Property Tax Assessment! - May 12, 2011- Talking Points

Such a freeze violates three basic taxation principles of
1)               Raising Revenue By not allowing assessments to rise with market values, this will increase pressure on municipalities to raise the tax rate to compensate for this lost revenue.

2)               Fairness Some seniors will benefit from frozen assessments whether they need the assistance or not while other seniors and all non-seniors will face even higher taxes whether they can afford them or not.

3)               Efficiency  will be compromised as administration costs increase to reflect the extra work to determine who is eligible for frozen assessments.  Piecemeal changes are not meaningful, they only target certain constituencies

4)               Seniors who rent will continue to face increased assessments, double taxation, and now the greater likelihood of an increased tax rate. non-seniors (renters and home owners alike) will face higher assessments plus the likely  of higher tax rate.

5)               Ages of home owners will have to be collected and built into the system. Couples who jointly own a home may or may not qualify if one is a senior and one is not yet a senior. Age based assessment, freeze would exclude working families on low income.

6)               Should provide a means test to provide tax holiday for those who need it. Age is not a financial measure, so income should be used. Age specific tax break doesn’t address the broader issue of need.

7)               Cities and municipalities are limited  how they can raise money. Don’t know what the financial implication will be, cuts for sure to services. Does this mean that eventually they will not be able to continue providing certain services as the populations currently enjoys?

8)               NB does not collect data on date of birth, no way of knowing how many seniors own property and how much revenue municipalities stand to lose.

9)               What about a property jointly owned by a senior parent and a non-senior adult child? (2) What happens in the case of a death in these circumstances?

10)           When a homeowner turns 65, is his/her assessment frozen for the full year in which the birthday occurs, at the beginning of the next year or prorated over the birthday year?

11)           It costs money to track all these factors and ensure the intended discrimination is enforced.

12)           The promised assessment freeze is not the best way to target assistance to New Brunswickers who are really in need .

13)           Low income seniors NB  - 55,384 that received GIS, OAS 116,794. Some 119,000 seniors in New Brunswick are 65 and over, and the numbers are growing. This could represent important loss of revenue for New Brunswick municipalities.

14)           New Brunswick has a wealthy population 65 years of age and over and one which can afford to pay its taxes. Working families should not be subsidizing their property tax.  Tax burden transferred on young families, small business, tenants and families.

Coalition Policy
1.       The government encourages seniors to live in their homes as long as possible to continue to foster independency and seniors on fixed incomes are taxed the same as fully employed tax payers.

2.       Seniors receiving an income of $20,000 or less currently receive a $200 reduction in their property tax.
Currently Provided
4.       That the low-income property tax allowance be improved to provide:
·         A $300 benefit to households with total taxable incomes up to $22,000;
·         A $200 benefit to household with taxable incomes between $22,000 and $25,000; and
·         A $100 benefit to households with total incomes between $25,000 and $30,000.
5.       That the property tax for seniors 65 years and over be based on taxable income.