Saskatchewan changes tax status for three property types

Taxed on full value Grain elevators, rail rights of way and pipelines will see 2013 assessment raised from 75 percent to 100 percent

The full value of grain elevators, railway rights of way and pipelines will be used to calculate taxable assessments for those properties in 2013, the Saskatchewan government announced last week.

The percentage of value will rise from 75 percent to 100 percent. It had been 75 percent for the three types of property within the commercial-industrial class since a new reassessment system was implemented in the 1990s.

All other property classes remain the same: range or pasture land, 40 percent; cultivated land, 55 percent; residential and seasonal, 70 percent; and commercial-industrial, 100 percent.

Government relations minister Jim Reiter said increasing the percentage of value for the three property types will level the playing field within the commercial and industrial class.

He said it wouldn’t necessarily mean taxes will go up on those properties.

“Right now percentages of value have to be set so municipalities can start doing their work on deciding what they want to do for tax tools (and) setting appropriate mill rates for budgeting purposes,” he said in an interview.

Properties are revalued every four years, by law, and 2013 is a revaluation year.

Reiter said it makes sense to change the percentage of value now for that reason and also because other commercial properties generally went up in value at a higher rate than these three.

“If you’re going to have a time to level the playing field, this is probably an appropriate time,” he said.

The overall tax bill is also affected by the education property tax rate, a provincial rate that the province will announce on budget day in March, Reiter said. Separating properties within the commercial/industrial class into two classes will alleviate expected significant education property tax shifts.

The percentages of value were implemented to help mitigate tax shifts when the valuation system was changed in the 1990s from a 1960s model.

The province sets the percentage of value, while appraisers value the properties.

Both figures are used to calculate the taxable assessment, which is then multiplied by a local mill rate for the municipal tax portion and the provincial rate for the education tax.

Saskatchewan property values have risen to $97 billion from $58 billion in 2009, according to the province.

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