What is assessment? Property taxes are not arbitrarily levied on property owners; it is based on a principle known as "ad valorem", which means one pays property tax based on the value or wealth held in the property they own in any municipality. It is important, therefore, that property values are accurate, fair, up-to-date and easy to understand.
Property assessment is not the same as property tax. The RM of Torch River uses property assessments as a basis for the fair distribution of taxes among property owners, and simply stated, property assessment is the process of determining a "fair value" for tax purposes.
Fair value is not market value; however, for most types of property it is close to average market values for the municipality or neighbourhood. The calculations used to determine fair value are based on the formulas, rules and regulations set out by Provincial Legislation and the Saskatchewan Assessment Manual.
For more information on the calculation of fair value please visit the Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency web site. (www.sama.sk.ca)
Why would my property’s value change? Fair values change for various reasons, such as:
additions, upgrades, or other building changes have been recorded
buildings have been removed or replaced
land subdivision has occurred
the year of valuation is being updated to a more current level
Where do assessment appraisers get the information to calculate the fair value of my property? The RM of Torch River contracts the Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency (SAMA) to set values to properties within the RM. Assessment appraisers review information about your property obtained from recorded property characteristics, building permits, site visits, land title information, maps, photos and sales data. Using this information, they calculate your market value assessment using a variety of appraisal techniques similar to what a realtor or appraiser would do. It must be remembered, however, that assessors must use mass appraisal and that all values must be fair and equitable with similar properties.
For more information and to view your property reports please visit SAMAVIEW.
What is the difference between market value and market price? Market value is the most probable sale price of a property at a given point in time. Market price is the price a particular buyer and seller agree to in a particular transaction. The two may differ for a variety of reasons such as personal preferences, negotiating skills, and particular wants and desires of both the seller and the buyer. In some cases, the difference could be substantial and that is why properties are assessed using the mass appraisal system.
If I am not satisfied with my assessment, what can I do? Contact the Saskatchewan Assessment Agency (SAMA) at 1.800.216.4427 and ask to speak to an assessment appraiser, in respect to your property (either commercial or residential). They will explain how your assessment was arrived at and can once again confirm the accuracy of the records and explain the steps that need to be taken should changes be required. The assessment appraiser may also be able to provide you with other information that may assist you with your inquiry.
If I am still not satisfied after speaking with an assessor, what is my next step? You can appeal your assessment to the Board of Revision. Appeals against an assessed value are only accepted for a limited time period, following completion and posting of the assessment roll. In a revaluation year, the appeal period is 60 days after the mailing of the assessment notices. In the following years, the appeal period returns to the typical 30-day period.
The Board of Revision ensures that your assessment is fair and equitable. If you appeal your assessment and the Board makes a change, the decision changes the property assessment value in the year of assessment only and cannot be made retroactive to previous years.
When can I appeal my assessment? Each municipality annually prepares an assessment roll and provides notice of its completion in a local newspaper. Within thirty (30) days of the assessment roll being advertised you must give your completed notice of appeal to the Administrator. This can be done personally or by ordinary or registered mail. You must ensure that the appeal notice is in the hands of the Administrator within the 30 day period.
Can I appeal my taxes? No. Provincial legislation outlines what are considered valid grounds of appeal, and taxes, or the mill rate, are not a valid reason for appeal.
How are my taxes figured? In budget deliberations, council considers the total amount of revenue required to provide the services specified in the budget. Council will consider revenues from other sources and then determine what is needed from property tax revenue to achieve the funds they need for the budget amount.
Tax policy options such as base and minimum tax, mill rate factors are also considered by municipal councils. The mill rates and mill rate factors, when applied to a property assessment, determine the property tax for that property. These tax tools are not applicable to education property tax.
The RM multiplies the taxable assessed value by the municipal mill rate (and apply other tax tools), C&D Levies, Fire levies and the education mill rate to produce the total property taxes.
MUNICIPAL TAXES (#100 on tax notice) Taxable Assessment - This is the assessment value used as the base to calculate your property tax. Mill Rate - After annual budgets are approved by the School Board and the City, a mill rate is calculated and applied to all properties. Mill Rate Factor - A mill rate factor is a tax policy tool used to redistribute the amount of total taxes paid by each property class. Minimum Tax- A minimum amount of tax, established at the discretion of Council, with respect to any land and improvement.
(Taxable Assessment x mill rate x mill rate factor) = Municipal Taxes 1000
If the above calculation on agricultural land is lower than the minimum tax, the minimum tax amount would be applied to the property. If the calculation is higher than the minimum tax, the calculated amount would be applied to the property.
2016 Mill Rates Agricultural 15.0 - $400 minimum tax Residential 15.0 (.75 mill rate factor) Commercial 15.0 (1.474 mill rate factor) Hamlet of Garrick 7.0 - $75 minimum tax (both on land and improvements) Hamlet of Snowden 8.0 - $50 minimum on land, $200 minimum on improvements
EDUCATION TAXES (#200 OR #201 on tax notice) The province of Saskatchewan sets the education tax mill rate. There are separate rates for residential, agricultural, and commercial/industrial property classes and mill rate factors will not be applied.
(Taxable Assessment x mill rate ) = Education Taxes 1000
C&D LEVIES (#500 on tax notice) The Conservation and Development board sets the rate for the C&D Levies. There is $0.03 per acre for administration fee and a maintenance fee if there is a drainage ditch by the property.
FIRE LEVIES (#600,601,602 or 603 on tax notice) The RM passed a bylaw to cover the cost of additional services and infrastructure associated with Fire Protection for the additional service areas.
(Taxable Assessment x mill rate ) = Fire Taxes 1000
2016 Fire Mill Rates Fire Protection Area 1 (601 or 602) 1.0 Fire Protection Area 2 (600) 0.5 Fire Protection Area 3 (603) 1.25
Why did the RM implement a minimum tax of $400.00 on agricultural land? The council took the total budgeted expenses for the year, less provincial grants and divided by the number of parcels in the RM. This shows the minimum amount we need to generate from each parcel to maintain the RM.
How are municipal and education taxes on forest fringe land determined? All Crown lands under lease or permit are currently subject to local government taxation. Vacant Crown lands are not subject to property taxes.
Why do I pay school taxes when I don't have children or I am a senior? All property owners, whether they have children attending school or not, are required by Provincial law to pay school taxes. The prosperity and general well-being of society, or the community at large, is directly related to the education of its people. For that reason, the costs of education are deemed to be the responsibility of everyone. While the RM of Torch River bills and collects school taxes, the municipality has no jurisdiction or control over school board budgets or operations.
When should I expect to receive my tax notice? Tax notices are mailed out in August of every year. Taxes are due December 31st. The RM of Torch River tax year runs from January 1st to December 31st each year with property taxes due December 31st.
Can I receive a discount on my taxes if I pay early? Yes. There is a tax discount on current taxes: up to September 30th 5% discount, October 4% discount and November 2% discount. Payments must be received in the office on or before due dates to qualify for discounts. THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS. Note: The province has announced that as of January 1, 2013 there will no longer be a discount for early payment of Education taxes.
Can I pay my property taxes with a credit or debit card? No. Acceptable forms of payment are online banking, pre-authorized debit, cheque, money order or cash.
What happens if I don't pay my taxes? Please see the Citizen's Guide to Municipal Property Tax Enforcement.