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Back  |  April 15, 2019  | 

​City Council approved the 2019 property tax bylaws that set the 2019 property tax rates

Ward Sutherland 

In our fragile economic recovery, City Council is making economic growth and stability a priority. This means making difficult decisions that will help support businesses and sustain long-term economic health for all Calgarians.

For residential homeowners, Council approved a combined (municipal and provincial) 2019 property tax rate increase of 3.45 per cent. For the median residential property owner with a home valued at $475,000 this will mean an annual increase of $105 on the total tax bill.

To help non-residential property owners, Council approved a combined decrease of 3.07 per cent in the non-residential combined tax rate in 2019. Tax impacts on individual properties will vary depending on the specific assessment change from 2018 to 2019.

Property taxes collected from residential properties have historically contributed 45 per cent of the total property tax revenue, while non-residential properties contribute 55 percent. Council’s decision resulted in a 47:53 split between residential and non-residential property owners.

City Administration will continue to work to find cost savings, reductions and efficiencies to support economic recovery. Council also endorsed the downtown strategy to support the health and vibrancy of downtown Calgary over the longer term.

Property tax bills will be mailed at the end of May and are due June 28.
Through The City’s Property Tax Assistance Program, residential property owners of any age may be eligible for a credit/grant of the increase on their property tax account. Visit www.calgary.ca/FairEntry for more information or call 311. Seniors may also be eligible for provincial support. Visit www.seniors.gov.ab.ca or call 1-877-644-9992 for more information.

Q&A: Downtown Tax Shift
 
Why doesn’t The City reduce its operating budget by $250 million to solve the problem?
 
The redistribution of approximately $250 million in municipal tax revenue previously generated from robust non-residential property assessment values in the downtown cannot be solved by budget reductions alone without impacting service delivery. Nor can a reduction of this size be specifically directed to non-downtown, non-residential properties.
 
The City continues to focus on intentional management of the operating budget after identifying $607 million in cost savings and efficiencies during 2015-2018. During the One Calgary budget deliberations, $40 million in efficiencies were included in the approved One Calgary plans and budgets and another $16.5 million in salary and wage reductions in 2019. Administration has also committed to finding an additional $60 million in efficiencies and budget reductions within the 2019-2022 cycle, which will be used to mitigate the tax shift impact.
 
How will the Business Tax Consolidation program effect non-residential properties in 2019?
 
This is the final year of the incremental transfer of business tax revenues to non-residential property taxes, resulting in the elimination of the business tax. This means that non-residential property owners will see a 4.3 per cent increase in the municipal non-residential property tax. This is offset by the reduction of the Business Tax to businesses across The City. There are no business tax bills starting in 2019.
 
Why weren’t residential property owners engaged for their input?
Residential property owners were recently extensively engaged for their input through the One Calgary planning and budgeting process 2019-2022.
What programs are available to help low income homeowners experiencing financial hardship?
 
Under The City’s Property Tax Assistance Program, residential property owners of any age may be eligible for a credit/grant of the increase on their property tax account. Visit www.calgary.ca/FairEntry for more information or call 311. Seniors may be eligible for provincial support. Visit www.seniors.gov.ab.ca for more information.
 
What other initiatives are underway to help the economy?
 
The City and its partners are taking action through a long list of Business Friendly actions and initiatives to keep Calgarians working, invest in infrastructure, and increase the effectiveness of local government. These initiatives also include Council endorsement of further work to formalize a Downtown Strategy that involves collaboration between the City and its partners.
 
Will there be any delays in the property tax billing timeline?
 
Today’s approval of the 2019 Property Tax Bylaws allows tax bills to be sent out on the regular timeline. Tax bills are scheduled to be mailed prior to the end of May with a tax payment deadline of June 28.
 
How did the Assessment Tax Working Group (ATWG) approach this task?
The ATWG approached the tasks, as directed by Council, incorporating the following tools and tactics:

• Stakeholder engagement
• Research
• Mapping the initiatives currently underway (both internal and external)
• Clarifying the timelines that need to be considered
• Identifying what remains unknown
 
What business stakeholder groups were engaged for input to this report?
 
Representatives from The City and Heuristic Consulting Associates (“Heuristic”) have held interactive workshops with key stakeholders and representatives from a variety of organizations to share ideas and options about the tax shift problem, including:

• a variety of Business Improvement Areas,
• Calgary Commercial Real Estate services (CBRE),
• RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust,
• BILD Calgary Region,
• Companies in the development industry along with construction companies,
• Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB),
• MNP – one of the largest full-service chartered accountancy and business advisory firms in Canada,
• AEC – the largest privately-held property tax advisory company in Canada,
• University of Calgary School of Public Policy
 
Heuristic is continuing to engage with various stakeholders representing the real estate industry, economic development, small business and other groups to understand the community’s comprehension of the problem as well as to identify a range of possible solutions for further consideration.
 
What key themes have emerged from stakeholder engagement meetings held to date?
 
Heuristic has identified five key themes from stakeholder engagements held to date:
 
• Adjust residential and non-residential tax rates such that a larger proportion of tax is borne by the residential assessment base;
• Reduce the overall size of The City of Calgary’s budget by reducing costs and gaining efficiencies;
• Review alternate revenue sources, including selling City assets;
• Review measures to reduce property tax volatility; and
• Grow the tax base and invest in the future.

Categories: City Finances; Councillor; Budget


This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.​