Recreation Tax Class

Res #: 19-10M
Number: 19
Year: 2010
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Municipal Affairs

WHEREAS privately owned recreation facilities like golf course, arenas, etc compete directly with public funded facilities;

WHEREAS privately owned recreation facilities are assessed and taxed as commercial properties; and

WHEREAS municipalities have no tax tool to level the playing field between the privately owned vs. public or municipal funded projects;

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM petition the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to create a separate tax class for recreation facilities and properties.

Response from Honourable Darryl Hickie, Minister of Municipal Affairs:

  • A variety of properties could be defined as recreational property. These could include movie or live theatres, golf courses, swimming pools, health clubs, gyms, curling and hockey rinks, ball fields, etc. All of these properties and others could receive a property tax break if a recreational property class was created and given a lower percentage of value. However, there would be a property tax shift onto all other ratepayers.
  • Private businesses run recreational properties as commercial enterprises with the goal of making a profit from their operations. Commercial enterprises experience competition from a variety of sources. Singling out one form of commercial property to receive a benefit from property taxation would set a precedent and lead to pressures from others for similar special treatment, thus diminishing equity, fairness and transparency. 
  • While some recreational property owners may be facing pressure due to economic conditions, it would be difficult for government to justify why a successful enterprise should receive a property tax benefit.  
  • Municipalities have options under The Municipalities Act to exempt or partially exempt property from municipal taxation in a given year.  
  • The municipality may apply local tax tools such as mill rate factors to lower property tax. However, the mill rate factors apply to the property class as a whole and not to individual properties.
  • A property owner who feels land or improvements have been assessed incorrectly can appeal the assessment.