Property Assessment in the MD of Taber

Property Assessment is the process of valuing property for the purpose of fairly and equitably distributing a municipality’s total property tax among property owners. This process establishes the value of a property in relation to similar properties and does not in itself generate property taxes.

Property taxes are generated when the Provincial (school) & Municipal tax rates are applied to the assessed value of your property. The municipal tax rate is based on the amount of revenue required for local programs and services.

In Alberta, assessment is primarily a local government responsibility, with the exception of Linear property which is completed by the Assessment Services Branch of Alberta Municipal Affairs. All assessments are prepared under direction of the Alberta Municipal Government Act (MGA), relevant Regulations and Minister’s Guidelines. These documents define property types and classes, and provide instructions and standards the Assessor must comply with.

"Property" us defined by the MGS s.284(1)(r) as:
(i) a parcel of land,
(ii) an improvement, or
(iii) a parcel of land and the improvements to it;
An improvement can be anything added to bare land including buildings, gravel/paving, fencing, light poles, towers, etc.

For property assessment purposes there are two types of property in Alberta:

1)  Regulated - Generally speaking, these properties are valued according to rates published by Alberta Municipal Affairs for the express purpose of assessment and include properties such as farmland, railway, machinery & equipment and linear (i.e. pipelines, electric power, transmission lines, telecommunications equipment).

2)  Non-Regulated - These properties are valued based on their "market value", and include residential, commercial, and industrial properties (i.e. hamlet residences, acreages, farm residences, warehouses, gas stations, restaurants, etc.)

For Non-regulated property, the Assessor must determine an annual estimate of “market value” that is based on the “fee simple estate” as of July 1 of the assessment year.  The assessment year is the year prior to that in which a tax is imposed, for example, 2016 property taxes are based on the assessment year 2015 therefore the “effective date” of the assessment is July 1, 2015.

Alberta Municipal Affairs audits each municipality’s assessment each year to ensure that it is complete, accurate, and meets the quality standards set out in the MGA, Regulations, and Minister’s Guidelines. Assessment Auditors examine the Assessor’s required data submission and report back to the municipality upon completion.

To prepare the assessment, details about each property must be collected and categorized.

The MGA authorizes the Assessor the “Right to enter on and inspect property” so long as the owner/occupier has been notified and informed the purpose of inspection is to collect information to prepare an assessment of the property for taxation purposes.  The Municipal District of Taber publishes “notification of property inspection” on this website and in its quarterly newsletters. An owner has a legal “Duty to provide information” to the Assessor when it’s requested or he/she may not be able to make a complaint pertaining to that assessment.

To prepare an estimate of value the Assessor needs to know about your property.  Information typically gathered on a property includes the type, size, age, and improvement characteristics (e.g. heating type, plumbing fixtures, interior finish), and the “property class”
based on the use of the improvement and/or property (e.g. residential, farm, commercial, industrial/manufacturing – a property may have be dual purpose, residential & industrial), etc. 

Data collection may be in the form of a physical inspection, in-person or phone interview, by mail-in questionnaire or survey or using electronic data available through photos, land titles, etc.  Your assessment is only as accurate as the information provided to, or gathered by the Assessor when requested. It is YOUR responsibility to contact your municipal office and check your property record to make sure the details are accurate.

Once the Assessor has gathered all the pertinent data on properties in the municipality he/she will “stratify” or categorize the properties into comparable groups according to their location, use, age, type, characteristics, etc.  For example, properties used primarily for residential purposes are classed as Residential, and may be further “stratified” by sub-class such as Vacant or Improved.  Further “stratification” may include groupings based on age and type, for instance One-Story, Two-Story, Bi-level, Split-level, etc.  This is important to ensure that properties are valued fairly and equitably with other similar properties.

If you’ve recently purchased the property the Assessor may also ask for information about the circumstances of the sale to determine if it can be used as an indication of typical market conditions (comparable).  This may include asking:  What the use of the property was at the time of sale? Was it serviced? Was it purchased from a family member or an inheritance? Was there any personal property (e.g. appliances) included? Have there been any changes to the property since the sale?  Information related to properties that have sold is analyzed and then utilized to ensure that assessments are comparable to typical market values as indicated by recent sales.

Property Assessment Determination

Non‑Regulated (Market Value) Property

In Alberta, Non-Regulated properties are valued according to the Market Value standard set out in the MGA and Regulations.  In appraisal and assessment theory there are three “approaches to valuation” when valuing real property. The MD of Taber Assessor primarily utilizes the Cost Approach and the Sales Comparison Approach in evaluating properties for assessment.  Assessments are prepared by applying cost, sales, and, to a lesser degree, income data to the specific details of your property held by the Assessor.

Regulated Property

Regulated properties such as Farm land and Machinery & Equipment are valued using the appropriate procedures, tables and rates set out by the Provincial Government in Legislation relating to each property class and type of property.  For further information on your property assessment calculation please contact an assessor at the Municipal District of Taber Administration Office.