Recently, Municipal Affairs sent a notice to Chief Administrative Officers and Designated Assessors announcing that changes to the Community Organization Property Tax Exemption Regulation (COPTER) will take effect no earlier than the 2020 property tax year.
COPTER, which falls under the Municipal Governance Act (MGA), sets out the conditions and qualifications for property tax exemptions provided to non-profit organizations that carry out a charitable or benevolent purpose for the benefit of the general public. In July 2017, Municipal Affairs released proposed changes that would re-organize the regulation and alter many definitions with the intent of improving clarity. However, AUMA and the Alberta Assessors Association noted significant concerns with the proposed changes regarding ambiguity in definitions and the classification of various organizations, which would have resulted in significant challenges in implementing the new regulation.
In response, the province agreed to delay implementation and carry out further engagement with assessors and municipal associations and the Cities of Edmonton and Calgary. AUMA has participated in the process with the assistance of Brennen Tipton, Manager of Residential Assessment from Strathcona County. Given the complexity and technical nature of the regulation, delay in the implementation is welcome and AUMA looks forward to continued discussions on solutions.