Understanding Your Assessment
Confused about the assessment process? The language of assessment can be very confusing. For a simple explanation of how your assessment is prepared, what the numbers mean, and how your taxes are calculated, please see the questions below:
Why is an Assessor visiting my property?
In order to properly assess property, the Assessment Department needs to collect accurate property data. When an Assessor visits your property, he/she is simply collecting data and classifying your property- valuations are not done during inspections.
An Assessor will visit all properties that have had changes in the current year. Assessors will also re-inspect every property in the County on a five year rotation.
Having an Assessor visit your property can be a good opportunity for you to confirm that the assessment data is correct. Assessors will be more than happy to review any of your assessment information with you.
Do I have to allow an Assessor onto my property?
You may refuse access to the Assessor, although legislation gives the Assessor specific authority to inspect your property and/or to request anything that is necessary to assist in the assessment. You must provide the information that is necessary to assess your property. Usually, if an inspection is refused, the Assessor will attempt to update your information by estimating details from outside your property. By denying access to an Assessor, you may lose the right to appeal your assessment through the Assessment Review Board. Also, the assessor or the municipality may apply for a Court of Queen's Bench Order for inspection to be allowed.
Why has the assessed value of my residential or commercial property increased?
There are several reasons why your assessment may have increased:
- If the property values have increased in your area, the assessment will be adjusted to properly reflect the new value of your property;
- Any physical change to the property that would increase the market value will increase the assessment.(ie. New building, addition, etc.);
- If your previous property assessment did not accurately reflect market value, an adjustment may have been made to correct this.
How do I know if my assessment is accurate?
You should first attempt to determine the value of your property as of July 1st of the previous year. This can be done by looking at comparable sales, or speaking with an appraiser or real estate agent. Once you have an idea of the market value, you can compare that with your assessed value. You can also compare your property assessment with the assessments of similar properties. This information is available at the County office. Please feel free to call an Assessor for assistance with obtaining comparable property information.
What is the MVC Assessment Subdivision Policy?
Under the direction of the Province of Alberta’s Matters Relating to Assessment and Taxation Regulation, land is assessed at market value unless farming operations cause the assessor to apply farm land assessment rates.
In Mountain View County:
- New subdivisions are assessed first from the office, using ownership change information from the Southern Alberta Land Titles Office.
- Because inspections are not made by the staff who place the new parcels on the assessment roll, certain assumptions are made in the new assessments.
- If the parent parcel is assessed at market value, the newly subdivided parcel will be assessed at market value.
- If the parent parcel has farmland assessment, and the newly subdivided parcel is owned by the same owner, the new parcel will be assessed as farmland, except where the new parcel is less than one acre in size. Legislation states that such parcels must be assessed at market value.
- If the new parcel is improved with a residence, or residences, three acres of land and the residence(s) will be assessed at market value. The remaining land on the parcel will be assessed as farmland.
- If the newly subdivided parcel has been sold, and it is less than ten acres in size, it will be assessed at market value.
- Larger parcels sold from a parent farmland parcel will be assessed as farmland, vacant or improved.
- The status of the new parcel(s) will be inspected during the upcoming assessment cycle. Changes to status will be made as necessary. However, if Assessment Services receives information before that next inspection that the parcel is being used for farming operations, farmland assessment can be applied.
- If you have subdivided land, talk to Assessment Services about the use of your land during the assessment year, and whether the new property should be assessed as farmland or not.
- Changes to the County Assessment Roll are made in the "Assessment Year". These changes include subdivisions of land. In the next calendar year, annual assessment notices are sent out. The status of the land can be clarified and the assessment adjusted in the 60 day inquiry/appeal period. Parcels assessed at market value that have been used for farming operations in the assessment year can have farmland assessment applied.
Why does the County Ask About My Sale Price?
Following the sale of properties, the Assessment Services office inquires about the sales for the purpose of finding mass appraisal values for the next assessment and for the purpose of assessing each property correctly according to Provincial Legislation.
The Assessment Services office sends out three forms that request assisting information for the assessment of property:
- The Sale Confirmation Form clarifies the circumstances of the sale to tell the assessor if the sale price is a useable indicator of value for the next assessment year. The Province of Alberta has set Market Value by Mass Appraisal as the standard of assessment for real property. The market value portion of each property assessment is derived from real estate sale prices.
- The Statement of Agricultural Land Form tells the assessor whether the parcel should have a farmland assessment. If the land is:
- being used in a manner that is recognized as farming operations in the Matters Relating to Assessment and Taxation Regulation,
- used by the owner or another operator, either of whom is recognized as a farmer by the Assessor, it is valued at provincially regulated rates based on its ability to produce farm income.
The assessment that comes from these rates is NOT market value.
- The Statement of Agricultural Buildings Form tells the assessor if the residence on the parcel is eligible for tax exemption coming from farmland assessment on the owner's lands in other Alberta municipalities.
What assessment information is available to me?
The assessed value and tax total of any property in the County is available to you. You can look at this information provided you have the legal description of the property. This information is available on a computer that is located in the main hall of the County office, and can be used by anyone during County business hours.
If you would like more detailed information about the assessment of your property, an Assessor can provide it to you at anytime.
Owner information is protected under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and is not available.
What can I do if I disagree with my assessment?
First, please give a call to our Assessment Department (403-335-3311 or toll free 877-264-9754) to discuss your concerns, or send an email to the following individuals:
- Oil and Gas/Linear - Please contact Mike Kreiger (ext 111) - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Residential/ Commercial/ Industrial - Please contact Adam Martin (ext 141) - email@example.com
- Residential/Commercial - Please Contact Sheldon Farrell (ext 229) - firstname.lastname@example.org
- All of the above - Please contact Manager of Assessment Services Mike Kreiger (ext 111) - email@example.com
If there is valid evidence that your assessment information is not correct, we will update it immediately. Our staff would be pleased to answer any questions you may have, and we will make every effort to address your concerns.
If, after the Assessment Department has explained your assessment, and you still have unresolved issues, you may file a complaint with the Assessment Review Board (ARB). It must be filled within 60 days from the date your assessment notice was mailed which is on your assessment notice. The ARB has the authority to review your assessment and make amendments when appropriate. The ARB is can hear evidence as to whether your property is assessed accurately and on an equitable basis with similar properties. Please note that taxes cannot be appealed to the Assessment Review Board.
Fees for Complaints are:
- Residential / Farmland Per parcel - $50.00
- Commercial / Industrial (based on assessment value)
- Less than $500,000 Per parcel - $100.00
- $500,000 - $999,999 Per parcel - $300.00
- $1,000,000 - $4,999,999 Per parcel - $500.00
- $5,000,000 and over Per parcel - $650.00
Assessment complaints must be accompanied with the above fee otherwise they will not be considered a valid assessment complaint. If an assessment complaint is successful the complaint fee will be refunded.
Provincial legislation outlines how property assessment complaints must be made. The complaint must be submitted on an approved Assessment Review Board Complaint Form.
Taxes are payable on or before September 15th, regardless of any assessment under complaint.
- A complaint must be in writing.
- A complaint must explain why the complainant thinks that the information shown on the assessment notice is incorrect.
- A complaint must include the mailing address of the complainant.
- A complaint cannot be accepted after the "Final Date for Complaint". (Found on the top left corner of your assessment notice)
- A complaint must be addressed to the attention of the "Clerk of the Assessment Review Board" and mailed to the County address (Mountain View County, PO Bag 100, Didsbury, Alberta, T0M 0W0.