Your Piece of the Pie

Taxes are important. They pay for roadways and street lights; they subsidize transit and rec centres. I have met very few people who actually object to paying taxes. I have met too many people who object to paying the taxes we currently pay in Edmonton.

There are two sides to taxes: collecting and spending. I have discussed spending and the value received, but I have not discussed collecting. In January, we will receive our initial Property Tax Assessments. The purpose is so we can double check that everything is correct before the official assessment is sent in the spring. Taxes are decided based on how much Council decides it will cost to run the city for the next year – the budget. Council tells the finance department, and they look at the properties within the city and divide the cost up into proportional pieces – proportional because each property has different assets and detriments that are considered. Then, an amount of tax is given to a property. Added together, those taxes equal the budget – no more, no less.

A while back, one of our Assessment and Taxation people sent the below list; it’s a simple outline for how taxes are determined.

  1. Taxes are not based on services, but on the market value of your property.
  2. Market value takes account of services because properties with better access sell for more.
  3. Market value is ultimately determined by looking at sales and we provide a full list of those sales on myproperty.edmonton.ca.
  4. We encourage property owners to review that data.

The last point is the most important, and the one you have some control over. In the myproperty.edmonton.ca webpage, there is a list of property attributes such as fireplaces, finished basement, etc. Each of these things will contribute to what you pay. Our Assessment and Taxation Department strongly recommends that when you receive your Property Tax Assessment in January, you go to the website and make sure that the attributes your property possesses match what they have on record, because each of them could affect the amount you pay.

If you would like assistance, or for more information regarding your tax assessment, contact my office by phone or email. Let’s make sure everyone is paying their fair share – no more, no less.