A parcel is any designated area of land that does not include a
highway. For example, a house and yard represent one parcel.
Local governments can charge taxes against each parcel as one method
of recovering its costs.
A parcel tax can be imposed on the basis of a single amount for each parcel; the taxable
area of a parcel; and the taxable frontage of the parcel. The bylaws required to establish
a parcel tax scheme must identify the service; state the basis and specify the years for which
the tax is imposed. In addition, they must establish how the taxable area or the taxable frontage
of a given property is determined. A municipality must make available to the public, on
request, a report respecting how the amounts or rates were determined.
Parcel taxes are often used instead of, or in conjunction with, user fees
to recover the costs of providing local government services. They can be levied on
any property that has the opportunity to be provided with a service
regardless of whether or not the service is being used. For
instance, if a septic system is being used on a property but a sewer
system is available in the neighbourhood, the parcel could still be
charged a parcel tax for
the sewer service on the basis that the parcel could be connected to
the sewer system in the future. If the property cannot be serviced
by the sewer, the charge
cannot be applied.
A special assessment listing, or roll, must be created before a
parcel tax can be imposed. The assessment listing or roll lists the parcels to be
charged and includes the name and address of the owners of each parcel.
Once it has been completed, the roll must be available for public
inspection. If requested by an owner, the local government must
omit or obscure the address of the owner or other information about
the owner in order to protect their privacy or security.
A review panel must be formed by the local government to consider any
complaints about the roll and to authenticate it. A person can make
a complaint to the review panel on the basis that there is an error
or omission with regard to a name or address, the inclusion of a
parcel, the taxable area or frontage, or that an exemption has been
improperly allowed or disallowed. Owners are sent a notice of
the date set for the sitting of the review panel.
A parcel tax can only be applied to properties that may receive a
particular service. It cannot be used to recover costs such as
general local government administration costs. A parcel tax scheme provides
local governments with options in addition to the ability to recover
its costs from a variable tax rate
system which is based on the assessed value of land and/or