The property tax gap has remained relatively consistent in Fort Saskatchewan in recent years, according to a new report.
Last month, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released its annual Property Tax Gap Report, which analyzes the tax treatment of residential and commercial properties by municipal governments across Alberta. The CFIB defines the property tax gap as the differential between commercial and residential property tax mill rates.
"This report that we do isn't looking at the total tax burden, but it does look at the share, so what businesses are paying versus residents," said Richard Truscott, vice-president for B.C. and Alberta with the CFIB. "Is that balance there? Is it fair? Is it sensitive to the needs of local small businesses? Those are really important questions for municipal governments to be asking."
Out of the top 20 largest municipalities in the province, Fort Sask ranks as the tenth best for property tax fairness, with a tax gap of 1.79. All told, that represents a change of 0.3 per cent from 2017 to 2018.
"In other words, businesses pay a little bit less than two times what residents do based on the same assessed value of property," Truscott explained.
In comparison, Strathcona County ranks as the eighth worst municipality, with a tax gap of 2.08 — up 3.7 per cent from 2017. Edmonton's gap is second worst at 2.82.
"If you look at (Fort Saskatchewan's) tax multiple versus Edmonton's, there's a big difference," Truscott added. "So, there could be some tax savings for small businesses to think about relocating outside the Edmonton city limits."
From 2009 to 2019, the gap has decreased 24.9 per cent in Fort Sask.