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FINANCE - Taxation - Real or immovable property assessment - Classes

Friday, July 31, 2020 @ 6:06 AM  

Lexis Advance® Quicklaw®
Appeal by property owners from a decision dismissing their appeals from decisions of the Assessment Review Board finding the City had applied the proper assessment classes for determining the applicable mill rate to three properties owned by the appellants. While all three properties were zoned “Industrial,” the properties were used entirely for farming operations. Each could be serviced with water and sewer. The City concluded that the properties used for farming could be assigned an assessment class of non-residential for three acres and an assessment class of farmland for the remaining acres, to peg the taxation rate pursuant to s. 297 of the Municipal Government Act. The appellants challenged the City’s classification decision before the Board, arguing that the entire property should be assessed as farmland rather than the non-residential class assigned by the City. The appellants argued an assessment class was distinct from valuation and must be determined according to actual land use. The Board found that since the valuation standard was market value for the three acres, this eliminated an assessment class of farmland because the valuation standard of farmland was agricultural use value. It found the three acres could instead be classified as non-residential since each property was zoned Industrial. The appeal judge dismissed the appeal on the basis that the Board decisions were reasonable.

HELD: Appeal allowed. The definition of non-residential in s. 297(4)(b) of the Act, especially the phrase “but does not include farm land”, was not in any way altered or affected by s. 4(3)(d) of the Matters Relating to Assessment and Taxation Regulation. Pursuant to s. 297(4)(b) of the Act, a parcel of land could not be assessed as non-residential where it constituted farmland. The three acres contemplated in s. 4(3)(d) of Regulation remained farmland notwithstanding that it was valued according to the market value standard. The definition of farmland was based on actual use. The three acres of land in question were farmland and thus could not, contrary to the decisions of the Board, come within the non-residential assessment class. In concluding that s. 4(3) of the Regulation modified the interpretation of s. 297(4)(b) of the Act such that the market value standard assigned to the three acres precluded their being classified as farmland, the Board erred in law.

Associated Developers Ltd. v. Edmonton (City), [2020] A.J. No. 712, Alberta Court of Appeal, P.W.L. Martin, B.L. Veldhuis and S.J. Greckol JJ.A., June 26, 2020. Digest No. TLD-July272020010