Assessment & Taxes
Municipalities have limited sources of revenue to provide services with. Operating revenues, reserve transfers, provincial grants and taxation are our soul sources of revenue. Municipal Tax Rates are divided into six categories: residential lands and improvements, farmland, non-residential land and improvements, linear assessment, linear co-generation, and machinery & equipment.
Your municipal taxes help fund a wide range of service within Athabasca County. Roads and transportation makes up the greatest portion of our annual budget due to the number of roads we maintain, a total of 2,300 kms. Requisitions collected by Athabasca County on behalf of the Greater North Foundation and Alberta Education are forwarded directly to them and are not used for municipal services.
Each year Athabasca County Council passes an annual budget and once the requisitions come in, tax notices are sent to residents.
Tax Instalment Payment Plan
TIPP is a tax instalment payment plan by which taxpayers in Athabasca County may pay their Residential and Farmland associated tax rolls by monthly instalments instead of a single payment. This is completely an optional service for Residential ratepayers.
WHEN WAS TIPP ADOPTED BY THE COUNTY?
The Tax Instalment Payment Plan (TIPP) was officially created at the Tuesday, December 12, 2017 Regular Council Meeting with the adoption of Bylaw 007-2017.
WHAT’S THE ADVANTAGE OF TIPP?
Many people find it difficult to make a single large payment that comes due once a year. Monthly instalments break your property tax into smaller amounts which may make it easier to include in your budget. Joining TIPP for January takes full advantage of 12 monthly instalments but you may join at any time.
WHO CAN JOIN TIPP?
You can join TIPP if:
- your tax roll is paid in full
- your property is a Residential tax roll and all Farmland associated tax rolls may also be included
- you have chequing privileges at a Financial Institution
- you do not currently pay your taxes through a mortgage company
- your application is received at least thirty (30) days before the start of the next instalment
HOW DOES TIPP WORK?
Your latest Tax Levy will be divided by 12 to establish your monthly payments from January to May. The monthly payment will be adjusted June 15th to compensate for changes in taxes resulting from the annual tax levy. Your annual tax bill, issued in May, will show the total amount of instalments to date and the calculation of the instalment payments for the remaining payments in that year.
Payments will begin January 15th, and continue each consecutive month but can commence at any time during the year. Payments may only be made by automatic withdrawal by pre-authorized debit (PAD) at a financial institution. All debits are processed for the 15th day of each month. You must give written permission before the withdrawals will begin. Athabasca County does not charge for this service; however bank service charges may apply.
A Tax Installment Payment Plan (TIPP) Pre-authorized Debit (PAD) Agreement must be received no later than December 31st, to take full advantage of 12 monthly instalments. If you choose to join in a month other than January, a Tax Instalment Payment Plan (TIPP) Pre-authorized Debit (PAD) Agreement must be received at least thirty (30) days before the next monthly instalment payment. Prior to joining, the total lump sum payment, of all missed monthly instalment payments, must be made before sign-up.
The Tax Year
The Tax Year is the calendar year – January 1st to December 31st. Current Year Tax is calculated in May using the new tax rate and property assessments.
Example #1 – TIPP Effective January 1st:
Pre-authorized Debit (PAD) Agreement must be received by December 31st.
- 1st Instalment Payment – January 15st
*Instalment payments are adjusted in June to reflect any tax change.
Example #2 – TIPP Effective July 1st:
Pre-authorized Debit (PAD) Agreement must be received by June 1st.
- Lump Sum Payment due on or before June 30th
- 1st Instalment Payment July 15th
If you join TIPP after January you will be required to make a lump sum payment for missed Instalment Payments
*Current Year Levy Tax Year Levy – $1,300 is a random amount used for this example only
WITHDRAWAL FROM TIPP
You may withdraw from the plan by giving written notice at least two weeks (14 days) before the next payment date. If you withdraw or your plan is cancelled, all unpaid taxes become due and payable, and are subject to penalties in accordance with the penalty by-law.
If any payments are missed, or returned by your Financial Institution, Athabasca County may cancel that agreement and request payment of the total outstanding taxes. All payments not honored, by your Financial Institution, will be charged a service fee and must be replaced within two weeks (14 days) of being returned.
CHANGE OF ACCOUNT
If you change your chequing account please advise Athabasca County at least two weeks (14 days) before the next payment is due.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I SELL MY PROPERTY DURING THE YEAR?
If you are on the TIPP program and sell your property, it is your responsibility to ensure that Athabasca County is given written notification that you are withdrawing from the plan. Please provide notification at least two weeks (14 days) before the date that you wish to withdraw by sending written notification by one of a the options listed below.
As you are responsible for the taxes for that portion of the year that you own the property, we can provide your solicitor with the balance on your account upon request. Your solicitor will take your TIPP payments into consideration when transferring the property to the new owner.
If you are selling and purchasing a new property within Athabasca County, and wish to continue on TIPP for your new property, please contact our office for assistance.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR TIPP?
Complete and sign the application form available by clicking on the link below and send it along with a cheque marked “VOID” or Direct Deposit/Pre-Authorized Form by one of the options listed below.
