Multiple-use Equestrian Facility Taxation
Res #: 19-15A
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations
WHEREAS rural municipalities need more consistent and transparent criteria to provide for the appropriate class based assessment value attributable to the portion of the property in the case of multiple-use equestrian facilities, where a combination of farm, residential, and commercial activities exists on one property; and
WHEREAS in order to do so an amendment is required to Section 293(1) (a) of The Municipalities Act to address existing inconsistencies in the classification and assessment of multiple-use equestrian facilities;
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the Provincial Government to amend Section 293(1)(a) of The Municipalities Act to include an additional subsection known as (iii) to address existing inconsistencies in the classification and assessment of multiple-use equestrian facilities and to implement new tax assessment criteria; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that agricultural operation does not include the residential & commercial operations associated with the multiple-use equestrian facilities, where a combination of farm, residential and commercial activities exists on one property used for public horse boarding, retail activities, including but not limited to tack shops, sale of equestrian supplies or clothing, restaurants, snack bars, cafeterias, commercial rate track and slots, grandstands, banquet halls, and areas to provide black smith, farrier or other retail service to the public.
MINISTRY OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS' RESPONSE
- Section 293 of The Municipalities Act (MA) defines 'agricultural operations' to include matters related to normal farm operations such as the tilling of land, the growing of crops, the raising of livestock or poultry, dairy production or any other farm operations as determined by the Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency (SAMA) to be of non-commercial use.
- SAMA has the latitude to distinguish for assessment purposes between commercial and non-commercial agricultural operations.
- Improvements, other than dwellings, used in whole or in part for agricultural operations are exempt from taxation. Improvements, other than dwellings, that are used in whole or in part for commercial operations are to be assessed as taxable commercial property.
- SAMA treats straight equestrian type facilities as agricultural use and hence they receive an exemption under the Acts. This was the decision of several 1993
- Saskatchewan Municipal Board decisions that SAMA has continued to carry forward. These decisions found riding arenas to be livestock operations that should be exempt under legislation. The rationale was that riding of horses was training and this increased their value. This increase in value is synonymous with the raising of livestock as the purpose of raising livestock is to increase their value.
- The MA provides the assessor with discretion in determining the class to which a property belongs. In cases where there is a distinct non-agricultural use, such as where there is a definable area of the property or separate building that is not equestrian use (e.g. commercial use), SAMA would apply a non-ag classification to this portion.
- Council may wish to direct the RM administrator to contact SAMA to discuss if all or part of a multiple-use equestrian facility could be assessed as taxable commercial property.