WHEREAS the Matters Relating to Assessment Sub-Classes Regulation authorizes a municipality to set tax rates for small business property at no less than 75% of the tax rate of other non-residential property; and
WHEREAS some municipalities currently have non-residential classes for both their urban service areas and rural service areas; and
WHEREAS there may exist an inequity in taxation between similar properties depending on their location in either the rural service area versus the urban service area; and
WHEREAS some municipalities may be restricted in their ability to provide tax equity within the small business property sub-class as it limits the tax rate differential for the small business sub-class in relation to the other non-residential property sub-class;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta urge the Government of Alberta to amend the Matters Relating to Assessment Sub-Classes Regulation to allow a tax rate differential of up to 50% between the “small business property” and “other non-residential property” sub-classes.
The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) is a specialized municipality established in 1995 by the Government of Alberta. Recognizing the uniqueness of the region, section 10 of the establishing Order In Council (O.C. 817/94) provided the RMWB with the ability to create different taxation rates for the rural service area and for the urban service area.
The oil sands industry is located within the RMWB, specifically within the Municipality’s rural service area. This industry is assessed and taxed within the rural non-residential property sub-class. Section 2 of Matters Relating to Assessment Sub-Classes Regulation authorizes municipalities to divide the non-residential class further into a small business property sub-class but limits the differential between the small business property sub-class and the other non-residential property sub-class to no less than 75% of the tax rate for the non-residential property sub-class. The Municipality has determined that properties within the small business property sub-class operating within the rural service area require a further tax rate differential modification, to no less than 50% of the rural non-residential sub-class, to provide tax equity between the rates assessed between the rural small business sub-class to the urban small business property sub-class.
This RMA resolution is critical to tax equity in the RMWB and the continued economic viability of rural small business properties in the Municipality.
RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.