If you are a homeowner in BC by now you will have received your copy of the BC Assessment for your property. The main reason these are created are for taxation purposes based on a estimation of the value of the property.   As fun as these can be to look at, not surprisingly many people are confused every year by wild swings and sometimes down right strange figures! You may have experienced this confusion yourself before.

As such, we get many questions every year on how BC Assessment figures work,
and “How the heck did they got that number?”

So here are the bottom line facts on your BC assessment:

  • The Key Dates are as follows:
    July 1 of Previous Year – The date at which the value is determined.
    October 31st – The date at which the condition of property is determined
    November 30th – When ownership is determined on title
    December 31st –Assessments are mailed
    January 31 – Appeal deadline
  • Values determined by BC Assessment are created using mass appraisal
    computer techniques, not on an individual basis.
  • Assessments must be equitable to those of other similar properties in the area.
  • Assessed value is often NOT equal to market value. The classification or information in the database they use may be wrong or outdated.
  • Once the assessment rate is established the MILL rate is multiplied by the property assessment to obtain the taxation rate for the coming tax year.  The MILL Rate is calculated by dividing the city’s total budget by the total assessed values of all the properties in the city.

So that all being said how does this apply to you?
If you feel strongly your assessed value is too high and want to reduce tax what should you consider? Lets consider a MILL rate of 0.35, so you pay taxes of $350 for every $100,000 of assessed value for your residential house in Vancouver.

Fees for a professional property appraiser to appeal on your behalf are $600-$800 – so your tax savings need to be substantial (way over assessed vs. market value) to make it worth while if you are trying to reduce tax by appealing.  So by this example above you would need to be over assessed by over $200,000 to make your appeal worth the time and money spent!

You may also want to consider that once you open an appeal with BC Assessment they will now look at your home on an individual scale versus a mass appraisal scale. This could be to  your advantage or disadvantage, but it is very important to note that once you have opened the appeal,  BC Assessment has the power to raise OR lower your assessment after their review is completed. So you may end up with the opposite of what you wanted!

When it comes to selling your home most buyers will look at more current sales data rather than the assessment (really a snapshot from July). However, a lower assessed value may adversely affect some buyers considering your home.  So unless it seems way off and you feel you’re overpaying, we recommend you do the calculations first!