Your Vancouver Property Tax Assessment Options Explained
January 12, 2016
If you own a home in BC, you’ll have received your BC Assessment notice this week. And, if you own a piece of Vancouver real estate, you might be a little bit (or a lot) shocked at the spike in values over the past twelve months…particularly if you own a house in East Vancouver (where we saw the highest increase of a typical assessment in the province at +28%).
At Albrecht/Brown Vancouver Real Estate we’d like to remind you that these numbers should only significantly impact your tax bill if they are out of line with average increases in the city. So don’t panic…yet. The big impact for many will be that they will no longer qualify for the homeowners grant which now is cut-off at $1.2M. At $1.314M your property tax bill will increase by $570.
Keep in mind that you may be able to defer your property taxes if the bill becomes onerous. The interest rate for those over 55 (or widows/widowers) is a very reasonable 0.85%. There’s also a less known program for families with children with an interest rate of 2.85%. Considering these low interest rates, some suggest to use this program to fund other investments.
If you feel that your property tax bill has increased too sharply, there are options for you. There is a system in place for appealing property assessments. After all, mistakes can be made. I have personally successfully helped my clients do just that and lower their property tax bill. However, any appeal needs to be carefully considered and drafted and supported by strong evidence. It must also be submitted no later than January 31st, 2016.
And finally, if you aren’t aware, BC Assessment has some great online tools. You can view your numbers, details about your property, as well as those of your neighbors (it’s public information). You’ll also be able to see your assessment history and a limited set of recent sales in the neighborhood.
While many Vancouverites were shocked when they received their property assessments this year, they are an accurate reflection of the Vancouver real estate market on July 1st, 2015. Market values continued to climb after July 1st. In fact, much of the most significant price appreciation happened in the second half of last year…so more often than not, as high as your assessment may be, your actual market value is likely currently higher.