Morinville sits at the top when it comes to tax fairness, according to a Canadian Federation of Independent Business report released on Sept. 13.
The annual Property Tax Gap Report breaks down residential and commercial property tax rates across Alberta municipalities. Of the 87 municipalities in the report, Morinville is the only municipality that charges an equal mill rate for both residential and commercial.
Lisa Holmes, mayor of Morinville, says the town approved an equal mill rate to encourage businesses to set up shop in Morinville.
“It gives them an opportunity to not pay as much tax and we were hoping that that would show that we’re open for business,” she says.
Holmes noted that over the years Morinville has felt a steady increase in new businesses opening in town.
The report lists 87 municipalities, starting at one for the most fair and 87 for the least fair.
Holmes says she’s pleased that Morinville came in at number one for tax fairness.
“I think it’s fantastic. It shows that we’ve been really thoughtful about what we do in regards to taxes and our community, and I hope that businesses see it and choose to make Morinville their home.”
She added that she doesn’t know whether tax rates will stay the same in the future.
St. Albert is ranked number 16, with commercial owners paying $1.40 for every $1 residential owners pay.
Sturgeon County is listed with the highest tax gap in the capital region, with commercial owners paying $2.82 for every $1.00 residential owners pay. The county is number 63 on the list.
Edmonton scored second for highest tax rates in the capital region, with commercial owners paying $2.75 for every $1 residential owners pay.
According to the report, a municipality with a tax gap that is greater than one to one indicates the tax system favours residential property. The municipal taxes in the report are based on $100,000 of assessed property.
A tax gap of less than one to one indicates favourable treatment towards commercial businesses, the report says.
The federation is calling on the government to reduce the tax gap through restraint in municipal spending.
In addition, the organization is asking the province to continue rejecting proposals for increased taxation.
They’re also calling on the government to cap the tax gap at a ration of 2:1, instead of 5:1 where it currently sits.
Amber Ruddy, director of provincial affairs in the organization, said in a news release that candidates running in the upcoming election should let small business owners know where they stand on commercial versus residential taxes.