmland, linear, or machinery & equipment. Some properties may have more than one class. When reviewing your assessment, you should check the classification of your property to ensure that it is properly described.
Residential properties are assessed at market value, as of July 1st of the year preceding the assessment notice and taxation notice. Market value is determined by analyzing the sales of all property types throughout the County. Mass appraisal techniques are used in this valuation process. Since assessment reflects mid-range sale values, the assessment may be slightly higher or lower than an actual sale price on a particular property. The Alberta Provincial Government regulates that the assessment ratio, the ratio of the assessment to an indicator of market value for a property, for all residential properties be 95 to 105 per cent for the median assessment ratio.
The Non-Residential category of property refers to industrial and commercial operations, such as industrial plants, gravel pit operations, service stations, meat processing facilities, stores, etc. Properties that have a multi-purpose use, such as a commercial business operating from a residential acreage, will have the commercial portion of the assessment classed as non-residential. Non-residential land, buildings and structures are assessed at market value as of July 1 of the year proceeding the tax year.
Linear properties include electric transmissions lines, telephone and telecommunications equipment, oil and gas wells, pipelines, towers, power generation and cable. Linear property is assessed by provincial assessors using regulated rates and depreciation schedules which apply specifically to this property. *Red Deer County collects these taxes on behalf of Alberta Municipal Affairs.
MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT
Machinery and Equipment (M&E) that is used for processing or manufacturing is assessed at the stipulated regulatory level as per Minister's Guidelines (updated annually). This category includes properties such as gas plants, gas and oilfield installations, manufacturing facilities, etc.
Farmland is assessed on the ability of land to produce agricultural products. The Minister’s Guidelines in conjunction with the Alberta Farmland Assessment Manual has been utilized to prepare farmland assessments and these assessments are not based on market value. Farm buildings are exempt from assessment and taxation as long as those buildings are only being used for farming purposes.
Farm properties often contain several assessment classes. If the property contains a residence, then the residence along with the first 3.00 acres will be assessed at market value, as if it were a 3.00 acre subdivided parcel. These values are classified as residential on your notice. If there is a commercial or industrial/oilfield operation on the property, all buildings and improvements and the land area used for the operation will be assessed at market value and classified as Non-Residential. If there is Machinery and Equipment used in these operations, it will be classified as Machinery and Equipment. The remainder of acres will be assessed as farmland.
All properties within Red Deer County are reviewed on a five year re-inspection cycle to ensure that assessment information remains current. In addition, property inspections may be conducted by Red Deer County assessors at any time due to circumstances such as development, reported changes to the property and/or a sale of the property, to ensure that the assessment information remains current and as accurate as possible. Red Deer County’s Assessment Services Department strives to value property as fairly as possible in relation to similar properties, and in accordance with provincial legislation, regulations and guidelines. An inspection ensures that all characteristics affecting the property are considered in its valuation. This may include an interior and exterior inspection of the property. Typically, the assessor will be confirming measurements of houses and any outbuildings that do not qualify as farm buildings and may involve the assessor taking photos during the inspection.
Assessor will be identified by driving a Red Deer County marked vehicle and you may request identification at any time. If the assessor is not able to get in touch with the owner while they are on the property, they will leave a door knocker on the door stating who was there and what phone number they can be reached at for inquiries. Alternatively, the assessor may leave a Re-Inspection Form for the property owner to fill out and return to the Assessment Services Department. If you require a re-inspection, or if there are any changes to your property that you would like to report, please call our Assessment Services Department at 403.350.2166 and ask to speak to an assessor.
Red Deer County Assessment & Taxes Forms
Red Deer County receives all Land Ownership changes from Alberta Land Titles. When an owner sells a property, the Land Transfer Documents are filed with Alberta Land Titles. Information is then sent to Red Deer County, on a bi-weekly basis, to make any changes needed. Our system must match what Alberta Land Titles has. This is how we receive the new owners’ name and mailing address (no phone numbers).
In order to remove, change, or add a name on a titled property, you must file through Alberta Land Titles. This can be done through a lawyer or through any registry office that handles Land Title changes, or by contacting Alberta Land Titles at 780.427.2742. There is a cost to do so.
When filling out any paper work for Land Titles, please verify that your mailing address is current and correct. If the mailing address on information Red Deer County receives from Land Titles is different than our system, the mailing address will be changed to the one reported from Land Titles as Land Titles is Red Deer County’s official source for property ownership and mailing address information.
Note: Manufactured mobile homes in Manufactured Mobile Home Parks are not titled property, see FAQ: Manufactured Mobile Home Parks for more information
Red Deer County is home to several Manufactured Mobile Home Parks including: Melody Meadows, Waskasoo Estates, Salem Acres, South Park, Spruce View and Kountry Meadows.
In Manufactured Mobile Home Parks, the mobile home owner owns the manufactured mobile home, but not the land that it resides on. The manufactured mobile home owner must pay property tax on the manufactured mobile home, based on the assessed value of the home.
Property tax on the land in a Manufactured Mobile Home Park is assessed separately from the manufactured mobile homes in the park, and is the responsibility of the land owner.
Red Deer County does not receive manufactured mobile home ownership changes from Land Titles as there is no land owned. To ensure accurate assessment and ownership information, the Manufactured Home Park Manager reports any ownership changes or name changes to Red Deer County directly. Red Deer County will make the ownership change in the file, and subsequent assessment notices and tax notices will be mailed to the new owner.
Mailing Address Changes:
An owner of a manufactured mobile home within a Manufactured Mobile Home Park may change their mailing address by filling out a Change of Address Form and submitting it by fax or mail, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling Red Deer County at 403.350.2166.
