January 6, 2023
You have likely received your new BC Assessment Authority (BCAA) valuation in the mail or looked it up online at www.bcassessment.ca. Given the change in the Real Estate market since the July 1st evaluation date, BCAA anticipates a higher-than-usual number of appeals and has launched a media campaign with an aim to reduce that number.
BCAA’s mandate is to put a value on over two million properties in British Columbia with a staff of approximately 700 throughout our province. When was the last time an assessor knocked on your door?
The municipality uses these valuations to determine your property tax.
Each municipality takes the total valuation provided by BCAA of every property in their municipality and divides that by the costs to run the municipality, and you pay your proportionate share i.e., property tax based on your property assessment.
BCAA uses a statistical appraisal system based on a cost approach, considering age, size and replacement costs, not a market value approach. Neighbourhood sales are used to determine what properties are selling for per square foot.
It is very important that you check the data on your property that BCAA is using, significant differences in age, size, bedroom and bathroom count can impact the valuation and likely your taxes. You might want to request a copy of what is on file with your municipality to compare.
On BCAA’s website, you can see what your neighbours’ assessments are and the percentage change from the last assessment. What is critical to note is the percentage change in valuation. Value spreads in many neighbourhoods can be enormous so do not get hung up on that, if your valuation has changed to a greater percentage than your neighbours. In this case, you might want to consider appealing it to keep your taxes in line with the neighbours.
Should you decide to appeal your assessment you must file the appeal before January 31, 2023. The formal appeal process is time-consuming, so try calling your local area assessor as they have some discretionary latitude to alter your assessment. They internally call it the “go-away amount” and from my experience and observation, BCAA may alter the valuation +/-5% provided you have a valid argument.
If you require assistance in preparing your appeal, feel free to contact me as I am here and happy to help. 604-240-5813