What is property taxation?
A system of taxation that requires lessees, owners or occupiers of land and buildings to pay an amount of money based on the value of their land and buildings. Everyone who owns or occupies property, including individuals, businesses and industry pays property tax.
Why do we have to pay property tax?
Like most other taxes, property tax is imposed by government to generate money for a public purpose. It is compulsory and enforceable by law.
Paying property tax means helping to pay for services, the funding for which is provided by the GNWT or municipality such as:
- fire protection;
- garbage pick-up;
- law enforcement;
- protective services;
- recreation; and
- general government services.
How is property tax calculated?
Property tax is calculated by multiplying the assessed value by the mill rate.
What is a property’s assessed value?
Property assessment is the process used to assign a value to all property in the Northwest Territories. Consistent guidelines and techniques allow property assessors to ensure that similar kinds of property are assessed the same way and that assessed values for each property are fair and equitable.
Only land and improvements are assessed. Improvements include buildings, mobile units, pipelines, works and transmission lines. Personal property such as jewelry, cars, televisions and other personal possessions are not assessed.
How is property assessed?
A property assessor determines the value of each property by reviewing the land and the improvements on it. Assessors follow guidelines established by law in the Property Assessment and Taxation Act and its Regulations. These guidelines ensure that all assessments in the NWT are fair and equitable.
The total assessed value of your property is based on the value of your land and of the improvements on your land. Land value in the GTA is based on land development costs. Land development costs include such things as the cost of building new roads and providing services such as water, sewer and electricity to this lot. GNWT regulations provide guidelines for determining land developments costs in each region of the NWT.
Improvements are assessed a value that is equal to two thirds of the depreciated replacement cost of a new improvement. Property assessors consider a number of factors when assessing including age, size, type of structure, quality of materials, design, and general condition and others.
What is the mill rate?
The mill rate is the rate at which annual tax is payable for each $1,000 of assessed value. The Minister of Finance sets the mill rate each year for each class of property in the General Taxation Area. For more information, see:
Does a higher assessment mean I will have to pay more taxes?
Not necessarily. In years when there is a general property assessment, the mill rate often goes down.
How do I know how much tax I have to pay?
Every year the government mails a tax notice to each assessed owner listed on the assessment roll.
Can I question or complain about my property assessment?
Yes. Your notice of assessment will explain how to do this.
What is the General Taxation Area?
It consists of the entire Northwest Territories except communities designated as cities, towns or villages, which are municipal taxation areas. For more information, see:
How often are properties assessed in the General Taxation Area?
General Property Assessments must be carried out at least every nine years.
Annual Property Assessments are carried out every year to assess:
- buildings which have been constructed;
- mobile units which have been installed on a parcel of land, removed or destroyed; or
- any other improvements or alterations, which would affect the assessed value.
Annual property assessments are carried out every year to assess any changes to the land, which affect its value. Between General Assessments, the value of the land and improvements for taxation purposes remains at the last assessed value.
How often can property taxes change?
They can change each year when the mill rate is set, or whenever there is a new assessment.
Do people who rent property have to pay property tax?
Renters pay their share of property taxes through the rent paid to their landlords. It is the landlord's responsibility to pay the tax.
Are any properties in the NWT exempt from the property tax?
Certain land, improvements and mobile units in the general taxation area are exempt from property taxes. For more information, refer to the Tax Exemption Order.
Does the government of the NWT offer any relief to property owners?
The Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons Property Tax Relief Act offers tax relief to property owners who are 65 or older.
Who can I speak with to get more information about NWT property taxes?
If you own property in the NWT's General Taxation Area, or plan to own property in it, you may get more information from the contacts provided below.
Property Assessment from Assessment Section, Department of Municipal and Community Affairs, P.O. Box 1320, Yellowknife, N.W.T, X1A 2L9, (867) 920-3023, or (867) 873-7563.
Property Taxation: from Tax Administration Section, Department of Finance, P.O. Box 1320, Yellowknife, N.W.T, X1A 2L9, (867) 767-9244 or Toll-Free at 1-800-661-0820
Tax Relief Programs: from Municipal Affairs Division, Department of Municipal and Community Affairs, P.O. Box 1320, Yellowknife, X1A 2L9, (867) 920-6303.