Vacant Properties & Tax Exemptions

Res #: 33-12A
Number: 33
Year: 2012
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Municipal Affairs

WHEREAS section 293 (2)(a) of The Municipalities Act states that unoccupied residential buildings on land are exempted from taxation and;

WHEREAS it is impossible for councillors to verify the occupancy of residential buildings in the municipality; 

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the government to amend section 293(2)(a) of The Municipalities Act to state “In addition to the exemptions provided for by section 292, the following are exempt from taxation in rural municipalities:
(a) unoccupied buildings that are residential in nature, situated on land and are deemed unlivable by a building inspector.”

Response from Honourable Darryl Hickie, Minister of Municipal Affairs:

Paragraph 293(2)(a) of The Municipalities Act allows residential buildings in a rural municipality situated on agricultural land to be exempt from property taxation if they are not occupied. Should such a property become occupied, it could be subject to property tax, subject to other provisions of the Act.

The Act does not specify who on behalf of the RM must verify such a property is unoccupied. This is left to each RM. Adding more detail to the Act requiring that it be one official seems unnecessarily prescriptive.

Addition of a requirement that the building be deemed unliveable in addition to being unoccupied will certainly tighten up the potential exemption.

Finally, property owners/appellants can appeal to the Board of Revision if they believe there has been an error in the valuation, the classification, and the contents of the assessment roll or the assessment notice. Assessment appeals may be initiated by any person with an interest in, or that is affected by, the assessed value or classification of any property. Appeals may also be filed by the municipality, another taxing authority (e.g. school division) or SAMA.