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Ask the Town: Splitting Assessment and Taxation Notices

In 2020, Hinton residents will experience the first year of a different, more transparent, assessment and taxation notice process. Council and Town Administration has made the decision to move our community to a split assessment and taxation notice, creating numerous efficiencies and allowing for a more accurate budget estimation and tax rate computation. This move brings the Town of Hinton taxation process in line with many communities across the province, including major cities Edmonton and Calgary as well as similar sized communities like the City of Lacombe. To provide answers to likely questions arising from this change, Town of Hinton Corporate, and Strategic, Services have partnered with the Powers & Associates Appraisal Services to provide the following Ask the Town.

How will this impact my assessed value?
There is no direct impact to assessed value through this change. However, assessments will be able to occur with more time through the year, ideally allowing more time for the assessor to prepare a more accurate and reliable assessed value each year. 
This split will allow both the assessment function and tax function to be dealt with in isolation.  Each function is separate of the other, however, each function impacts the other.  Splitting the functions should create more transparency to taxpayers about where their increases or decreases each year are occurring.

How will this impact taxation?

The Town and assessor Warren Powers and his associates believe that this change will mean fewer complaints, and therefore appeals, in the community. In addition, this realigns the inquiry and appeals process so as to be complete before the finalization of mill rates – only an adjustment following an Assessment Review Board decision would impact the assessed base, and that impact will be known earlier in the year, allowing for more time to compensate for the impact.

What will this change look like for homeowners?
Under the new process, the Assessor will declare the assessment roll at the end of January. Following an audit, the assessments will be prepared and mailed prior to the end of February. This will make the deadline to appeal the assessment in mid-April. The municipality will then finalize the budget and prepare to issue the tax notices. Tax notices will continue to be sent out in May, with payment due at the end of June.

What other benefits will this amount to for the Town?
This change allows the Town to have a better and more accurate estimate of growth (thanks to an earlier audit timeline) and enables the assessor to have more time available to assess properties throughout the year, making residents assessments more accurate and up to date.

So, what is the downside?
It is anticipated that there will be an increased cost to mail out these separate notices; this, however, will likely be offset by efficiencies and more accurate budget estimation savings. In addition, this will have an impact on Corporate Services, particularly in the first two years as we move to the new process, as this requires an additional level of organization and discipline in record keeping.

Further Questions?
Town of Hinton Corporate Services wishes to invite any residents with questions regarding this change to visit the Hinton Government Centre and speak to a representative or use Hinton Listens via the button on Hinton.ca and the myHinton app. 
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