Section 293 Amendment to Remove Leased Lands from Dwelling Exemption

Res #: 13-23M
Number: 13
Year: 2023
Midterm: Yes
Expired: No
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

WHEREAS land values have increased significantly over the years and typical farmsteads only require the home quarter to fully exempt the house, leaving a lot of land “up for grabs” for lessees to utilize to exempt their dwelling (and those lessees may not otherwise pay taxes to the RM).

WHEREAS the current wording of Section 293 does not require the lease of agricultural land to be used for an active farming operation, only that the lease be for land that is assessed as agricultural (cultivated, pasture, natural), so leases for other uses such as bird watching or a seasonal campsite etc. could be used to exempt a dwelling.

WHEREAS presumedly, the intent of Section 293 is to provide farmers a reduction in residential taxation due to the large land mass of agricultural land in which they pay taxes on and not to provide a tax break to non-farming operations.

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial government to amend Section 293 of The Municipalities Act to remove the dwelling exemption provided to a lessee of land.

Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations

December 7, 2023

  • The Ministry of Government Relations is open to proposals to ensure that tax exemptions are fair and equitable across the province and will consider all suggestions for improvements regarding exemptions in rural municipalities, the next time legislation is open for amendment.
  • Section 293 of The Municipalities Act contains many longstanding exemptions that apply only to rural A review of these provisions may need to consider whether the same rules of assessment and taxation should be applied, regardless of the type of municipality.
  • When this section is reviewed, the views of all stakeholders would need to be This would include discussion with municipal associations as well as agricultural, commercial and residential stakeholders.
  • In the meantime, the legitimacy of a specific lease situation may require review by an appeal board or the courts. A property owner, or person with an interest in the property, may appeal an exemption. Appeals may also be filed by the municipality, another taxing authority or the Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency (SAMA).

The Honourable Don McMorris – Minister of Government Relations, Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations