Tax Recovery Process
The Municipal Government Act (MGA) regulates the tax recovery process for municipalities. Within the MGA, Part 10, there are three divisions that outline the tax recovery process for different types of property:
- Division 8 – Recovery of Taxes Relating to Land;
- Division 8.1 – Recovery of Taxes Relating to Designated Manufactured Homes; and
- Division 9 – Recovery of Taxes Not Relating to Land
For this section, the tax recovery process will be specifically for the recovery of taxes relating to land (Division 8):
- Each year, Vulcan County must, not later than March 31, prepare a list of all parcels of land that are more than one year in arrears and forward to the Registrar at the Land Titles Office. A Tax Recovery Notification will be registered on the Certificate of Title. A Tax Notification Fee will be added to the tax roll account. Section 326 (c) of the MGA defines “tax arrears” as “taxes that remain unpaid after December 31 of the year in which they are imposed.” Taxes are in arrears if they are unpaid as of January 1 of the year following the year in which they were imposed. Section 332 states that taxes imposed are deemed to have been imposed on January 1.
- Once a Tax Recovery Notification has been endorsed on the Certificate of Title, the person who is liable to pay the taxes must not remove any improvements for which taxes can be levied and for which that person is responsible without the approval of the municipality. Anyone can pay the tax arrears owing against the property and Vulcan County will discharge the Tax Recovery Notification.
- Once the Registrar has endorsed the Tax Recovery Notification he or she must, not later than August 1, send a notice to the owner of the parcel of land, to any person who has an interest registered against the parcel, and to each owner of an encumbrance as shown on the Certificate of Title. The notice must state that if the tax arrears are not paid by March 31 of the following year the municipality will offer the parcel for sale at public auction, and the municipality may become the owner of the parcel if it is not sold at public auction.
- If the tax arrears are not paid by March 31 of the following year, Vulcan County will offer the parcel for sale at public auction and may become the owner of the parcel if it is not sold at public auction.
- Vulcan County must offer for sale at a public auction any lands with tax arrears that are shown on its tax arrears list. Discharge of Tax Recovery Notification will not be sent to Land Titles until the arrears and penalties are paid in full.
- Vulcan County must establish a reserve selling price before it can auction a property. The reserve bid is set at a level that is as close as reasonably possible to the market value of the parcel.
- Vulcan County must advertise the public auction in the Alberta Gazette and one local newspaper. The information in the advertisement must specify the date, time and location of the auction and a description of each parcel of land to be offered for sale. The advertisement must also include any terms and conditions of the sale. Up to the date of the public auction anyone can pay the tax arrears owing against the property and Vulcan County will discharge the Tax Recovery Notification.
- Vulcan County hosts a public auction on the date set by Council, in which, any parcels of land included in the listing that have not been discharged from the Tax Recovery Notification will be available for public auction with the set reserve selling price.
- Should the parcels of land not be sold at the public auction, Vulcan County may cancel the existing title for the parcel of land and issue a certificate of title in the name of the County. A Tax Forfeiture will be registered on the Certificate of Title. The County will then have the ability to sell the parcel of land at any time after being registered on Title.
The following is a timeline of the tax recovery process relating to land: