What is Real and what is Realistic?
First, let me try and give you a brief understanding of the system in place (it’s not perfect and it is often very $$high$$).
Governed by law for all Municipalities in Alberta, the tax man starts with the Market Value of a Property as of July 1st for the up coming assessment year (the next years assessment). Market Value as determined by your cities, towns, counties etc. as the current value that a property will reasonably sell for at that time and date, taking into account several factors like location, size etc.
The Tax Assessors use a few sources of information, however it basically comes down to one thing. SALES at that time (around July 1st of previous year, the most expensive time of the year) within communities and areas. After which they apply this value to a formula(s) based on budgets and needs to basically come up with your property taxes. It is more complicated then that but a huge part of the process is the Assessed Market Value of a Property that determines what you pay.
Market value can vary drastically within areas or communities. Why and How?
For example: If the larger more expensive properties have sold recently within the area, then those averages are determined and applied to all properties in the area, resulting in perhaps a Market Value that is very high for many of the properties and now higher taxes for them as well.
Most Tax Assessors for the municipalities do not have the time or man power to spend a lot of time researching each property to give a real accurate value and it’s all about collecting more tax dollars, right? More is better and if they can play on the emotions of people liking their home values high (who doesn’t like to see that?), then it works for what they need to do and the result is you and I can pay too much.
We all like to see our property values worth more $$$ and it’s very flattering to our egos to see that large number. I have had some of my clients tell me their properties are worth $100,000 more than what they are actually worth, because that is what their assessments had said. One thing is for certain - you want your home to be worth as little as possible in the eyes of the tax man!!! A Lesser value equals less Taxes!!! So I ask you, wouldn’t a more realistic number be better?
I have seen this for years and have helped my clients save from a few $$Hundred$$ dollars to a few $$Thousand$$ dollars per year!
There is a process to right this wrong! Yes it costs you a small fee (just so you don’t waste the Municipalities time of course). You can appeal the process for $50-100. Again, they do not have the time or man power in most cases to fight. So if you are reasonable and have the facts to back up your reduced values, you will likely end up paying less.
My suggestion is if you are concerned about paying too much for your property taxes and feel your assessed market value is high then find out from a Realtor what the Real Market Value of your property is worth and use that to appeal your taxes (you have 60 days from the time you receive your assessment to start the process). I’ve personally helped my clients numerous times and they have had excellent results. Please keep in mind not all Tax Assessments are going to be worth fighting for the difference may not be great enough to make it worth while. We can find out very easily just give me a call 780-446-4643 or send me a message firstname.lastname@example.org .