Every year we receive many calls regarding assessment values. Let’s review a few quick facts: BC Assessment sent home owners their 2020 assessment notices a couple weeks back, which reflect a mostly computer-generated figure “value” as of July 1. 2019 based on sales leading up to this date from the months/year leading up to this. In other words, by the time you can access the info online, or get it in the mail, it is 6 or more months old. Furthermore, this value from July 1st of 2019 is based on the property condition as of October 31, 2018, so as you can gather looking at these dates, these figures are just a “Ballpark” for tax purposes. This is in contrast to a formal market value appraisal done by a realtor or appraiser using recent sales (where willing buyers made a purchase of similar properties) considering current physical details of the property, buyer demand, sales ratios, market, etc.

Many people are concerned about their decrease, and some with the increase in assessed value. Many assume that just because your assessed value goes up so will your taxes. Rest assured this is not necessarily the case. The City of Vancouver calculates your annual taxes by dividing their annual budget by the total assessed value of all the properties in Vancouver (the mill rate) and multiplying this factor by your assessed value. So, if all the assessments are up (across the board) your taxes should not change. Your taxes will change, however, with City Hall’s new budget (that’s what you should be scrutinizing – not the assessments). Bear in mind City Council recently voted to approve a 7% tax increase (which is still less than the 8.2% originally suggested). To expect property taxes to go down because the assessed value has gone down isn’t necessarily going to happen. If the budget is up, and your assessed value is up, your taxes will likely go up. If the assessment is down but the budget is up a lot, taxes may still go up. Or if by chance, your assessment has jumped above your neighbours because of a renovation, then your taxes will go up accordingly.

Here is an interesting chart that shows some of the changes.

Property owners who decide to appeal their property assessment should review information on the Property Assessment Appeal Board website on how to prepare for an appeal and then complete a Notice of Complaint (Appeal) Form. The deadline to appeal your assessment is January 31, 2020. For more info visit www.bcassessment.ca

A few interesting facts:
• Each year less than 1% of BC property owners appeal their assessments.
• Note: you can’t appeal your taxes. You can only appeal your assessment.
• BCA is a provincial Crown corporation. Since 1974, it’s been responsible for
determining and reporting property value estimates.
• For 2020 BCA reported the number of properties assessed in the Lower
Mainland is 1,014,135 properties, an increase of 1% from last year.
• Total value of real estate in the Lower Mainland in 2020: $1.41 trillion,
down 5% from 2019.
• In BC, 88% of all properties are classified as residential (class 1)

Housing Updates

Home Owner Grant Thresholds Drop
The Home Owner Grant a provincial grant which reduces the amount of property tax an owner-occupier pays. To qualify you must:
• Be the registered owner;
• Occupy the home as your principal residence;
• Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada; and
• Live in BC.

The Home Owner Grant threshold exists across the province. The values are:
• $570 for the basic grant;
• $770 if the home is located in a northern or rural area;
• Up to $845 for home owners age 65 and more or a home owner with a disability; and
• Up to $1,045 for home owners age 65 and more or a home owner with a disability where the home is in a northern or rural area.

The grant is available to owners of property assessed at up to $1.525 million in 2020, down from $1.65 million in 2019 to reflect the decline in home prices.

The grant is cut back by $5 for each $1,000 of assessed value over $1,525,000. In other words this means properties assessed up to $1,639,000 ($1,679,000 in a northern and rural area) can receive a partial regular grant.
In northern and rural areas, the basic grant is gone at $1,804,000 and the higher grant at $1,859,000.