In Canada, nothing is sure but Winter and Taxes
As we slodge* through winter in anticipation of the warm and uplifting, sunny spring which we hope is on the way, a certain something else is on its way too… the annual Tax Assessment. It may or may not make you happy, but, either way, here are some terms to help you sort thorough it all.
The following glossary courtesy of Royal LePage Kelowna‘s Tax fighter publication – just give us a call or send an email if you’d like to get hold of a copy.
Glossary of Property Tax Terms
• Abatement: A reduction in the assessed value of a property.
• Appraisal: An assessor’s opinion of value of a property and its improvements.
• Assessment: The official valuation of property for taxation
• Assessment Notice: An annual notice mailed to property owners stating the assessed opinion of value. (See the information sheet with specific details on your area.)
• Assessor: A professional who gathers, records and evaluates property to determine an opinion of value for taxation purposes. Assessors do not determine tax rates or collect property taxes.
• Deed: A legal description that conveys ownership of real property.
• Easement: The right to use, without ownership , a portion of an owner’s property.
• Field Card: A record filled out be many assessors. Contains all relevant details about your property as viewed by an appraiser.
• Homeowner: Someone who enjoys the rights and privileges of property ownership and is subject to paying taxes on the assessed value of land and improvements.
• Improvements: Anything built or added to land to increase its value (garage, swimming pool, barn, etc.)
• Mass Appraisal: Determining the value of specific properties by comparing similar properties in a specific area and appraising all land and improvements together.
• Mill: One-tenth of a cent, a term often used to express real estate tax rates. Mill rates are usually expressed in dollars per $,000 of assessed value
• Property Tax: Your share of the total cost to provide community services and fund local government spending.
• Tax Authority: Regional Districts, hospitals and schools and municipal and provincial governments set tax rates based on the total assessed land value. Property taxes are collected from owners to pay for government services, debt, etc.
• Tax Rates; A portion of the government’s operating budget divided according to each property owner’s total assessed value of land. Tax rates are calculated using Market Value x Tax Rate = Property Tax.
• Tax Roll: An official list of all taxpayers in a jurisdiction, their assessed property values and how much tax each owes.
Here are a couple of excerpts from the publication’s introduction:
– How To Ensure That Your Property Taxes Are Fair
– How your property taxes are calculated
– How you can tell whether your assessment is fair
– How to appeal your assessment
Note to the Homeowner
In our opinion, most assessment authorities try to be fair in assessing your property. Given the sheer number of properties they must assess, however, it is almost impossible for them to be fair to everyone. Your concern and input to the assessor is vital if the system is to work fairly for all concerned. It is your right, and responsibility, to work with the assessors to insure that your assessment (and the taxes that result from it) are fair in relation to all other taxpayers in your community.