Frequently Asked Questions
Can I look up the exact amount I owe for my property taxes using the online Property Assessment & Tax Tool?
No. The information found using the Property Assessment Online Tool to search a property, does not contain the full details of a specific tax account; it shows the tax levy in relation to a property's assessment.
So, if I can look up my 'property tax levy,' is that how much I owe for my property taxes?
The amount shown does not include other charges such as BIDS, phase-in and special charges. Call 306-975-2400 for additional tax information you may be looking for.
What is the property taxation system in Saskatoon?
The property taxation system in Saskatoon uses the same basic principles as most jurisdictions across Canada and North America. This is an "ad valorem" tax system where property taxes are based on the relative value of property.
How does the City of Saskatoon assess residential properties?
The City assesses value to a property using a mass appraisal market value assessment system. Sales of residential properties are used in conjunction with property characteristics to create models for the valuation of properties using standardized procedures, and allowing for statistical testing. This process ensures equity in assessments.
Equity example: Two identical houses might sell for different amounts for a variety of reasons (such as the negotiation skills of the purchaser or seller, or how quickly the seller wishes to dispose of their property). The assessments for these nearly identical houses should be similar, even though they may actually have sold for different amounts. This is what is meant by fair and equitable, and the mass appraisal system helps meet this test.
What factors may influence my assessment?
In assessing a property, appraisers consider many factors including:
- the size and location of the lot;
- the size, style, quality, condition, location, and age of the home;
- what amenities are on the property (such as garages, basement finish, etc.); and
- any other items which may affect the value of the property in the marketplace.
Why would my property's value change?
Improvements made to your property, such as building an addition, adding a garage or basement rooms, etc., could change your property's assessed value. Your value could also change because the year of valuation is being updated to a more current level. In 2017, all property types will have their values reassessed and updated to reflect the assessed value of the property as of a base date of January 1, 2015. Saskatoon properties were last reassessed in 2013 - establishing assessed market values using a base date of January 1, 2011.
How does the City assess commercial properties?
The City uses the most applicable of any of the currently recognized approaches. The most used approach is the "income approach" (property rental income). The income approach normally capitalizes the net rental income of a property to arrive at a value, although there are other methodologies which can be used. Even with this approach, however, mass appraisal techniques are utilized to ensure fairness and equity.
Where do assessment appraisers get the information to calculate the fair value of my property?
Assessment appraisers review information about your property obtained from recorded property characteristics, building permits, site visits, land title information, maps, photos and sales data. Using this information, they calculate your market value assessment using a variety of appraisal techniques similar to what a realtor or appraiser would do. It must be remembered, however, that assessors must use mass appraisal and that all values must be fair and equitable with similar properties.
My house sold this year for an amount different than the assessment the City provided. Why?
Similar properties often sell for different prices for a variety of reasons including buyer preference, negotiating skills of the buyer or seller, how quickly the seller wishes to rid themselves of the property, as well as other minor differences such as landscaping. The value determined by the City is meant to be a representative value for similar properties, even though they may have sold for varying amounts. The City is required to assess property value at a specific point in time which may be different than an actual sale date.
What is the difference between market value and market price?
Market value is the most probable sale price of a property at a given point in time. Market price is the price a particular buyer and seller agree to in a particular transaction. The two may differ for a variety of reasons such as personal preferences, negotiating skills, and particular wants and desires of both the seller and the buyer. In some cases, the difference could be substantial and that is why properties are assessed using the mass appraisal system.
Will my property taxes change with a revaluation?
Almost all properties will see a tax change as a result of a revaluation. Properties that have above average increases in value may have an increase in property tax, and those with lower than average increases in value may have a decrease in property tax as a result of a general reassessment (other properties may stay nearly the same).
On January 9, 2017, the City will send reassessment notices to all property owners in Saskatoon, as 2017 is a reassessment year.
Will the most recent housing price increases affect my property taxes?
For the 2017 reassessment or revaluation, all assessors in Saskatchewan are legislated to use a base date of January 1, 2015, to place a value on properties. Increased assessments do not automatically mean increased property taxes, as the assessment process is revenue neutral. Changes in your taxes will depend on how the change in your assessment compared to others. Revenue neutral is a tax calculation that means, whether property assessments increase or decrease due to changes in values, the City of Saskatoon (City) receives the same amount of tax revenue.
How will property taxes across the city be affected by the 2017 reassessment?
The reassessment is revenue neutral to the City of Saskatoon. Residential properties with an assessment increase greater than the average will likely have an increase in municipal property taxes due to the reassessment, while residential properties with increases less than the average should have decreases in taxes due to the reassessment.
For 2017, the average assessment change by property class as a result of updating the base valuation date from January 1, 2011 to January 1, 2015 is as follows: Residential 12%, Commercial 36%, Multi-Residential 51% and Agriculture 112%.
Overall, there is no change in the amount of taxes the City will collect as a result of the reassessment.
Where do my tax dollars go?
Property taxes are used to fund schools, the library, and for municipal services such as police and fire protection. The City collects the taxes for the schools, but does not set school rates. See your City Tax distribution by keying in your address under the online Property Assessment & Tax Tool.
If I am not satisfied with my assessment, what can I do?
Contact the Assessment & Taxation Division by phone 306-975-3227 or visit the Assessment & Taxation Division office located at 325 3rd Ave North in Saskatoon, one block north of City Hall, and ask to speak to an assessment appraiser, in respect to your property (either commercial or residential). They will explain how your assessment was arrived at and can once again confirm the accuracy of the records and explain the steps that need to be taken should changes be required. The assessment appraiser may also be able to provide you with other information that may assist you with your inquiry.
If I am still not satisfied after speaking with an assessor, what is my next step?
For 2017, you can appeal your assessment to the Board of Revision which is located in City Hall. Appeals against your 2017 assessed value will be accepted January 9 through March 10, 2017, this is called the 60-Day Customer Review Period.
In a revaluation year, the appeal period is 60 days after the mailing of the assessment notices. As 2017 is an official reassessment year, the customer appeal period will end 60 days after official original notices are sent in January. In the following years, the appeal period will return to the typical 30-day period.
Can I appeal my taxes?
It is important to remember that only your assessment can be appealed, not your property taxes. The Board of Revision ensures that your assessment is fair and equitable. If you appeal your assessment and the Board makes a change, the decision changes the property assessment value in the year of assessment only and cannot be made retroactive to previous years.