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Figuring out municipal assessment.



I just finished getting my taxes together for my accountant, one of my very favourite people at this time of year. I am of the opinion that if you want a professional job done of something, you should have a professional do it!

Why am I telling you this? When I was gathering all of my paperwork, part of the gather included my property tax assessment. Because my husband runs a business for which he has a shop on our property, part of the taxes are attributable to the company.

Looking at the assessment reminded me that this article was due! It also brought to mind how municipalities calculate tax assessment, and because I can never remember the ins and outs ins and outs  
pl.n.
1. The intricate details of a situation, decision, or process.

2. The windings of a road or path.
 of the mill rate, or even what that is, I thought we could do a little research together and find some answers.

Who is in charge of municipal governments?

In Alberta Alberta (ălbûr`tə), province (2001 pop. 2,974,807), 255,285 sq mi (661,188 sq km), including 6,485 sq mi (16,796 sq km) of water surface, W Canada. , like most other provinces, there is a provincial government department that gives municipal governments rules and advice. From the Municipal Affairs website (www.municipalaffairs.gov See .gov and GovNet.

(networking) gov - The top-level domain for US government bodies.
.ab.ca/mahome/ab out_us/index.cfm):

"The Ministry of Alberta Municipal Affairs is responsible for:

* Supporting good government at the local level

* Ensuring that Alberta communities are safe and self-reliant self-re·li·ance
n.
Reliance on one's own capabilities, judgment, or resources; independence.



self
"

Self-reliant likely means self funding. There is a branch of Municipal Affairs devoted to municipal assessment.

What does Assessment Services do?

From www.municipalaffairs.gov.ab.ca/ mahome/as/index.cfm:

"The Assessment Services Branch helps to ensure that Albertans have an effective and efficient system of assessment and property taxation. It works in partnership with local governments, assessment professionals and other stakeholders Stakeholders

All parties that have an interest, financial or otherwise, in a firm-stockholders, creditors, bondholders, employees, customers, management, the community, and the government.
. "Assessment is the process of placing a dollar value on a property for taxation purposes. Property taxation is the method of applying a tax rate to a property's assessed value to determine the taxes payable by the owner of that property. Property taxes are a main source of revenue for Alberta municipalities. "The property assessment process is important to property owners and to their local governments. If an assessment is too high, for example, it will be unfair to the owner. If an assessment is too low, local governments lose an important source of funding for community services and facilities.

"The branch's roles are to:

* provide advice and information on assessment and property tax matters to municipalities and taxpayers

* ensure that related legislation, regulations and assessment practices are current and effective

* recommend revisions, as required, to legislation, regulations and assessment practices

* establish standards for property assessments in Alberta

* prepare assessments for all property defined as linear (for example: oil and gas pipelines and cable television systems)

* periodically review each municipality's assessment procedures and identify areas for improvement

* calculate the amount that each municipality MUNICIPALITY. The body of officers, taken collectively, belonging to a city, who are appointed to manage its affairs and defend its interests.  is to contribute to Alberta's public education system, and

* calculate each municipality's equalized assessment, which is used to determine its portion of cost-shared programs.

There are some very interesting publications available on the site above, including

* Is your Property Assessment Fair & Accurate?

* Guide to Property Assessment & Taxation in Alberta

* Preparing for your Assessment Complaint or Appeal Hearing

The Guide was especially useful as it cleared up a question of mine regarding the difference between assessment and taxation:

"'Assessment' is the process of placing 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 that property."

What else does the Guide say?

Market Value Assessment

In 1995, the Municipal Government Act was rewritten. This legislation governs most aspects of municipal law, including taxation. Assessment review committees in the early 1990s recommended that Alberta's property assessment system should be changed from the fair actual value system to a market value-based system. Also, some court decisions during this time indicated that assessments should reflect current market values.

Market value is the price a property might reasonably be expected to sell for if sold by a willing buyer after appropriate time and exposure in an open market.

Market value changes with the economy. This basic factor allows for better control over fairness of taxation. Different types of properties have different assessment approaches. Residential properties are assessed based on the sales amounts of similar properties.

Who prepares assessments in Alberta?

Assessments for all types of property are prepared by professional, certified See certification.  assessors. Assessors receive training in a variety of areas including property valuation techniques, legislation, and quality assurance. Assessors who are employed by the province prepare the assessments for linear property, while assessors who are employed by municipalities prepare assessments for all other types of property.

Under provincial legislation, a municipality must list at least one designated assessor. A designated assessor is responsible for completing a number of tasks laid out by provincial legislation and regulations. To be the designated assessor for a municipality, an assessor must hold at least one of the following professional designations:

* Accredited accredited

recognition by an appropriate authority that the performance of a particular institution has satisfied a prestated set of criteria.


accredited herds
cattle herds which have achieved a low level of reactors to, e.g.
 Municipal Assessor of Alberta (AMAA AMAA Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937
AMAA American Medical Athletic Association
AMAA American Maine-Anjou Association
AMAA Afghan Medical Association of America
AMAA Armenian Missionary Association of America, Inc.
) as granted by the Alberta Assessors' Association,

* Certified Assessment Evaluator (CAE (1) (Computer-Aided Engineering) Software that analyzes designs which have been created in the computer or that have been created elsewhere and entered into the computer. ) as granted by the International Association of Assessing Officers, or

* Accredited Appraiser A person selected or appointed by a competent authority or an interested party to evaluate the financial worth of property.

Appraisers are frequently appointed in probate and condemnation proceedings and are also used by banks and real estate concerns to determine the market
 Canadian Canadian (kənā`dēən), river, 906 mi (1,458 km) long, rising in NE New Mexico. and flowing E across N Texas and central Oklahoma into the Arkansas River in E Oklahoma.  Institute (AACI AACI Accredited Appraiser Canadian Institute
AACI Asian Americans for Community Involvement
AACI American Association of Crop Insurers
AACI Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel
AACI Association of American Cancer Institutes
) as granted by the Appraisal Institute The Appraisal Institute (Institute), headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, is an international association of professional real estate appraisers.[1] It was founded in January 1991 when the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers (AIREA) and the  of Canada Canada (kăn`ədə), independent nation (2001 pop. 30,007,094), 3,851,787 sq mi (9,976,128 sq km), N North America. Canada occupies all of North America N of the United States (and E of Alaska) except for Greenland and the French islands of .

Conclusion

You can see that fairness and equity are the principles of our taxation system. The Municipal Affairs website is full of valuable information about how the process of taxation and assessment works in Alberta. As Joel Fox once said (paraphrasing Benjamin Franklin): "Nothing is certain but death and taxes. Of the two, taxes happen annually." At least, Canadian municipalities design their systems for fairness.

Shaunna Mireau is a library technician A library technician is a person who uses their clerical skills to assist librarians acquire, prepare and organize information. They also assist library patrons in finding information although this is usually part of their required duties.  with Field Law in Edmonton, Alberta.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Legal Resource Centre of Alberta Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:online law
Author:Mireau, Shaunna
Publication:LawNow
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Aug 1, 2005
Words:955
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