Yep, property tax assessments are out and the Vancouver Sun asks how did you do?
This year — unlike in January of 2009 when the system was turned on its ear by political interference — it’s fairly easy to figure out if you’ll win or lose when your tax bill comes out in July.
Let me illustrate with an example that, on the surface, looks scary: Say your assessment notice shows a 15-per-cent increase in the value of your home or business. What to do?
First, don’t panic. Take a moment to read this column, check our website and figure out what this really means.
You’ll find a 15-per-cent increase is no big deal if your home is in New Denver, Kitimat or Clearwater, or your business is in Peachland, Sparwood or Smithers. Because in these places the average assessment — not just yours — is up about 15 per cent. So the impact will be nil. Any hit on your tax bill in July will be due solely to increased municipal spending.
Phew! But it’s a different story if you own property in a major urban center.
However, if this hypothetical 15-per-cent increase is for property in most urban centres — almost all of the Lower Mainland, the Capital Region or the Okanagan — then now might be a good time to panic. Because the average in these places hovers just a few points above or below zero. And if you have a significantly higher-than-average change in value, you get a bigger tax bill.
It’s how the change in your assessed value compares to the average for other properties in your community — not the absolute value of your assessment — that matters to your tax bill.
Well, I guess we’ll just have to hope that Vancouver City Council doesn’t want to raise any more tax money in the near future. You can check the assessment online here if you haven’t received any mail yet.
UPDATE: Don and Larry point out that the REBGV stats package PDF for December is now available online.