APPLICATIONS AND WRITTEN NOTIFICATIONS CAN BE SENT USING THE FOLLOWING OPTIONS:
MAIL, COURIER or IN-PERSON: Athabasca County, 3602 – 48 Avenue, Athabasca, AB T9S 1M8.
FAX: (780) 675-5512
AFTER HOURS: A drop box located to the left of the main entry doors to the Athabasca County Admin Office.
Athabasca County contracts out its assessment services to Municipal Assessment Services Group (MASG).
MASG Assessors conduct annual assessment re-inspections on behalf of Athabasca County beginning in late summer each year. The inspections take place in different regions of the County as needed. New developments are also assessed as they are completed and these inspections may take place later into the year.
Assessors take pictures and walk the properties involved, as authorized in the Municipal Government Act. They will not require access into your home or buildings. Assessors will have marked vehicles, and picture ID and will produce it when asked. They usually check in with you first to make you aware they are entering your property.
If you feel the assessment made on your property is not fair you can appeal to the Assessment Review Board.
For any questions about property assessment or the inspection process please call Ian Ferguson at MASG at 780-939-3310 or the Athabasca County Admin Office.
Assessment Review Board
The Assessment Review Board is an independent tribunal that hears complaints relating to property assessments and renders decisions based on the evidence presented. The Assessment Review Board is independent from Athabasca County and is comprised of citizen members. Athabasca County Council approved a Bylaw 23-2018 to help guide the establishment of these boards.
How is my property assessed?
Existing properties are physically assessed on a rotational basis (about every 3 years) in Athabasca County by our contracted assessment firm Municipal Assessment Services Group (MASG).
MASG follows guidelines for assessment set out by the provincial government to determine the value of your property. These include improvements or changes to it from the last time assessors visited. New properties are assessed shortly after construction is complete.
Municipal Affairs offers a Guide to Property Assessment and Taxation in Alberta to help understand the process used in property assessment.
What if I don’t agree with the assessment?
If you feel your assessment is not fair when compared to similar properties or you suspect an error, it is recommended that you first discuss your property assessment with The County’s contracted assessor. The assessor can explain your assessment to you and correct any errors.
For any questions about property assessment or the inspection process please call Ian Ferguson at Municipal Assessment Services Group (MASG) by calling 780-939-3310 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you still feel like your property assessment is incorrect, you are able to file an appeal within 60 days from the date your assessment notice was mailed to you.
How do I file a complaint?
A complaint must be submitted in accordance with Section 460 of the Municipal Government Act .
Complete the Complaint Form and submit it to Athabasca County in person, by mail, email or fax. Please allow time for delivery if filing by mail.
An Assessment Review Board (ARB) must not hear any matter in support of an issue that is not identified on the complaint form. The reasons for a complaint must indicate the following:
- What information shown on an assessment notice or tax notice is incorrect;
- In what respect the information is incorrect, including identifying the specific issues related to the incorrect information that are to be decided by the ARB, and the grounds in support of these issues;
- Provide the information you believe to be correct;
- If the complaint relates to an assessment, the requested assessed value.
An agent making a complaint on behalf of an assessed person must also file a completed Agent Authorization Form.
Both the Complaint Form and Agent Authorization Forms are available from the Athabasca County Administration Office, 3602 – 48th Avenue, Athabasca, AB T9S 1M8.
July 26, 2019 is the last date to file a complaint regarding your 2018 Property Assessment Notice.
Complaints filed late or without the required fee are invalid.
Your assessment notice indicates the filing fee. This fee will be refunded if a change is made to your assessment by either Municipal Assessment Services Group or the Board.
Property Type Fee
Cheques only – make your cheque payable to Athabasca County. Deliver it in-person, or mail it to Athabasca County along with your complaint form.
FAQ Assessment Review Board Disclosure and Evidence
What is a disclosure package? A disclosure package is your evidence and it contains all of the documents that you are going to use at the hearing to prove your case.
When do I have to provide my evidence package? You must provide your disclosure package to the ASSESSMENT REVIEW BOARD and the RESPONDENT by the disclosure deadline. You can find the deadline on the Notice of Hearing document that will be mailed to you. If you miss the disclosure deadline, then the Board may not allow you to present your evidence.
Do I have to bring paper copies of my disclosure package to the hearing? You are required to bring 7 copies of your evidence to the hearing.
Do I have to give my assessor (the Respondent) a copy of my disclosure package? Yes, you must provide copies to the ASSESSMENT REVIEW BOARD and to the RESPONDENT by the disclosure deadline. When making its decision, the Board must disregard any materials that were not disclosed to all parties.
What is the market value of my property? The market value of your property comes from sales of comparable properties in your region of the County. Comparable properties are those that are similar to yours in size, age, house type and other characteristics and are based on the market value as of July 1 of the previous year.
For more information on the Assessment Review Board, contact:
Director of Corporate Services
Budget Information Bulletin
Each year Athabasca County publishes and distributes and information bulletin to help explain where money is being allocated in the current budget year. It outlines some major projects and overall spending while explaining where your tax dollars are being spent. (Click on images below to enlarge)