IMPORTANT: If there is any chance you will want to dispute your property assessment, you should contact BC Assessment before the end of the month. The filing deadline is January 31, 2022.
Property assessments are again in the news, with media outlets reporting increases in many jurisdictions since last year. CHF BC would again note a few key points:
- Increases in assessed value do not translate directly into property tax increases. Only if your property value increased more (or decreased less) than the average in your area will you see proportionally higher tax increases compared to other property owners. (Absolute amounts depends on how municipalities budget, of course.)
- Homeowner grants may have an offsetting effect and appealing an assessment is an option. This year the deadline is January 31, so you should act now if you wish to preserve your right to appeal.
- AEC Property Tax Consultants continues to offer CHF BC members a break (20%) on its normal recovery rate and it offers a complimentary review of your assessment. (See below.)
Arguing against your assessment
There are three common avenues to appeal your assessment, beyond notifying BC Assessment of simple clerical mistakes:
- Your buildings may be worth less than BC Assessment thinks, due to needed building repairs and renewals. This is usually the easiest argument to make and will be assisted by supporting engineering documents (e.g. building condition assessments showing needed capital works) to make this kind of overvaluation claim. Remember, if your co-op has seen significant capital works over the last couple of years, relative increases in your assessed value should be expected.
- Legal restrictions on the use of the land can also reduce assessments. Covenants on title may serve to lower the assessed value, as may other land use restrictions.
- Sometimes BC Assessment just gets it wrong. Comparisons with other similar, nearby properties are the best way forward in these cases, and that takes some research.
Co-ops will sometimes make appeals on their own, sometimes with the assistance of management companies, and sometimes they seek help from professional consultants. Although we are not making any recommendations, we do know that AEC has worked with co-ops (and non-profit societies) in recent years. AEC can be contacted through Vance Leschuk (direct tel: 604-629-4644, email: email@example.com) . There are other firms that do similar work. Some firms will charge hourly rate fees for their services, others may seek compensation based on the size of the property tax reduction they are able to obtain for their clients (e.g. AEC, which does not charge for an unsuccessful appeal). If your assessment has gone up significantly, you may want to consider appealing.
The BC Assessment website has information you’ll find helpful. However your co-op decides to proceed, please remember the deadline for filing an appeal. The full list of key dates is available on the BC Assessment website, but the most important is January 31, 2022.