Your Guide to Property Taxes

It is property tax season! If you own a home and are confused about what exactly property taxes are, how they are calculated, or how to pay them, read on!

First off, there are some incredibly important reasons why we have to pay taxes. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once said, "taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society." Paying taxes are not just your legal duty, but your civic duty. Taxes help Canadians receive the services that make Canada great, such as schools, courts, roads, parks, hospitals, garbage collection, sewer maintenance, clean drinking water, public transit and more. In 2013 it was reported that the average Canadian receives about $41,000 in public services each year. This would not be possible without everyone contributing their fair share. Property taxes are essential in helping our city run. 

The reason why you pay the city a property tax is because while you own the infrastructure on a piece of land, the city owns the land itself. The City of Calgary calculates property taxes by, essentially, seeing how much your home is worth in today's market. They write, "the City of Calgary assesses each property annually to distribute fair and equitable taxation. Your property assessment notice sent in January is based on your property's market value, the amount it likely would have sold for last July 1st, and improvements to its physical condition as of Dec. 31. Assessors look at many factors including your property's details such as age, location, lot size, additions or renovations and sales of similar properties in the neighborhood in the last three years."

Earlier in the year you will have received your property assessment notice. You can either accept the assessment, or protest it. If you deem your assessment too high, the assessment review board will review your complaint and look into it further. If you have contested your assessment, you still need to pay your property tax as is assessed by the due date or else you will be charged a penalty fee. If the review board changes the assessment, the difference in required tax payment will be credited to you.

Tax payments are due June 30th. There are a number of ways you can make your property tax payment, and a variety of payment plans available. For more information visit the City of Calgary's Property Tax Payment page.

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Posted by Ken Richter on


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