June 28th, 2019
Municipal Government (Property Tax Incentives) Amendment Act, 2019
Came Into Force
This legislation extends the ability of municipalities to grant tax exemptions or deferrals on non-residential property, provided it can be justified as benefiting the community. It also covers related things, like how annexations of land by various municipalities needs to be handled if that land is currently subject to a deferral or exemption.
This section includes a couple definitions, just to make reading this a little easier. If you see an asterisk (*), it means that the term is defined up here. Some of these definitions are not the official ones used in the legislation, they’re just used to make the reading less repetitive. If the definition cites a section of the legislation, it’s an official definition from the legislation.
“Term” - definition
MGA - Municipal Government Act
Section 1 defines that this Act will amend the Municipal Government Act.
Section 2 amends Section 127 of the MGA* by adding in a new subsection (1.1), which covers what will happen if land that’s been granted a deferral or exemption under section 364.2 (which is also being created by Bill 7) is annexed by another municipality under an order from 127(1). If that happens, the order has to require the municipality that’s annexing the land to continue providing the exemption or deferral in respect to that land, subject to any decisions the Lieutenant Governor considers appropriate.
Section 3 simply requires that section 303(h.1) of the MGA* add in a reference to section 364.2 - previously, an assessment roll of an assessed property had to include information on deferral of collection of taxes if one was being provided under 364.1; this just expands that to also include exemptions being provided by 364.2.
Section 4 essentially does the same thing, by adding in a requirement to note any deferrals of collections of taxes under 364.2 for any assessed designated industrial property .
Section 5, again, is doing basically the same thing by adding in references to 364.2 alongside references to 364.1 in section 305, which covers what happens if exempt property or property with deferred taxes becomes taxable or vice versa under any of these sections, the assessment roll only needs to be corrected for the current year and a notice needs to be sent to the assessed person.
Section 6 also basically copies a section regarding 364.1 and applies it to 364.2, this time in regards to how a tax roll must show if any property in the municipality is the subject of a bylaw or agreement under 364.1/2 to defer tax collection, a note about the amount deferred and the year or years to which that amount relates.
Section 7 is where the section 364.2 is created that we’ve been hearing about throughout the rest of this bill, as well as 364.3. First, 364.2(1) defines “deferral” and “exemption” to refer to deferrals and exemptions specifically under section 364.2. “Non-residential” refers to the definition of non-residential provided in section 297(4).
364.2(2) says that a council can create a bylaw that would allow for full or partial exemptions from taxation for non-residential property, or deferrals of collection of tax for non-residential property, for the purpose of encouraging development and/or revitalizing non-residential properties for the general benefit of the municipality.
364.2(3) sets several requirements for bylaws that are created under 364.2(2). It must set the criteria for a non-residential property to qualify for either an exemption or deferral; it must establish a process for the submission and consideration of applicants for that exemption or deferral; it can’t provide an exemption or deferral for more than 15 consecutive tax years, although the council can provide subsequent exemptions or deferrals of another 15 years or less for a cumulative total of more than 15 tax years; and lastly, if the bylaw allows anyone that isn’t the council to cancel/refuse to grant an exemption or deferral, it must establish a process for applications to the council itself to review those decisions and a timeframe for it to do so.
364.2(4) just says that if a municipality reviews an application and determines that the property meets the requirements for a full/partial exemption or deferral, the municipality can grant it.
364.2(5) states that exemptions and deferrals must be granted in a written form that specifies the years that it applies (which can’t include any years prior to the year that it’s granted), the extent of an exemption if it’s a partial exemption, and any conditions that, if breached, will result in the cancellation under subsection (6) and the years that they apply to.
364.2(6) allows the municipality to cancel any exemption or deferral for a taxation year/years if a property either never met or has failed to continue meeting any criteria or conditions previously set for that period of time.
364.2(7) requires municipalities to send written notices to applicants if they refuse to grant or cancel an exemption or deferral. The notice must include their reasons as well as a date that they must apply for review if a review of the decision is available.
364.2(8) requires a municipality to notify the provincial assessor whenever they grant or cancel an exemption or deferral in respect of designated industrial property, as well as any information that the assessor requests in regards to the exemption, deferral, or cancellation.
364.2(9) says that, subject to subsection (6), any order referred to in section 127(1.1), and the criteria and conditions of a deferral or exemption, an exemption or deferral will remain valid regardless of whether the bylaw that it was granted under still exists, if it’s amended, or if it’s repealed.
From here, we move onto 364.3, which covers the judicial review of a decision under 364.2. 364.3(1) states that, if a decision about an exemption or deferral is the subject of an application for a judicial review, the application must be filed with the Court of Queen’s Bench, and served within 60 days of the date of the decision. 364.3(2) also states that no councillor, designated officer, or other person who makes a decision under a bylaw under 364.2 is liable for costs related to a judicial review of the decision. With that, we’re done with Section 7.
Section 8 amends section 460 in a couple places. First, it extends an existing law for 364.1 to 364.2, which states that there is no right to make a complaint about an exemption or deferral given by agreement under 364.1(11) or 364.2 unless the agreement expressly provides for it. It also adds under 460(15) that an assessment review board has no jurisdiction to deal with a complaint about matters relating to an exemption or deferral under 364.2, including refusals to grant exemptions or deferrals or cancellations of exemptions or deferrals under it.
Section 9 is the final section of this bill, and just adds a reference to 460.1(2) about the jurisdiction of a composite assessment review board (namely, that their jurisdiction is subject to 460(15)).