How to Pay Your Property Taxes in Calgary: Payment Options, Deadlines, Penalties & More

How Do I Pay My Property Taxes in Calgary?

Paying property taxes is a crucial responsibility for homeowners in Calgary, contributing to the city's infrastructure, public services, and community amenities. Understanding the process can seem daunting, especially for new property owners. To demystify the procedure, here are the essential steps to ensure you can pay property taxes in Calgary in a timely manner. Learn more about various payment options, key deadlines, and useful tips to avoid penalties and make the process smoother.

Payment Options

When it comes to settling your property taxes in Calgary, you've got several options. 

  • Pay in person
  • Use the 24-hour deposit box
  • Mail your payment
  • Sign up for the monthly Tax Instalment Payment Plan (TIPP)
  • Pay through your bank
  • Pay through your mortgage lender (PIT)

To pay your taxes, you’ll need your property’s roll number, a 9-digit number that appears on your property tax bill or statement. If you need a copy to check your roll number, you can request your property tax documents online for free and receive them by email, mail, or picked up in person—just note that it may take up to seven days, so don’t wait until the last minute.

The roll number is attached to the property, not the owner; if you sell your property, your new property won’t have the same roll number. If you own multiple properties, you’ll have multiple roll numbers.

City Cashiers

There are several ways to pay your property taxes in Calgary, and one convenient option is to make payments in person at the Corporate Cashiers counters located on the third floor of the Calgary Municipal Building.

Open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, the City Cashiers accept cash, debit cards (within daily withdrawal limits), and cheques or money orders. The week prior to the due date is a busy time, so paying earlier is better.

If you're paying by a post-dated cheque in order to pay early, ensure it's dated on or before the property tax due date.

24-Hour Deposit Box

If you can't make it to the City Cashiers during regular hours, don't worry; Calgary offers a 24-hour deposit box for property tax payments, located at street level near the Calgary Municipal Building east entrance (facing the library). This is a convenient option if you're unable to attend in person. Your payments are processed on the next business day, helping you meet tax deadlines and avoid late penalties. You must deposit prior to midnight of the due date to meet the payment deadline.

Rules of the 24-hour deposit box include:

  • Do not deposit cash
  • Cheques and money orders should be payable to “The City of Calgary”
  • Cheques must be dated on or before the due date (including post-dated cheques)
  • Enclose the remittance portion of your bill in an envelope
  • Write the property roll number(s) on your cheque
  • The city is not responsible for errors or omissions in the cheque information

By Mail

City of Calgary Mailing Address to Pay Property Taxes

To pay your property tax in Calgary through the mail, you'll need to send a cheque or money order to the City's designated mailing address:

The City of Calgary (#8044)

Assessment & Tax

P.O. Box 2405, Station M

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

T2P 3L9

Remember to include your roll number on the cheque to ensure the payment gets applied to the correct property tax account.

Rules of paying by mail are the same as paying with the deposit box. However, the effective date of mailed payments is the date of the Canada Post postmark. If the postmark is illegible or missing, the effective date is the date received. Be proactive and mail your payment in advance to ensure it reaches the City before the due date.

You can pay your property taxes this way even if you’re outside Canada or using U.S. funds. In the former case, you should make a money order in Canadian funds or by a cheque from a Canadian bank. In the latter case, funds can be drawn either from a Canadian bank U.S. dollar account or an American bank, and the exchange rate on the date of deposit will apply. Do be aware that if fluctuations in the exchange rate or collection fees cause payment to be insufficient, you’ll pay penalties on any unpaid tax.

This option provides a convenient way to pay your property tax from the comfort of your home.

Tax Instalment Payment Plan (TIPP)

Consider using Calgary's highly popular Tax Instalment Payment Plan (TIPP) if you'd like to spread your property tax payments over the year instead of a lump sum. This can help manage your budget more effectively and mitigate the risk of late payment penalties. You can even manage multiple properties’ payments this way, though you’ll need separate agreements for each. (Multiple agreements using the same banking information will be combined into one transaction, however; this is to reduce your withdrawal fees.)

To enrol, request a TIPP agreement online. You’ll need your roll number and banking information. Online enrolment is instantaneous, but if it can’t be processed, a physical agreement can be sent by mail. During May and June, things are busy, so it may take up to a week for the agreement to be mailed, and you’ll have to return it by a specified date.

