The Assessment Process and Its Relation to Taxes
SAMA’s role in determining assessed value for properties is just the first part of a process established by provincial legislation. The second part is the application of provincial government established tax policy, such as property classes, percentage of value, and statutory exemptions. The third and final part of the process involves a provincial education mill rate factor, and the local mill rate factor which is determined annually by the local municipalities based on local budget needs. They then multiply the taxable assessment by these mill rates to determine your property tax bill.
*In addition to determining mill rates, local governments have the authority to apply a series of tax tools, such as mill rate factors by local property class, minimum tax, and base tax. Cities also have the ability to create additional tax subclasses to apply mill rate factors. As well, cities can phase-in tax changes due to a revaluation. These tax tools further impact the specific tax bill received by a taxpayer.
More information about assessment and its relation to taxation can be found by visiting the Ministry of Government Relations' web site.
How SAMA Discovers the Assessed Value of a Property
- First, a methodology is applied to calculate the assessed value of a property. The methodology varies according to different types of properties.
- Second, all assessments are determined according to a base date. This helps ensure fairness between properties. That base date is periodically moved forward by provincial legislation so that assessments can be kept more up-to-date. Currently, a new base is set every four years.
- In addition, SAMA conducts a full revaluation of all properties in the province every four years to coincide with the change to a new base date.
Current revaluation: 2017 using the base year 2015
Next revaluation: To be done in 2021
Like the base date, the four-year cycle is determined by provincial government legislation. (Some larger cities conduct the revaluation themselves, according to the professional standard of principles and practices laid down by SAMA. The cities who do this are: Saskatoon, Regina, North Battleford, Swift Current and Prince Albert)
- Finally, SAMA conducts an ongoing suite of activities (services) that protect a fair property assessment system.
- General Reinspections
Periodically municipalities must have all their properties reinspected on-site to verify that physical data and valuations are accurate.
SAMA’s experts conduct these reinspections on behalf of most municipalities.
- Maintenance Reinspections
On a regular cycle, municipalities request SAMA to do on-site inspections of specific individual properties.
This usually happens where significant developments or changes have been made that have altered the physical data on a property.
- Appeals and Support of Assessment Appeals
The assessment system in Saskatchewan has an extensive appeal system for ratepayers who disagree with the assessed value of their property.
SAMA is required to participate in appeals and provide full disclosure of how property values are determined. This responsibility for openness and full disclosure is part of what SAMA calls "support of assessment appeals".
- General Reinspections
The Concept of Mass Appraisal
The Saskatchewan system of assessment uses the "mass appraisal" methodology so that assessments are done according to the fairest, most defensible system available. Mass appraisal means valuing a group of properties as of a given date, using standard methods and statistical analysis. This includes developing valuation models capable of valuing all properties.