Property tax reform bill introduced

The Alward government has introduced a bill to overhaul the property tax system in the province.

Changes for homeowners, landlords, businesses

The Alward government has introduced a bill to overhaul the property tax system in the province.

The Property Tax Reform Act would make the system more fair, equitable and transparent, according to Environment and Local Government Minister Bruce Fitch, who introduced the legislation on Wednesday.

Under the proposed changes, homeowners would be offered "spike protection" from annual assessment increases of more than 10 per cent, Fitch stated in a release.

Anyone who benefitted from the previous three-per-cent cap would be able to keep that savings until they sell their home, he said.

The cap, which was introduced two years ago, is being eliminated.

"These measures are the result of the conversations we have had during the extensive consultation process," Fitch said.

"I am pleased we have taken this step to fulfilling our commitment to make a fairer and more effective property tax system."

Homeowners would also be given the option of paying their property taxes monthly instead of in one annual lump sum under the changes that were announced in September.

People who own rental properties would see their property taxes cut by 33.4 cents per $100 of assessed value over four years. Fitch has said landlords will not be forced to pass those savings along to tenants.

Meanwhile, businesses would see their property taxes drop by 33 cents per $100 of assessed value over four years.

The provincial levy in local service districts and rural communities that do not provide policing service would be reduced by 22 cents over four years, said Fitch.

Libraries would be exempt from provincial and municipal property taxes, he said.