Enrolment is free, and you'll enjoy automatic yearly renewals. TIPP payments will be withdrawn on the first day of each month. If your property tax is adjusted during the year, your monthly instalments may also change; if so, you’ll receive a notification by mail.

Do be aware that if your property taxes are currently part of your mortgage, you’ll need to contact your mortgage lender before joining TIPP. Also, if you own a Calgary new construction home that has never been billed before, you’ll have to use an alternative payment method, as TIPP’s monthly charges are based on the most recent tax amount. If you have outstanding tax arrears or penalties, you’ll also have to pay those off before you can enrol.

Mortgage PIT (Principal, Interest, and Tax)

If you pay PIT to your mortgage lender, your property taxes are included in your mortgage payments. Nevertheless, you’ll receive a property tax bill. However, your lender’s name will appear on the bill as the company being invoiced. The bill you receive is simply for your own records.

If your lender’s name doesn’t appear on your bill even though you’re paying PIT, contact your lender immediately. The lender must contact the City of Calgary to register their financial interest in your property; otherwise, they can’t receive invoices to pay on your behalf.

If your lender’s name appears on your bill, even though they’re no longer responsible for your payments, you, as the homeowner, are responsible for making the payment.

Paying Through Your Bank

How to Pay Calgary Property Taxes Through Your Bank

Most chartered banks, trust companies, credit unions, and Alberta Treasury branches have a way to set up property tax payments. You can even pay at the ATM after you’ve set up Calgary Property Tax as a payee.

In your bank account’s bill payment profile, search “Calgary property tax” and choose whichever payee option is closest to “Calgary Property Tax.” The account number is the same as the roll number—if you’ve changed properties since your last payment, be sure the current number is correct.

If you own multiple properties, each property should be registered and paid separately. Otherwise, you may encounter a $25 Payment Alignment fee. You can also encounter this fee if you accidentally pay using a previous property’s roll number.

The effective date and time of payment can vary, so be sure to inquire with your specific financial institution. It’s a good idea to pay at least three business days before the property tax due date in order to meet the deadline. Keep your receipt as proof of date and time of payment.

Can You Use a Credit Card to Pay Property Tax in Calgary?

You can't directly use a credit card to pay your property tax. However, some third-party providers in Canada do offer this service.

The city does not endorse these providers and cautions that homeowners are responsible for the payment being received by the due date, regardless of whether they paid a third party to transfer funds on their behalf. If the third party doesn’t transfer funds on time, you’re on the hook for the penalties.

In addition, these providers charge additional transaction fees, unlike other payment methods on this list.

Using your credit card could also incur additional charges, so it's crucial to weigh all potential costs and the options available to you before deciding.

Due Dates & Penalties For Late Payment

Calgary Property Tax Due Date

Calgary property taxes are mailed in May and due at the end of June. However, the tax period is from January 1st to December 31st.

So, what happens if you miss the June 30th deadline for your property taxes in Calgary? You're hit with penalties, and these additional charges can add up quickly. Once July 1st rolls around, unpaid balances incur a 7% penalty on outstanding taxes. This isn't a one-time charge, either. If there are still taxes unpaid on October 1st, you’re hit with another 7% penalty on your current year’s outstanding balance.

Things get worse if you have unpaid taxes from the previous year. After December 31st, unpaid taxes transform into tax arrears, and on the first day of every month (including January 1st), you’re hit with a 1% penalty on your arrears balance.

As you make payments, they’re applied first to your arrears penalties, then your arrears, then your current penalties, and only then to your current taxes.

 If you don’t receive a property tax bill, be aware that you’re still responsible for paying your property taxes; if you haven’t received a bill by the beginning of June, contact the City of Calgary.

Timely payment of your property taxes is crucial to avoid these penalties. It's not just about avoiding fees, though. Consistently late or missed payments can lead to legal actions, which can further complicate your financial situation.

When a property has tax arrears for more than one year (not counting the current year’s taxes), your property will have a lien placed on it, and your property can be sold by the City of Calgary at a public auction to recover the unpaid balance. You can still pay before this annual auction, and if you do so, the city will discharge the lien, allowing you to keep the property. If you’re unable to pay your property taxes due to your financial situation, there are multiple property tax assistance programs you may be eligible for.

Penalties Outside the City of Calgary

The aforementioned penalties are set forth by Bylaw 8M2002 and only apply to homes in Calgary. If you own property in Rocky Hills County or Foothills County, you’ll have different penalty rates.

