For information regarding your Property Tax Assessment Notice relating to the value/assessment of your property please contact:
Benchmark Assessment Consultants Inc.
#4, 320 WT Hill Blvd.
Lethbridge, AB T1J 4W9
Phone: 1-800-633-9012 Fax: 403-381-1596
For all other inquiries including addressing, pre-authorized payments, or balances, please call the Taxation Department at 403-562-8833.
How is my Property Value Assessed?
Market value assessment is highly transparent as it reflects the real estate market which is publicly visible and accessible. As the real estate market changes within the Municipality, so does the market value assessments. In other words, the real estate market establishes the value of your property. The Assessor measures that market value as of July 1, of the previous year as per the “Guide to Property Assessments and Taxation in Alberta.” A copy can be found at www.municipalaffairs.alberta.ca.
The Municipality’s property assessments are performed by Christopher Snelgrove and Benchmark Assessment Consultants Inc. who provide assessment services to most of Southern Alberta.
Assessment is the first part of what constitutes your property taxes each year. It is similar to a market value appraisal that you would get for a bank loan, or to know the value of your property as of a specified date. It is also very different from a market value appraisal in that there is government legislation that specifies valuation dates, sale dates to use for analysis & other guidelines to promote fairness & equity.
Each year Benchmark Assessments provide the Municipality a new assessed value on each property. Your tax bill is the asessed value multiplied by the Municipal tax rate, also called a mill rate. Because there are new sales to analyze each year, the assessed value usually changes each year as well, unless it is a regulated property. The Municipal tax rate also changes each year, so there are two moving targets in this equation. Our Assessors do not visit each property every year but do try to come by every 5 years or so to review the data & see if there have been any changes since the last inspection. You will see a few members from Benchmarks Assessments doing re-inspections every year, or you may find a call back card in your mailbox or on your door.
When you get your tax notice, the assessed value reflects the value as of July 1 of the previous year. To arrive at your property assessment, first, all sales that took place in the Municipality to the end of June each year, going back three years, is reviewed. Then, the values for each type of property are separated out and a median (middle ground) is calculated and applied to all other similar properties. For example, the sales of bungalows will not be used to compare to sales of 2-storey homes for their values. The same thing applies to mobile homes, condos, Restaurants, Warehouses, etc. Legislation requires assessments to be within +/- 5% of the median. This is intended to create a common measuring stick by which taxes can be applied fairly. The theory is that if you have a similar property to a neighbor or friend, you should also have similar taxes.
All homeowners are encouraged to compare with others if the property types are similar. If there is a significant difference, please contact Chris Snelgrove to discuss it. There could be an error on either account such as a typo, or missing additions, modernizations, etc.
New this year! Find your assessment information online or to compare to someone else’s assessment. These are the steps:
- Click on https://vps.camalot.ca/AsmtInfo/CAMAlot_AsmtInfo_ISAPI.dll/$/
- Agree to the disclaimer.
- Select your Municipality from the drop-down list.
- Select “General Public” from the drop-down list & then click submit.
- From there, find your property using either your taxroll number, your physical address, or your legal land description. You may be given several results to choose from, select your address in the search results box.
- Download or view your assessment online.
When you consider your assessed value take into consideration what you think your property is worth. If you feel the assessment is significantly different, please contact Chris at (toll-free) 1-800-633-9012.