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By Altus Group | April 20, 2020

The following is a summary of our virtual town hall on April 6, 2020.

We took a Q&A approach to this event and include the Questions & Answers below.

Any information obtained since our webinar is indicated with bold text.

Questions

1. What is the status of the rate review in Alberta?

  • Nearing completion of updated regulated rates for the assessment of wells, pipelines and light oilfield machinery and equipment (M&E) for the 2021 tax year, scheduled to be released for public feedback at the end of Q2 2020
  •  All current scenarios propose changes to depreciation, both regulated and additional

2. Is anything happening with Saskatchewan assessment?

  • Revaluation applicable for the 2021 tax year, we are seeking clarification if the revaluation will continue as the province of Ontario has deferred their 2021 revaluation
  • Proposed increases to be implemented for cost based assessment:
    • Oil & Gas 6%, Pipelines 16%, Heavy Industry 5%, Elevators 24%, Railway 25%
  • Rate review planned for well models to affect the 2025 revaluation
  • Current “hot topic” is the assessment of not-in-service tanks at sites
    • Intended to be low-impact in 2020, fully assessed in 2021
    • Awaiting confirmation from SAMA on criteria needed to amend tank inventories prior to June 30 state and condition date

3. Have any of the tax due dates changed?

  • Within Alberta, the majority of property tax is due on or about June 30th annually
  • Economic impact of COVID-19 and related education deferral program have municipalities looking at options to adjust the June 30th deadline
  • Specific municipal information obtained since webinar:
    • Brazeau County – Proposal to defer tax payment to Sept. 30th but excludes DIP rolls
    • Saddle Hills County – Proposal to freeze tax rates, unconfirmed
    • Ponoka County – Tax rates at 2019 levels, Dec. 31st deadline, early payment discount of 5% if paid by July 31st
    • MD of Greenview – Tax payment date for non-res property has been deferred to Sept 30, 2020 without penalty. Tax rates are expected to be finalized on May 8, 2020
    • Yellowhead County – 5% tax rate decrease, no confirmed tax payment deadline
    • Mackenzie County – tax rates to be reviewed April 22nd
  • British Columbia still scheduled for Thursday, July 2nd, 2020
  • Saskatchewan has indicated no change to current process, most are “due” December 31st with discounts applied as early as July 31st

4. How does the Education Tax Deferral impact me?

  • Deferral of education tax portion of property tax for “six months”
    • Effects ratepayers on monthly Tax Installment Payment Plan (TIPP)
  • Biggest impact to rural non-residential ratepayers is the administrative burden the plan is causing for those municipalities with due dates in June, July, August, September – resulting in changes occurring at municipal level as described in question 3
  • BC government announced a 50% abatement of the 2020 education tax for all Major and Minor industrial class assets.

5. Are my 2020 Taxes going to be lower than 2019?

  • In Alberta a Ministerial Order was issued April 17th moving all key assessment and taxation dates occurring after January 31st to October 1st, 2020 July 1st, 2020
  • Council meetings in April, to date, have included discussion on tax rates, discounts, and deferred tax due dates
  • BC has confirmed 50% reduction in education tax for industrial class properties
  • Altus continues to monitor and contact municipalities in Alberta and Saskatchewan to inquire on the will of Council
    • More information at month-end April, possibly through a webinar format

6. Is it too late to Change or Appeal the current assessment?

  • All appeal deadlines which were to have occurred after January 31st are now adjusted to, at the earliest, July 1st
  • This effectively keeps the roll open until July 1st for many industrial non-residential assets in the province including all Designated Industrial Property (DIP) – linear and non-linear assets
    • 2019 state and condition dates of October 31st (DIP) and December 31st still apply for 2020 tax
  • In Saskatchewan, rural municipalities have begun issuing assessment notices, each with a 30-day appeal period
    • Correspondence from the SK assessment review boards indicates business as usual while following social isolation and remote conference call procedures

7. What about 2021?

  • Entire world is focused on “now” and getting through this pandemic
  • Recommend Saskatchewan operators with out of service tanks on sites consider options to disconnect or remove these before June 30th
    • Ongoing discussions with SAMA on this issue and ability to reduce assessment
  • Alberta reporting deadlines remain unconfirmed other than it will not occur prior to July 1st
  • Saskatchewan and British Columbia reporting deadlines remain unchanged at this time

Looking Forward

We will look to host another virtual town hall in Q2 to provide updated information affecting both the 2020 and 2021 tax years.

Should you have any questions prior to the upcoming webinar invitation, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

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