Under the Municipal Government Act[1] of the province of Alberta, the City of Calgary Assessment Business Unit is empowered to complete property assessments on residential properties.

Property assessments for a particular year are calculated based on the value of a property as of July 1 of the prior year. These assessments are not mailed out until January 4, so there is the possibility that the value of the property will change during this time. The following article summarizes the assessment process, and outlines what you can do if your property assessment is higher than the market value of your home.

The Assessment Process
According to the City of Calgary website, the city annually assesses approximately 414, 000 single residential and residential condominium properties, totaling a combined value of $158 billion. Properties are assessed based on the city’s estimate of the market value of your property on July 1 of the previous year, and the characteristics and physical condition on December 31. Market value is defined as ”˜(”¦) the most probable price that a property would sell for on the open market as of a given date.’ To properly assess the market value of a home, there are many factors the city takes into consideration. Some of these factors include property location, total finished floor area of home, lot size, basement or lower level of home development, quality of home, age of building, existence and type of garage, and traffic influences.

How is a Property Assessment Calculated?
Pursuant to the Municipal Government Act[2], the City of Calgary is empowered to complete property assessments for residential properties. The assessed value that is placed on your property is an ”˜estimated value’ derived from a careful consideration of the real estate market and the market value analysis. Because one of the assessment factors is location, it may be a good idea to compare your assessment with that of your neighbors’ to get an idea of the accuracy of your assessment. You can find each properties current year assessment rate at www. calgary.ca/assessments.

Assessed Value vs. Purchase Price of Home

The assessed value of your home is different than the purchase price of your home, and although in some cases may be the same, there is also the possibility these values may differ. The main effect of this relates to the amount of property tax levied on your home. If you feel that the assessed value of your home is higher than the market value of your home, the city asks you to first consider whether your home would have sold for the amount in your assessment on July 1 of the previous year. If yes, or if the value is close, the assessment is considered fair. However, if you feel as though your assessment is higher than the value of your home, there are a number of options available to you.

What Can You Do?
City of Calgary Customer Review Period
Because the assessment is completed in July, there is the possibility that the market value of the property will change. If the market value of the house has changed in this time period, you can contact the city and a review of your assessment will be done, permitting the request is made during the designated review period. This review time frame is indicated on each year’s assessment notice. The review period is generally January to the first week of March.

Written Complaint
If, after requesting a review of you assessment you are still not satisfied that your assessment is accurate, you may file a written complaint with the Assessment Review Board. There is a $30 complaint fee to file your grievance with the designated officer, and the fee must accompany the written complaint. The Assessment Review Board will then investigate your claim and determine the accuracy of the assessment.

Independent Appraisal
There are a number of different ways an appraisal can be completed. Essentially, an appraisal is another opinion of the value of your house. The difference between a single appraisal and the appraisal the city does on your house is that the former compares a select few properties while the latter completes a mass appraisal based on a large number of properties. With that being said, an independent appraisal may provide the city with an additional source of information when determining the correct assessment for your property.

For more information, please visit www.calgary.ca/assessment/

[1] R.S.A. 2000, c. M-26.

[2] Ibid.