To ensure that property owners have a voice in the property assessment system, the Municipal Government Act provides property owners with the ability to ask for an independent review of their property assessment.
The following information provides details on working with the Assessment Review Board to file an assessment complaint:
Filing a Complaint:
The first step an assessed person should take if he or she believes his or her property assessment is unfair or inaccurate is to contact their assessor as assessors can make corrections to a property assessment without a complaint being filed. Contact Red Deer County’s Assessment Services Department at 403.350.2166 to speak to your assessor. Please note that the value shown on the assessment notice is based on the estimated value of that property on July 1 in the previous year.
If the assessor and the property owner cannot come to an agreement, the property owner may begin the formal complaint process by filing a complaint with the Assessment Review Board.
Complainants must demonstrate that the assessment of their property is not correct. Preparing a case for the complaint hearing will take some time and research. See the Alberta Municipal Affairs information brochure: Filing a property assessment complaint and preparing for your hearing for more information on the process (link below or visit www.alberta.ca)
The final date that complaints must be filed by is 60 days from the Notice of Assessment Date; this date is identified on the top right corner of the assessment notice under Complaint Date. Please note that complaint forms that are incomplete, filed late, or without the required filing fee are invalid.
Complaint Filing Fee:
The complaint filing fee must be submitted with the completed complaint form or the complaint will be invalid. Fees for filing a complaint are outlined on the back of your assessment notice.
Cheques for fee are payable to Red Deer County. Please submit your payment and completed provincial complaint form to the County’s Assessment Review Board Clerk at:
Red Deer County 38106 Range Road 275, Red Deer County, AB T4S 2L9
*Please note that a complaint against your assessed property does not exempt you from paying taxes on time or from late payment penalties. If an appeal is successful, the adjustment will be applied to the tax roll. Refund requests must be received in writing to the above address.
Alberta Municipal Affairs - Property assessment complaints and appeals InformationAlberta Municipal Affairs Brochure - Filing a property assessment complaint and preparing for your hearing.Red Deer County Assessment & Taxes Forms Red Deer County Fee Bylaw
In Alberta, education is a provincial program. The taxes that fund the program are raised and distributed on a provincial basis. Education property tax dollars are pooled in the Alberta School Foundation Fund (ASFF) and then allocated among school boards throughout the province. Municipalities collect education tax dollars from their ratepayers, and send them to the province and, in some instances, to a separate school board.
This system of pooling taxes from all municipalities enables the province to provide all students with a standard level of education, no matter where they live.
Each year the province calculates the amount every Alberta municipality must contribute towards the public education system. The calculation is based on a formula that takes into account the equalized assessment in each municipality and the provincial uniform education property tax rate. The municipality then collects and forwards this amount to the ASFF, where it is pooled and then distributed among Alberta’s public and separate school boards on an equal per-student basis.
All property owners pay Education Property Tax on each property they own, with no exceptions based on age or income.
For more information on Education Property Tax call 780-422-7125 (toll-free in Alberta by first dialing 310-000) or access more information below.
Government of Alberta - Education Property Tax
One of the most frequently asked questions received from seniors is whether or not seniors have to pay Education Property Tax. The education tax is a tax based on property assessment; therefore, seniors who own property must pay the education tax.
The Government of Alberta offers a Property Tax Assistance program called the Seniors Property Tax Deferral Program. The Seniors Property Tax Deferral Program allows eligible senior homeowners to voluntarily defer all or part of their residential property taxes, including the education tax portion. This is done through a low-interest home equity loan with the Government of Alberta.
If you qualify, Seniors Property Tax Deferral Program will pay your residential property taxes directly to your municipality on your behalf.
This program is facilitated through the Alberta Government, not Red Deer County. For more information, including application deadlines, call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 (780-644-9992 in Edmonton).
All individuals who own property located in a municipality where both a public school district and a Roman Catholic separate school district exist are required to file a School Support Notice when a property is acquired. An owner may file a notice at any subsequent time.
An owner can declare by filling out the School Support Notice form for either Individuals or Corporations and mail, fax, email to email@example.com or drop off the form to the Red Deer County office. The submission deadline is December 31 of the current year for tax allocation for the following year.
Red Deer County automatically mails out declaration forms once per year for new owners to complete in areas where an owner can declare Roman Catholic.
Section 304(3) of the Municipal Government Act states that the assessed person is responsible for notifying the municipality of the correct address to which assessment notices and tax notices are mailed.
Red Deer County’s official source for property ownership and mailing address information for assessment notices and tax notices is the Certificate of Title as registered with the Province of Alberta Land Titles Office.
To update your mailing address, we strongly encourage you to do so at any Registry Office that handles Land Title changes, or by contacting the Alberta Land Titles Office.
Mailing address changes can be reported to Red Deer County by submitting a Change of Address form. Completed forms can be submitted by mail or fax, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or in person at the County office.
Please note that address changes made at Red Deer County do not get reported to the Alberta Land Titles Office. To change information at the Alberta Land Titles Office, changes must be reported to them directly by the property owner. This ensures any documentation regarding your property will be sent to the correct mailing address by Alberta Land Titles Office. Red Deer County is available to assist with this process if required.
In some areas of the County, off-site levies have been implemented to cover the costs incurred for infrastructure improvements such as roads, water and sewer that benefit that area. One of the County's philosophies is that those properties benefiting from the infrastructure improvements should incur the respective costs.
When new development occurs in areas of the County where off-site levies have not been implemented, the developers will be responsible for construction and installation of all infrastructure to Red Deer County standards.