Why are taxes important?

Municipalities raise funds for public services in various ways - including grant funding and user fees. However, taxes have long been a mainstay of municipal revenues and will continue to play an important role. These revenues are needed to sustain operations, infrastructure, and programs.

The primary means for municipalities to raise revenues is through property taxes. Property taxation is the process of applying a tax/mill rate to an assessed value of property to generate revenue. Rates differ among municipalities in light of various factors such as levels of services provided, the ratio of residential to commercial development, and council priorities.

What is a mill/tax rate?

Each year during the budgetary process, council approves the amount of expense required to operate the municipality. From this amount they subtract revenues. The remainder represents the amount of money needed to be raised by property taxes.

The amount of money needed is divided by the total value off all the assessed property in the municipality and multiplied by 1,000 to decide the tax rate known as the “mill rate.”

‘Tax Rate’ and ‘Mill Rate’ are often used interchangeably. The tax rate is the number that is multiplied by each property’s assessed value to determine property taxes – usually expressed in four to six decimal places, ex. 0.008437.

How are taxes calculated?

  1. The municipal property tax portion is calculated by taking the municipal mill rate that is assigned to that type of property by Council (ex. residential) and multiplying it by the assessed value of the property
  2. The education property tax portion is calculated by multiplying the appropriate education/seniors tax rate to the assessed value of the property.
  3. Add the municipal tax and the education tax amounts together to determine the total property tax bill.

How can I appeal my assessment?

Property owners cannot appeal tax rates, but they can appeal the assessed value of their property. For more information on filing assessment complaints, please visit the Alberta Municipal Affairs website.

How can I view my assessment?

Ratepayers can now view their basic assessment information on their property ("Ratepayer Summary"). Click here for more details.

2020 Property mill/tax rates:

Big Lakes County’s 2020 municipal tax rates are included in the table below – note that these rates exclude school and seniors’ requisitions where applicable. For more information, please see the County’s 2020 tax by-law.

Property Type Tax Rate
Residential 4.502%
Farmland 4.502%
Non-residential 14.720%
Machinery & Equipment 14.720%
School - Residential 2.6140%
School - Non-Residential 3.6433%
Seniors 0.26513%

Why do I have to change my address with Land Titles?

It is very important that Land Titles has your correct mailing address. If they do not have a correct address they cannot notify you of any changes to your certificate of title, such as liens, caveats, and tax notifications.

What if I don't receive my Tax Notice?

Failure to receive your Tax Notice is not sufficient reason for not paying your property taxes on time. Penalties will incur as per tax rate penalty bylaw.

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