Property reassessment for the 2010 tax year is now underway to support fairness in property taxation, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Steve Ashton announced today.

“Frequent reassessments are necessary to keep our property tax system equitable,” said Ashton. “While property assessments across the province are increasing, it is important to remember this does not necessarily result in an increase in your property taxes. Usually only properties with above average assessment increases may see a property tax increase.”

All property owners in Manitoba outside of Winnipeg will receive assessment notices in May and June. The notices will provide property owners with updated property assessments, which will come into effect for 2010. The updated assessments will be used by municipalities and school divisions to determine 2010 property taxes.

Properties damaged during 2009 flooding will be inspected this spring by assessors and the assessments will be revised if necessary. Affected property owners will receive an amended assessment notice in the fall.

Property assessments reflect the market value of property at a given point in time. For 2010, property assessments reflect April 1, 2008, market values. Property assessments have increased since the last reassessment in 2006, as the market values of properties have increased and are continuing to increase. Property assessments are used to determine how taxes are divided among property owners. Tax levels are determined by municipalities and school divisions.

To ensure all property owners have access to information about their assessments, public open houses in 99 communities across the province will give Manitobans the opportunity to meet an assessor and to discuss their new assessments. Dates, times and locations of the open houses will be provided with the assessment notices. Factors used in the statistical calculations to produce new assessments include location, size, shape, replacement cost, age, condition, soil productivity, average selling prices and sales of similar properties in the same area.

Assessment notices are being mailed in advance of the 2010 tax year, to give property owners more time to review their new assessment and, if necessary, discuss it with an assessor. This ensures that municipalities and school divisions will have a more stable assessment base for their 2010 budgeting purposes.

“The Manitoba government continues to reduce property taxes across the province,” the minister said. “The Manitoba Education Property Tax Credit for homeowners has increased to $650 in 2009, and since 2006, homeowners no longer pay the Education Support Levy.”

As well, the Farmland School Tax Rebate was increased to 75 per cent in 2009, reducing the amount of school taxes paid by farmers, and in 2009, the province strengthened the Tax Incentive Grant to help school divisions hold the line on property taxes, Ashton said.

For further information about the 2010 reassessment, visit Manitoba Assessment online at http://web5.gov.mb.ca/public/default.aspx.