Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Interesting property tax rule changes

The CBC gives a pretty detailed explanation of the changes to property taxation that the Minister of Local Government introduced today here.

One interesting feature is that libraries will no longer be taxed.  As a number of “public good” type buildings are not subject to property taxes, this makes sense.

Apparently they will also be simplifying property tax bills. This is a good move.  Two TED talks that are great at explaining the value of simplified documents are Alan Siegel’s Let’s simplify legal jargon! and Dave Meslin’s The antidote to apathy.

There are also rules that should ease the tax burden on owners of investment properties.  There doesn’t appear to be a mechanism that ensures these savings are passed along to tenants, but hopefully this leads to more responsible building ownership/management.

There is also a mechanism in place to limit increases in any given year for owners.  One thing I like about this rule is that a reassessment will occur when a property sells.  Hopefully this will increase the likelihood of newly purchased properties being properly assessed.  However, my concern on the capping increases is that there are many drastically under assessed properties and this rule will slow the correction of these errors. This is bad because it puts an unfair burden on those who are properly assessed.

So, overall I think there are some good things coming with these new rules, and some things to be cautious about.

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This is the account used for updating the Urban Plans for Saint John Blog.