Assessment FAQ

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  1. I just purchased my property. Why is the Property Assessment higher/lower than the price I paid?
  2. Why is my property assessed as being complete, when the building is unfinished?
  3. My assessment notice says that I have an improved parcel but I’ve made no changes or improvements to it. What does this mean?
  4. Why are assessment notices mailed separately from tax bills?
  5. What if the size of my home or other assessment or property details as indicated on the City’s website is incorrect?
  6. Will my taxes increase if my property assessment increases?
  7. What are the factors that affect my property’s value?
  8. Can I see other Property Assessments?
  9. Under what authority can an assessor enter or inspect my property?

1.  I just purchased my property. Why is the Property Assessment higher/lower than the price I paid?
The Government of Alberta legislates that the City must assess all property within Medicine Hat every year using a mass appraisal approach. The assessed value of your property as indicated in your latest assessment notice is your property’s estimated market value—the amount it would most likely have sold for based on the mass appraisal in the open market—on July 1 of the previous year.

To establish an assessed value of your property, the City uses information on real estate sales that occurred up to and including last July 1 and information on any physical changes recorded up to last December 31.
A range of sale prices results when similar properties are sold during the same time frame. Assessed values reflect the sales in the middle of this range of prices. That is one of the reasons why your assessed value may be higher or lower than the price you purchased your home for.

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2.  Why is my property assessed as being complete, when the building or basement is unfinished?
The annual assessment notice reflects the condition of your property as of December 31 of last year. 
If your property was mistakenly assessed as being 100% complete as of December 31, contact us to have this information reviewed and corrected if warranted.
A property may still be considered 100% complete even if the basement is unfinished. This is due to the valuation of the basement finish being separate from the percentage complete amount of the primary structure.

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3.  My assessment notice says that I have an improved parcel but I’ve made no changes or improvements to it. What does this mean?
An improved parcel refers to any parcel of land that has some sort of structural element affixed to it. It does not mean that a change has occurred; it simply reflects that a building of some sort exists on the lot.

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4.  Why are assessment notices mailed separately from tax bills?
Assessment notices are mailed separately from tax bills to provide owners an opportunity to ensure the assessment is reasonable prior to the tax billing. Owners are encouraged to review their assessment and make any inquiries during the Customer Review Period (60 days following the Notice of Assessment Date). Changes to an assessment will only be considered if an inquiry is made during the Customer Review Period.

Note: Changes can only be made to an assessment during the Customer Review Period; changes cannot be made to taxes

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5.  What if the size of my home or other assessment or property details as indicated on the City’s website, is incorrect?
Measurements used for assessment purposes reflect exterior measurements and may differ from what your builder or realtor has stated. 
If you believe that there are errors in the measurements or other physical characteristics that have been used to calculate your assessment, please contact us.

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6.  Will my taxes increase if my property assessment increases?
An increase in your property assessment does not mean your taxes will automatically go up by the same amount. Assessment is simply a distribution mechanism. Your assessment indicates the estimated value of your property. The property tax rate, which is based on budget requirements, is what determines how much your taxes will be. The tax rate is set by City Council each year.

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7.  What are the factors that affect my property’s value?

  • Style of home (examples: bungalow, bi-level)
  • Size of home
  • Size of the lot
  • Age
  • Basement or lower level finish
  • Quality of construction
  • Building condition
  • Location & Site influences 
  • Other special features (examples: air conditioning, fireplaces, pools)

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8.  Can I see other Property Assessments?
The Property Assessment Roll is open for inspection by any property owner. You may view the Assessment Roll below or view a hard copy at City Hall:

You may want to compare the details of your assessment with the assessment of similar properties.  This can be done by using the PDF files of the Assessment Roll by clicking on the link above, or by viewing assessments by map or address search at  the following locations:

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9. Under what authority can an assessor enter or inspect my property?

The Municipal Government Act, Revised Statutes of Albert 2000, Chapter M-26, Sections 294, 295 provides the assessor the right to enter on and inspect the property to carry out their duties and responsibilities.  You may view the full legislation from Alberta Municipal Affairs.

If you would like assistance in navigating the Assessment website or explaining the assessment, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (403) 529-8114 or drop by our office at City Hall, 580 First Street SE.