Penalties in Rocky View County:

  • On July 1st, September 1st, and November 1st, you’ll be hit by a 4% penalty on unpaid taxes for the current year.
  • On January 1st, you’re on the hook for a 12% penalty on your tax arrears.

This includes cities such as Cochrane, Airdrie, Springbank, and Chestermere.

Penalties in Foothills County:

  • On October 2nd, you’ll be liable for a 6% penalty on unpaid taxes for the current year.
  • On January 1st, you’ll be liable for a 12% penalty on your tax arrears.

This includes communities such as Priddis Greens, De Winton, and Okotoks.

Penalties When You’ve Already Paid

If you believe your payment was made on time, but you’ve received a penalty, contact your bank and request documentation for the date, amount, and roll number associated with the payment you made. You’ll need an electronic copy of your payment receipt, such as a bank statement, bank transaction receipt, or an ATM receipt. The receipt should show the payee, the roll number/account number, the account paid, and the payment date.

You can submit your proof of payment online; be sure to remove sensitive information such as your bank account number before uploading the documents.

To avoid accidental late payments, best practice is to pay a minimum of several business days in advance. Various payment methods can result in later payments than you intend; bank payments may take a few days to process, illegible postmarks use the date received instead of the date posted, etc.

How to Request a Property Tax Refund

If you've overpaid your property taxes or there's been an adjustment to the tax amount, you may be eligible for a refund. The City of Calgary acknowledges these situations and provides a way for registered property owners to reclaim their excess payments, both through a secure online form or by phone call.

If you have a credit on your property tax account, you’ll be sent a Property Tax Reminder Notice telling you so. All you have to do is sign, scan, and upload the notice.

If you have reason to believe you’re owed a refund for a different reason, scan and upload a written request that includes your name, phone number, location address, roll number, and the amount you’re owed.

Property Tax Assistance Program

What If I Can't Pay My Property Taxes in Calgary?

In the face of financial hardship, Calgary's Property Tax Assistance Program offers a lifeline, providing subsidies to low-income homeowners struggling to pay their property taxes. If you're finding it tough to meet your tax obligations, this program can be a real game-changer. It's designed to aid those having difficulties, ensuring they can maintain ownership of their homes without the looming threat of unpaid taxes.

To benefit from this program, you'll need to apply annually and meet certain criteria. There are income and property value requirements to consider, so you'll need to make sure you qualify before applying. It's not a one-size-fits-all solution, but it's there to help those who need it most.

Eligibility criteria are similar to the Fair Entry requirements and include:

  • You meet residency and income guidelines
  • You own your place of residence
  • You’ve owned your place of residence for at least one year
  • You don’t own any other residential property in the city of Calgary
  • Your property taxes have increased from the previous year

The subsidy you receive can significantly reduce your financial strain, making it easier for you to manage your tax payments. The exact amount will vary based on your circumstances, but every little bit helps when you're facing financial difficulties.

Even if you don’t meet the requirements for property tax assistance, by applying you may be able to access other resources.

Do be aware that applying doesn’t change your property tax obligations. While the program typically opens on June 1st, it can take four to six weeks for applications to be processed due to the large volume of applications. This could result in penalties if you wait to see if your application is approved.

Senior Property Tax Deferral

If you’re a senior, you might also be eligible for the Alberta Seniors Property Tax Deferral Program. Through this program, qualifying seniors can defer all or part of their property taxes by taking a low-interest home equity loan. The program will pay the property taxes directly to the city on your behalf.

Eligibility is not based on income; instead, you must be an Alberta resident who is at least 65 years old (if a married couple, only one spouse needs to meet the age requirement), own a primary residence in Alberta, and have a minimum of 25% equity in your home. You can even apply for this program if you owe tax arrears.

Only residential properties are eligible for this program, but this includes manufactured homes on property you own, residential portions of farmland, and residential portions of commercial property.

The application deadline is 30 days before the tax deadline. This allows the application to be processed and paid without accruing late payment penalties. Your deferment loan can last up to 10 years without you having to reapply.

Ready to Pay Your Property Taxes?

That's all there's to it! Now you're well-equipped to handle your Calgary property tax payments. Luckily, Calgary charges some of the lowest property taxes in Alberta, so you’re in a good position. Remember to mark June 30th on your calendar and consider the TIPP for manageable monthly payments.

Are you ready to move to Calgary? Call The Justin Havre Real Estate Team with eXp Realty at (403) 217-0003 to talk with a local real estate agent who can help you discover your dream Calgary home.

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