Government of Nova
gov.ns.caGovernment of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada
Municipal Affairs
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Indicator Definitions

Each indicator has a technical definition that describes how it was calculated. The definition explains the meaning of key terminology and what the indicator is measuring. It provides information to consider when interpreting the indicator results and other indicators that measure similar aspects of a municipality's performance.

Select an indicator to display the technical definition:


Residential Tax Effort (%)


4% or less


(Total residential tax revenue ÷ Total dwelling units) ÷ (Median household income)

Technical Definition

Total residential tax revenue: All residential tax revenue including residential area rates and sewer revenue

• For March 31, 2012 to 2014 years: FIR Schedule F – Lines 1011110 and 1011190

• For March 31, 2015 year: FIR Schedule F – Lines 1011110, 1011190 and 1011192

Note: Line 1011190 was newly added for year March 31, 2012. For that year, total area rate revenue [FIR Schedule F: Line 1011180] is multiplied by the ratio of residential to commercial assessment to estimate revenue from residential area rates.

Total dwelling units: Number of dwelling units in the municipality excluding those owned by Department of National Defence and First Nations.

• For March 31, 2012, 2013, and 2014 years: January Filed Roll from PVSC

• For March 31, 2015 year: 3rd Quarter Roll from PVSC

Median household income: The point where 50% of households in a municipality have higher incomes and 50% have lower incomes. Data is suppressed for quality or confidentiality reasons in communities with smaller populations. In the case of some rural municipalities, data is only available at the census subdivision level. In cases where a Municipalities’ data is suppressed for either reason, the county level value is used as an approximation.


This indicator shows how much of an average household’s income is required to pay the average tax bill. This indicator combines two other indicators: residential tax burden and median household income to provide a comparison for relative tax burden rather than simply comparing property tax rates. Measures of tax burden and effort are important so that council can assess the affordability of taxes in relation to service levels when setting a municipality’s budget.


A lower result suggests the municipality may have more flexibility to increase the tax rate.

A higher result suggests that the municipality may have less flexibility to increase the tax rate, if additional revenue is required.

Caution should be used when interpreting this indicator: Apartment buildings’ tax revenue and dwelling units are included in this calculation. This means that the results will vary from the average tax burden of a single family home. Further, when comparing trends over time, data from Municipalities and PVSC are updated annually while data from Statistics Canada is available for Census years only. This means trends will generally exhibit 5 years of growth between Census years, followed by a correction.

Data Source(s)

  • Municipal Financial Information Return (FIR) - General Operating Fund (non-consolidated)
  • Property Valuation Services Corporation (PVSC) data
  • Statistics Canada National Household Survey

Related Indicator(s)

  • Residential Tax Burden (RTB)
  • Uncollected Taxes
  • Median Household Income (MHI)