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Your BC Property Assessment Explained: What Is It, What Does It Mean, and What Are The Tax Implications

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As it’s January, it’s once again time for property owners in BC to receive their annual property assessment from BC Assessment. Even if you aren’t planning on buying or selling immediately these are important documents. And you should take the time to understand what they mean for you. Here’s our primer on what you need to know about your BC Assessment. 

What Is The BC Property Assessment 

Your property assessment will be collected and distributed by BC Assessment — a provincial Crown corporation whose role it is to classify and value all of the real property in British Columbia. Every year in January, property owners across the province will receive their annual assessment. This assessment will be based on an estimation of the market value of your property as of July 1st. This will be based on a professional appraisal that incorporates a number of factors including: 

  • Sale data from the local area 

  • Size of the property 

  • Age of the property 

  • Condition of the property 

  • Quality 

  • Location and views 

The Key Details

We’d highly recommend getting your assessment notice document in front of you for this part, as we’re going to look at some of the key information that’s included in your property assessment notice. This information will help you understand some of the key tax implications, make decisions about your future, and help you decide if there are any further steps you need to take. Here are the key details for a residential BC property assessment notice: 

  • Your confidential PIN number. This number is unique to your property and will allow you to: subscribe to ePost, submit appeal evidence using the PARP Online Evidence Submission System, and validate your property data using the Assessment Search tool. 

  • A Graph displaying the value change of your property in comparison to the value change across your jurisdiction. This is a very important calculation, as it’s the number that will help determine any changes in your property tax. Something that we’ll cover in more detail in the next paragraph.

  • Two value numbers — your assessed value, and your taxable value. The assessed value is the number calculated by BC assessment. While the taxable valuable is that number, minus any tax exemptions that are relevant to your property. 

  • A graph displaying the assessed value for your property over the last 4 years. 

Property Tax Implications 

When it comes to your property tax, it’s vital to understand the role your BC assessment plays in the calculation. One of the most commonly held misconceptions is that a change in assessed value will equate to a proportional change in your property taxes — this isn’t how it works.

The actual number being used is how much your assessed value has changed relative to the property class — in the case of this post, that’s Residential properties, across your tax jurisdiction. For example, if your property last year was assessed at $450,000 and is now up 20% to $540,000 — your property tax calculation will depend on how that number compares to the average increase in your tax jurisdiction.

If that average increase is less than 20%, you’re likely to pay more as your property has seen a greater increase than others. Conversely, if that number is higher, you’ll pay less as your property has seen a less significant increase in value.

The Appeal Process

When it comes to the property tax rates set by your local authority, there’s nothing you can do, but, you can appeal the value assessment portion of your property tax calculation. If you believe the number quoted on your BC assessment is not an accurate reflection of the value of your property, you have until the last working day in January to appeal to the Property Assessment Review Panel. 

Click here for more information about the BC Assessment Notice.

When it comes to property matters there’s no substitute for qualified, expert advice. Here at Madsen Langlois we’re happy to help all of our customers navigate the world of real estate with care, and qualified helpful advice on what steps they should take. To find out more, contact us today. 

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