Mill rate cap intended to protect industrialproperty owners

Saskatchewan has set a limit on the mill rate factor that municipalities can apply to their property taxes this year to ensure fairer tax distribution among property classes.

Government relations minister Jim Reiter said he has also asked officials to review all tax tools after a small number of rural municipalities used the mill rate factor to shift taxes almost entirely onto one class.

He is specifically concerned about the RM of Eye Hill, which used its mill rate factor two years ago to put nearly all its tax levy on commercial property.

“My officials tell me for that rural municipality for that year, the entire municipal tax levy was $1,600,” he said.

“So you can see that just dramatically took all the municipal tax off agriculture land and put it on commercial/industrial. In cases like that, I can’t think of any justification for it.”

The industrial property in Eye Hill is a pipeline, which the owners can’t just move to avoid the tax burden.

Reiter said most commercial and industrial property owners already pay higher municipal property taxes than agricultural or residential property owners for the same services, but there has to be fairness.

He stressed that this type of situation is rare, but he wants to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

His officials will consult with municipal associations and other stakeholders on how to move forward after this year. For now, the maximum ratio of highest to lowest mill rate factors that a municipality can use is 15, retroactive to Jan. 1.

Most have far lower ratios than this already. Cities and northern municipalities are exempt from the limit because they are all well below it.

Reiter announced the limit during his speech to delegates at the March annual convention of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities.

He said people later told him there have to be rules in place.

“I talked to many delegates and I never heard one negative comment,” he said.

The mill rate factor is used only for the municipal portion of property tax and not for the education portion.

  • Agricultural, including non-arable and range land and improvements and other agricultural land and improvements.
  • Residential, including multi-unit residential and seasonal residential.
  • Commercial and industrial, including elevators and railway rights of way and pipeline.

Mill rate cap intended to protect industrialproperty owners Business Government  Saskatchewan Rural Municipality Government of Saskatchewan   via The Western Producer

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