Understanding Your Property Taxes

The City of Medicine Hat relies on the collection of property taxes to provide services, make improvements to infrastructure and to meet financial obligations. The provincial government recognizes the reliance on property tax revenue and oversees legislation ensuring each municipality can collect taxes through the Municipal Government Act (MGA).

The Municipal Government Act (MGA) is drafted on the principal of protecting people's interests in their properties.

How is my tax bill calculated?

Each year, City Council approves the total amount of money required to support City services. Other sources of revenue including license fees, user fees and provincial grants, are subtracted from this amount. The remaining balance is the amount the City must collect through property taxes. Your property assessment is used to determine your share of the total taxes collected in the City.

Municipal property taxes are calculated using two factors:

  1. Current year's municipal budget
  2. Medicine Hat's total market value assessment

The municipal tax rate = total revenue (municipal budget) required from property tax divided by the total market value assessment.

Property tax exemption

If your non-profit organization is the owner of a property, or the holder of a property under a lease, license or permit, and if the property is primarily used for the purpose of the organization, your organization may qualify for a property tax exemption. 

Who qualifies?

Your non-profit organization may qualify for property tax exemption only if it:

  • Owns property, or holds property under a lease, license, or permit
  • Is incorporated under the Society Act, or an entity established under a federal law or law of Alberta
  • Uses the funds chiefly for the purposes of the organization and not for the benefit of the organization's directors and employees
  • Does not restrict the use of the property within the terms and meaning outlined in the regulation

For more information, visit the Province of Alberta's Guide to Property Tax Exemption.

How to apply

Please submit a completed application to:

City of Medicine Hat
Assessment Department
580 First Street SE
Medicine Hat AB, T1A 8E6

Select the application form that corresponds to your non-profit organization. If the following are not applicable, please submit the general application form.

Frequently asked questions about tax exemption

If I am a tenant or lessee, can I apply for property tax exemption?

Yes, you can apply for property tax exemption if you are a tenant or lessee of a property. If you are granted tax exemption it is recommended that the owner of the property is aware of the exemption.

When should I apply for property tax exemption?

Regulation requires a completed application form and full supporting information to be submitted to the municipality by November 30 preceding the year of taxation. Once submitted the municipality may require additional information from the applicant, this must be supplied no later than February 15 of the taxation year.

Do I have to pay my outstanding taxes if I have completed and submitted an application?

Yes, you must pay outstanding taxes until you are granted tax exemption. Once you are tax exempt, the municipality may waive the application requirement for up to 3 consecutive taxation years.

Will I continue to receive my annual assessment and tax notice?

Yes, the City of Medicine Hat prepares and mails annual assessment and tax notices for all properties. Your assessment notice will indicate if your property, or a portion thereof, is tax exempt. 

Recovering overdue taxes

The City of Medicine Hat follows the Municipal Government Act in regard to tax recovery and must take action to collect overdue taxes.

Tax recovery

In March of each year, the City prepares a list of all parcels of land and manufactured homes that are more than one year in arrears (overdue) on their property tax.

This list is sent to the Registrar at the Land Titles Office and a tax notification is registered on the Certificate of Title for the property. In the case of a manufactured home, a tax lien is registered.

Once a tax notification or tax lien is registered, the person who is liable to pay the taxes must not remove any improvements for which taxes can be levied and for which that person is responsible.

If the tax arrears are not paid by March 31 of the following year, the municipality can offer the parcel for sale at public auction. The City of Medicine Hat allows the maximum time allotted by the Municipal Government Act and holds the tax sale auction on the last business day of March (2 years after the tax notification or tax lien was registered).

Anyone can pay the tax arrears owing against the property and the municipality will remove the tax notification or tax lien. All property owners in arrears are encouraged to sign up for the Tax Arrears Payment Plan (TAPP). Payments under the plan will be calculated so that the property arrears are paid in full prior to being offered for tax sale auction.

Tax sale information

Tax sale is a public auction of properties within a municipality which have outstanding property taxes for more than two years. The City of Medicine Hat follows the Municipal Government Act in regard to tax recovery, which allows for the recovery of unpaid property taxes by selling properties in tax arrears at a public tax sale auction.

The tax sale is held annually on the last business day in March at 9 a.m. in Boardroom M1 in City Hall, 580 First Street SE, Medicine Hat. Properties to be sold at tax sale are advertised in the Alberta Gazette in February and in the Medicine Hat News in March. The reserve bid is set by council and is the lowest amount for which a property may be sold. The reserve bid is determined using fair market value of the property. A list of properties being offered for tax sale will be posted on the internet by March 1.

The property owner has until 9 a.m. on the day of tax sale to pay the tax arrears on their property to avoid being auctioned at the tax sale. The highest bid above the reserve bid is declared the purchaser. If there is no bid, or no bid equal to the reserve bid, the municipality may become the owner of the property. The successful bidder must pay at time of auction a 10% non-refundable deposit with the balance of funds by cash, cheque or bank draft within 24 hours.

How to remove your property from the tax sale auction

Prior to the public auction of properties, the City follows an extensive notification process. If your property is included on the public auction listing, you must pay the full outstanding balance on your property tax account before the auction date to be removed from the sale.

For more information on Alberta property taxes, visit Province of Alberta Land Titles.