Your Catholic taxes for your Catholic schools
Education property tax provides an integral connection between Catholic school boards and their electors.
Catholic schools fulfill an essential element in the mission of the Church, by offering formation of the whole person – academically, physically, socially and spiritually. In providing this formation, Catholic school boards have a commitment to ensuring a strong connection with Catholic electors in their communities.
Catholic education is funded through education property taxes, grants and general provincial revenue. However, in the fall of 2005, a bill introduced in the Alberta Legislature to eliminate the education property tax raised concerns for Catholic school boards. The bill did not make it further than First Reading, but gained highly-publicized support from prominent individuals, as well as the provincial associations representing many of your locally elected town, county, municipal and city councils.
With such support, it is likely the issue will rise again. As a Catholic elector, you need to be aware of your right to support your Catholic schools through your property taxes. The Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Association (ACSTA) firmly believes that the education property tax provides a vital connection between Catholic separate school boards and you, their electors. Catholic boards requisition municipalities for education property taxes and do so for sound sociological, denominational and political reasons.
When this discussion reaches your local community, speak out for your faith-based schools and your right to support them with your local taxes. Three critical reasons why Catholic separate boards requisition municipalities for education taxes:
- It recognizes and affirms the constitutional right of Catholic separate school boards to requisition municipalities for education taxes.
- Taxation is a vital connection between school boards and their electors. It serves as a means of accountability for school trustees to provide quality education to those in their local communities, including those without school-aged children.
- It provides a stable source of funding for public education and allows for a public declaration of support by electors for Catholic education.
Declare your support
Taxes declared in support of the Catholic separate school district in your municipality benefit your children. The Constitution Acts of Canada and the Alberta School Act stipulate that individuals who are Catholic must direct their education taxes to Catholic separate school boards where they exist. If a property is jointly owned by two or more individuals of different denominations or faiths, the individuals must direct their taxes to the school boards in proportion to their ownership.
To ensure your property taxes are supporting your Catholic separate school, you must declare your school support as “separate” on your annual property assessment notice and tax bill. If a declaration of school support is not filed by a property owner, the property assessment and tax bills show the school support going to the public school district. If your support designation is incorrect, it should be corrected by completing and submitting a School Support Declaration form, obtained from your local city, town or municipal office.
A change in school support does not take effect until the following calendar year. You may also contact ACSTA at (780) 484-6209 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will assist you in contacting your local Catholic school district for more information.