In February, Property Valuation Services Corporation (PVSC) – an agency of Nova Scotia Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing – distributes property assessments which indicates the value of your property that is the basis for your municipal taxes. If you feel there is a discrepancy in your assessment you have 30 days to appeal from a date on your assessment, to submit an appeal. NSFA encourages you to pay close attention to your assessment notice as the window to appeal is short. If you do not meet this deadline, you will be required to pay your tax bill and not be able to appeal again until the following year.
Why do we bring this up? As you know, active farm land in Nova Scotia is subject to 0% taxation. Sometimes, particularly forage land, the rate category gets changed from farmland to resource. This may happen for a few different reasons, but if you are in fact still farming the land, you will likely be interested in appealing.
How is your property taxed?
The PID isn’t taxed as “one unit”; PVSC considered the multiple uses of the property. Is there a house? Farm land? Large wetland for forest? PVSC using imagery to allocate percentage to each “use” of the property. It’s also important to remember that the municipality is taxing your building, not what is “in” it. For example, if you are building a new barn so you can improve efficiency, the farm equipment you install isn’t taxable, just the building itself. If the municipality or PVSC reach out for more details so they can better prepare your tax assessment, you’ll want to make sure you give them the right values.
A note on resource land:
Resource land is taxed at $0.25 per acre. This is substantially lower than commercial industrial and residential rates. If a section of your farming property isn’t farmable (too wet, etc.) or hasn’t been farmed in quite some time and is starting to grow up, that section of your property ma be subject to resource rate.
NSFA is continuing our advocacy to protect agriculture land for new entrants and growing farms in such a way that doesn’t negatively impact farmers’ investment in a parcel of land and by providing incentives to keep agriculture land in production. These include supporting county federations with Municipal Planning Strategies, improving the application of the 0% taxation on land and exploring avenues to establish a land bank in Nova Scotia.