Resort Residential Assessment Class

Res #: 30-11A
Number: 30
Year: 2011
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Municipal Affairs

WHEREAS provincial property assessment re-evaluations have resulted in large increases in the total assessed values of property in the province; and

WHEREAS the values of resort properties have increased at a much higher rate than the balance of residential property in the province; and

WHEREAS the increased assessments have resulted in a huge shift of taxation to resort properties;

BE IT RESOLVED that Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency be requested to replace the existing “Seasonal Residential” assessment class with a new class called “Resort Residential”.

Response from Honourable Darryl Hickie, Minister of Municipal Affairs:

A fundamental principle in property taxation in Saskatchewan and across North America is that it is based on the ad valorem principle, that is, property is taxed according to its value.

Saskatchewan’s property tax system already recognizes a high degree of autonomy for municipalities to set local property tax policies. This includes the use of a variety of local tax tools that RMs have access to, including mill rate factors, minimum tax, base tax, and local property tax exemption.

Cities do have authority to create subclasses within a property class. Typically there would be a large number of properties in the city that would fall within a subclass.

Rural municipalities, on the other hand, have fewer properties and may only have a couple of properties that would fall within a subclass. Establishing a subclass could be perceived as targeting the few properties within it.

Industries in rural Saskatchewan have expressed concern to government about this happening.

The “seasonal residential” property class is defined by regulations under The Municipalities Act and is used in conjunction with percentages of value set by the province and used to calculate taxable assessments.

Municipalities have options under The Municipalities Act to exempt or partially exempt property from taxation in a given financial year. A municipality may also choose to enter into an agreement with a property owner to exempt or partially exempt property from taxation for up to five years. This applies only to the municipal portion of the property tax. The municipality must seek permission from the local school board to have the revenue from the school portion of the property tax be forgone. However, there is nothing stopping a municipality from exempting the municipal portion of the property tax.

If a property owner feels land or improvements have been assessed incorrectly, he or she can appeal through the process available to property owners under provincial legislation. The municipality may also apply local tax tools such as mill rate or mill rate factors to lower the property tax burden. However, the mill rate and mill rate factors will apply to the property class as a whole and not to individual properties.