Municipalities have authority under Part 7 of the Community Charter to tax property owners. The taxes collected in Sparwood are used to provide services, such as:
Property taxes in Sparwood are calculated on the basis of the market value, or "assessment", of land, improvements or both (i.e. house, barn, garage, yard) and the municipal "tax rate". The District calculates taxes using the variable tax rate system where tax rates are based on a dollar figure per $1,000 dollars of assessed property value. For example if we were to use the 2016 Tax Rates, the property taxes payable on a residential property valued at $300,000 would be $1,164.87 (e.g. 3.8829 tax rate / $1,000 x $300,000 = $1,164.87).
Tax rates differ between municipalities and may vary depending on the "class" of property. The District sets their annual tax rates based on the revenue needed as set out in our financial plan.
Parcel taxes are often used instead of, or in conjunction with, user fees to recover the costs of providing local government services. They can be levied on any property that has the opportunity to be provided with a service regardless of whether or not the service is being used.
A parcel tax can be imposed on the basis of a single amount for each parcel; the taxable area of a parcel; and the taxable frontage of the parcel. The bylaws required to establish a parcel tax scheme must identify the service; state the basis and specify the years for which the tax is imposed. In addition, they must establish how the taxable area or the taxable frontage of a given property is determined. A local government must make available to th public, on request, a report respecting how the amounts or rates were determined.
A special assessment listing, or roll, must be created before a parcel tax can be imposed. This roll lists the parcels to be charged and includes the name and address of the owners of each parcel. Once it has been completed, the roll must be available for public inspection. If requested by an owner, the local government must omit or obscure the address of the owner or other information about the owner to protect their privacy or security.
A review panel must be formed by the local government to consider any complaints about the roll and to authenticate it. A person can make a complaint to the panel on the basis that there is an error or omission with regard to a name or address, the inclusion of a parcel, the taxable area or frontage, or that an exemption has been improperly allowed or disallowed. Owners are sent a notice of the date set for the sitting of the review panel the first time the tax is imposed on their parcel. In following years, the sitting of the panel is advertised in two consecutive issues of a local newspaper.
A parcel tax can only be applied to properties that receive a particular service. In Sparwood, the following parcel taxes are currently collected:
Under the Community Charter and the Local Government Act, the District of Sparwood may grant permissive tax exemptions which exempt certain properties from taxation for a specified period of time. The properties that are exempted in Sparwood are listed in the Permissive Tax Exemption Bylaw.