Canmore raises property tax for non-residential tourist homes

The Town of Canmore is raising property taxes for people who own homes and rent them to tourists without living there.

The move puts short-term rentals in line with commercial businesses

Tourists and locals mingle in Canmore, Alta., in a file photo from 2021. The mountain town is now one of the fastest growing small urban centers in Canada, according to recent census data. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

The Town of Canmore is raising property taxes for people who own homes and rent them to tourists without living there themselves.

There are more than 600 tourist homes in the town, with most of those now to be taxed the same as a commercial enterprise.

The change was made at a council meeting on Tuesday, voted for unanimously by the town's council.

"Because those residences are able to be utilized for short-term rentals, it's essentially a business," said Mayor Sean Krausert.

"If you weren't using it for personal use, which you can declare, those not for personal use will be taxed like a business," said Krausert.

Canmore is seeing an upswing in the number of vacation homes purchased by foreign owners due to the low Canadian dollar. This is a 2016 file photo. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Those homes were already being taxed at a higher rate: 2.9 times the residential rate.

That's now been increased to 3.1 times the residential rate. Krausert says it averages out at an increase of around $200 per year.

"Less than 20 dollars a month is a very small amount of the rent that you can get for a tourist home, for someone to come and live in it short-term. It's more the principle of the matter," he said.

"It creates a similar playing field so that hotel rooms and short-term rentals are taxed at the same rate," he added.

One councillor, Wade Graham, says the feedback he's received suggests the increase could have been a lot higher.

"The feedback I got from a lot of members in the community is we didn't go far enough," Graham said during the council meeting on Tuesday. 

Krausert says the changes will be reflected in the next tax bills that go out.


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