Recreation Tax Class
Number: POP 10-14A
Department: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations
WHEREAS recreation facilities such as golf courses, skating rinks, curling rinks, and tennis courts are assessed as commercial properties at 100 percent of assessed value; and
WHEREAS the recreation facilities can be owned by municipalities, private individuals and non-profit organizations with completely different taxing situations varying from full abatement to no adjustment; and
WHEREAS this creates an uneven playing field between owners; and
WHEREAS the Province of Manitoba has implemented a designated recreation tax class to offset the variance;
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the Ministry of Government Relations to investigate use of a recreation tax class that can be used in both rural and urban municipalities.
MINISTRY OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS' RESPONSE
Changes in percentages of value shift property tax from one property class to others.
They do not reduce the total property tax levied. If the resolution were implemented, tax increases would result for the agricultural, residential and the remainder of the commercial/industrial property classes. The rationale is unclear why owners of these classes of property should pay more property tax so owners of recreation properties pay less.
The role of the province in property tax policy is to set percentages of value for property classes on a province-wide basis. Government has made progress in improving consistency in provincial property tax policy. Creating special property classes for percentage of value purposes for individual types of property would be a step backward and set a precedent for requests for similar special tax treatment for other ratepayers. A special class for recreation property would not change statutory property tax exemptions for municipally owned recreation facilities.
Municipalities have options under The Municipalities Act to exempt or partially exempt property from municipal taxation in a given year. This exemption would apply to the municipal portion of the property tax only, and would be a decision of the local council.
An exemption or abatement does not lower the overall property tax burden. It only shifts taxes from one property onto all other properties. Council would be responsible for justifying to other rate payers why one form of property should get a municipal tax reduction at the expense of all other ratepayers.