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Property taxes in Calgary: a cautionary tale

For years we have been warning Mayor and Councils across Alberta about the dangers of rising business property taxes and over-spending taxpayers’ money. 

And for years, our warnings fell on deaf ears at Calgary City Hall. That is, until the situation came to a boiling point. After finally accepting there was a problem, Calgary’s city council sat down and argued over different approaches to lessen the property tax burden on business owners. But no plan was actually made, and the property tax disaster continued to fester. 

Wake up call for Calgary City Hall 

Businesses like yours faced massive property tax increases. In fact, two out of every three business owners in Calgary saw an increase of at least 10%, while the remaining one-third saw an increase of over 30%. This forced the local business community in Calgary to speak out about the massive increases, demanding the City take action immediately. Several hundred business owners and their families showed up on the steps of City Hall to tell their stories.

In response, City Council hastily pulled together a plan to provide some immediate relief to businesses: a 10% reduction on business’ property tax bills. In addition, Mayor Nenshi agreed to contact the provincial government and insist the property tax system be reformed.

Where do we go from here?

If you’re reading this from Calgary, the immediate property tax relief should come as good news. However, your business likely continues to face massive tax bills and if no long-term strategy is developed, unfair property tax bills will continue to plague business owners in the years to come. This is why we are continuing to speak out, and demand sustainable property tax fairness for your business.

If you’re reading this from outside Calgary, you have likely realized that the events which unfolded in Calgary are a warning to your municipality about the dangers of a broken property tax system.

Evidently, we must continue to demand long-term solutions to address the unfair property tax burden on businesses across Alberta. We will make sure your voice is heard!

June 24, 2019

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Topics in this Article: Taxes

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