Caitlin Tasker & Jenna Dawe, Residential Assessors
November 16, 2017
Mark – Caitlyn, can you tell me, what do you both do for the City?
Caitlin – We’re Residential Assessors, we assess properties.
Mark – So there are Residential Assessors… that’s what you do; there are Realtors, they will give you a market evaluation on your home; and there are appraisers, who will actually do an appraisal on your home. It is interesting, because all three are similar, but different.
Mark. Caitlin, can you tell me what does an Assessor do?
Caitlin – An assessor uses a mass appraisal approach to determine the market value of your property. How we do this is by collecting data through inspections or through information from the property home owner, and then we annually evaluate all the sales to determine a fair an equitable market value of your property.
Mark – Jenna, does the Residential Assessor set the tax rate?
Jenna – The simple to answer to that is no. As Caitlin spoke to, we determine the market value, that information is used in determining the tax rate, but it is not determined by the assessors.
Mark – who does set the tax rate?
Jenna – Ultimately, the tax rate is set by mayor and counseland approved by Bylaw.
Mark – Caitlin what is the total assessed value of the City of Grande Prairie?
Caitlin – so residentially, it’s approximately $6.5 Billion, and then non-residentially is $4.9 Billion, for a grand total of $11.4 Billion.
Mark – Jenna, something I hear quite a bit when I go do a market evaluations on a home, they will say to me, ya we’re just not going to [completely] finish the basement or we haven’t quite finished it yet because they feel they’re going to save on taxes. Is that true, if I don’t put the carpet down, do I beat the system, I’m not going to pay taxes on that?
Jenna – that is a misconception. When it comes to basement finish, it’s not an all or nothing thing. What we will do is, we will assess it based on what is completed, if it is only 50%, say there’s only a couple rooms down there that are done, we will base it on that, or if you haven’t put your flooring in, we will reduce it based on that, but we assess what’s there.
Mark – Caitlin, can you tell me how often does a [Residential] Assessor end up knocking on the door?
Caitlin – so we do re-inspection every 5 years. Basically we go to all the neighbourhoods and knock door to door. So we try to do an interior and exterior inspection, and if we can’t get in, we leave a door knocker notice, with our information, so you can call us and set up an appointment and we also leave a request for information. So it’s a form they can fill out at home and mail that to the City.
Mark – Jenna, what if I don’t let you in, what happens then? I think there is that thought that if I don’t let you in, my taxes won’t go up.
Jenna – We have to use the best information we have, and of course an inspection is the best way for us to get our information. So we do encourage home owners. We’re here to set a fair and equitable assessment value. The other part of it is, if you go to appeal, the very first [question] I’m going toask is, I need to inspect that property in order to make sure my information is correct on what I determined. So you could lose your ability to appeal if you don’t let us in, because we weren’t able to get the information we wanted.
Mark – So what if I do disagree with the assessment, what’s the protocol?
Jenna – The assessments go out usually at the beginning of each year, at that time, we encourage home owners to give us a call if they have concerns with their assessment. By doing that, we’re able to educate on how we do our job and get those values. Often times, that can resolve the issue. If not, there is an appeal period of 60 days after the assessment notices go out, and at that time, both the home owner and the property assessor brings their case to a board, and the board determines that assessment.
Mark – You had mentioned in a course with Jeffrey nutting, that there is some sort of check in as far as your accuracy, and you are actually checking sales. It’s not just random, it’s not just out of control, there is actually a check, can you explain?
Jenna – All of our sales get submitted to an audit, and we actually have to be within a 95% to 105% range
Mark – based on actual sales?
Jenna – correct. We have to pass that audit every year, so we’re not just setting things all crazy out there, we are held accountable for those value.
Mark – Caitlin, on my tax notice, it says what the assessment is for my home. What is the date for that assessment?
Caitlin – so for the upcoming 2018 Assessment notice, it comes out at the beginning of the year, that is based off of last year at July 1st, 2017. And that’s the evaluation date. That date is set by legislation by the municipal government act, we don’t set that, it is across Alberta.
Mark – Then I’m going to get my tax bill, and it’s going to be due on what day?
Jenna – June 30th.
Mark – So I will be catching up on what I haven’t paid the last 6 months, and prepaying for the next 6 months. Unless maybe I’m doing monthly.
Jenna – that is right, [in that case] that June 30th date is no longer applicable, you get the full 12 months to pay. That is an option.