December 12, 2019

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Triple whammy hits homes

Property-tax bills arrive in mail this week

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/5/2012 (2767 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

RoseAnna Schick wasn't prepared for the sticker shock.

The Riverview resident opened her mail on Monday to see that her 2012 municipal taxes went up by $445 from the previous year — a 17 per cent increase. While Schick said she was aware of the 3.5 per cent property-tax hike and the increase in the education levy, she couldn't believe how much extra she has to pay.

City of Winnipeg tax bill for 2012

City of Winnipeg tax bill for 2012

"You hear about the tax increase being a small percentage, you hear about the education tax levies being a small percentage, and then when I calculated my tax bill, it went up 17 per cent," she said. "That's not really a small increase. I'm shocked."

Schick warned other Winnipeg homeowners to brace themselves for a triple whammy this year: a property and school tax hike the same year as a general reassessment.

On Friday, the city put 215,000 real estate tax bills in the mail and residents started to receive their statements on Monday. This year, city council ended a 14-year tax freeze and raised property taxes 3.5 per cent, which will cost the average homeowner anywhere from $48 to $60.

The tax hike coincides with a general reassessment. The city assesses the market value of residential and commercial properties every two years. Officials use 45 per cent of a home's market value to calculate how much is owing in property tax.

City assessor Nelson Karpa said the average Winnipeg home's value increased 13 per cent in the 2012 assessment. Any homeowner whose property's value increased more than the city-wide average will likely pay more than an additional 3.5 per cent in property taxes this year, he said.

At the same time, school divisions across the province raised school taxes. The Winnipeg School Division saw the largest overall increase, at 7.8 per cent, which means a homeowner whose property is assessed at $150,000 can expect to pay an additional $76.

"I guess it's unusual in the fact that it's the first time in my period here that we've had the distributive effect of the reassessment at the same time as a tax increase," said Karpa, who noted the city has no control over school tax increases.

Schick said her small bungalow increased in value by $25,000 from the previous year. She lives within Winnipeg School Division boundaries and will pay an additional $256 in school taxes this year.

"I think people should brace themselves for a shock, because I never expected the increase to be this much," Schick said.

"It is going to be a tough year for people, considering my bill went up $445 and my home is an average bungalow in a small neighbourhood. I can't imagine (the bills) some people are looking at."

Karpa said 700 of the 5,000 calls Winnipeg's 311 hotline received on Monday were questions about property taxes.

So far, he said, most callers want to know when they have to pay their taxes and whether they can still enroll in a monthly payment plan. He said 311 staff have been armed with information to answer any incoming questions about tax increases.

"We have prepared our staff to speak to that," Karpa said.

jen.skerritt@freepress.mb.ca

Three possible increases

Property-tax hike: The 3.5 per cent hike means the average homeowner will pay an additional $48 to $60 a year.

General reassessment: The average Winnipeg home's value increased 13 per cent in the 2012 assessment. Any homeowner whose property value increased more than the city-wide average will likely pay more than an additional 3.5 per cent in property taxes this year.

School taxes: Winnipeg School Division — the largest in the province — saw the largest increase, at 7.8 per cent. The increase will cost $76 on the tax bill of an average home assessed at $150,000.

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