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Town Taxes

Canmore has 4 categories of Residence which directly define what level of property taxation you are required to pay. These are defined in the Canmore Zoning Policy, as follows:-

Assessment values for a given year tax purposes are based on the market conditions existing in the latter half of the previous year and the municipal tax rates for a given year are set in May of that year, in fact halfway through the tax year in question.

Depending where you live and what you own determines your tax bill. The Tourist Home pays the highest municipal tax, whereas if you reside permanently in your property, your residential municipal tax is approximately half that of a tourist home, clearly a major disincentive for owning a weekend or ‘occasional’ property. However, if you reside permanently in a Tourist home, you are able to get a much reduced taxation calculation by applying for a Personal-Use sub-class assessment witnessed by a Notary. Canmore locals certainly get the best deal. In order to set a rate of property taxation, a municipality initially figures out how much money is required to finance its operations from residential tax for the upcoming budget year. This is then divided by what the anticipated assessment, or cost of what all of the residential properties in the municipality are worth. The final outcome is called the Tax Rate or Mill Rate. In Canmore, residential taxes account for close to half of their total revenue.

An individual property assessment or market value means the amount that a property might be expected to realize if it is sold on the open market by a willing seller to a willing buyer. Market value assessments are calculated by using mass appraisal techniques that determine property values by grouping similar properties as of a specific date. The purpose of assessment is not to reflect a single sale price but to assess all properties at typical market value on the same valuation date so that taxation is fairly and uniformly shared. Assessment value is used to calculate the property tax levy using the following formula:

Assessed Property Value X Total Mill Rate / 1000 = Tax Levy.

The denominator factor above is important when considering following numbers. The tax levied on a property will basically consist of 4 components:-

a) Municipal Tax: This is the Town's primary and most consistent form of revenue. Municipal taxes pay for services such as police, emergency services, street maintenance, recreation facilities, social services, planning services, municipal administration and Council costs.

b) Educational Tax: All property owners whether they have children or not, are required to pay education taxes. The Town Of Canmore collects education taxes on behalf of the Alberta School Foundation Fund (ASFF) but has NO jurisdiction over setting the tax rate for school taxes.

c) Bow Valley Regional Housing (BVRH): The BVRH requisition is for the Seniors Public Supportive living accommodations in the Bow Valley and is supported by the Town of Canmore, Town of Banff, Kananaskis Improvement District and the M.D. of Bighorn. This requisition is paid by all property owners including seniors. This ensures over 400 of the region's inhabitants are housed appropriately when they might otherwise be at risk. Also about 36 of the region's citizens can be employed in stable, meaningful jobs. BVRH manage about 200 properties including senior’s lodges, senior’s independent housing and subsidised rental accommodation for low income families.

d) Perpetually Affordable Housing (PAH): PAH is a community investment in Canmore's housing infrastructure for people who live and work in Canmore which allows Canmore Community Housing Corporation to provide homes at below-market prices to eligible households. The decreasing supply of affordable housing in Canmore is a community-wide issue. The Town of Canmore recognizes that a permanent, year-round population plays an important role in the social and economic health of the community. The availability and affordability of housing plays a critical role in creating opportunities for members of the workforce to establish themselves in the community on a permanent basis. Perpetually affordable housing (PAH) is a way of introducing a type of rental or owned housing that, while not part of the open market, meets the demand for affordable housing by providing resident workers with an additional housing option that is price and resale restricted to ensure affordability over the long term. PAH is intended to meet the housing demands of Moderate Income working households. To ensure that the community's investment and the "perpetual affordability" are retained for the benefit of future residents, resale and rental price formulas are used. This means that if you own your PAH home, a resale price formula indexed to inflation is used to calculate how much your home may increase in value each year. If you rent your PAH home, you can be assured rental rates will remain at least 10% below market rental rates.

Typically, the PAH levy is about 0.05%; the BVRH levy about 0.15% and the education levy about 2.5%. These numbers do vary by year but the big number is the municipal tax levy . The overall tax levy you would expect to increase every year in line with inflation to enable the Town to carry out its obligations. However, property prices will of course vary over time and the maintain the required tax revenue, so the Mill Rate will vary year on year and there should therefore be a relationship between assessment and mill rate, see graph above. Apart from 2016 this is generally true, but in 2016 the mill rate should have gone down in line with increased property prices but it didn’t, the town tax take has increased significantly for some reason...the town got greedy....did anyone notice?

In places like Canmore, residential taxes account for close to half of the total town revenue stream and although in Alberta, Canmore has a relatively low tax take for a given value residence, Canmore in fact has the highest average assessed value for a home such that actual household tax bills reflect that when compared to other towns. Compared to the UK, residential taxation in Canmore is much higher than the UK if you are a ‘non-resident’ of the town.