Lately, in talking with clients, I have been getting a lot of questions about Property Assessments. Property Assessments are used as a “snap shot” of the market, so to speak. It is not a moving target. It sets a property value including for the land and for any structures built on the land. This value is set once annually on the first of July. This evaluation is used by local governments and taxing authorities for calculating property taxes. (The total number of properties on the 2012 roll in BC is 1,917,394, a 0.75% increase from 2011.)
The BC Assessment Authority follows a basic process to determine a property’s “market value” and mails out a Property Assessment Notice to property owners in early January, every year. The Assessment Authority applies the property tax rate to the assessed value and sends the owners a tax notice. This rate of tax varies according to the local budgets of each City Council. The collection of Property Taxes covers assorted departments and typically includes fees for: schools, The Assessment Authority, Greater Vancouver Regional District, Transit Authority, roads, traffic safety, water, drainage, garbage, recycling and general miscellaneous. An advance payment of property taxes (50% of last year’s total) becomes due and payable annually around (5% late penalty) February 1st, as in Richmond & Vancouver for example, with the balance of payment due around July 1st each year. Surrey has no advance payment due in February, however and collects property taxes once annually, due around July 1st; and their water utilities are separated and payable quarterly.
The assessed value is simply a snap shot. It does not always reflect the current or actual market value of a home since this is a constantly changing value over the course of a year. Although not always, most of the time the market value of a property (i.e. the selling price) is often more than the assessed value.
It is important to keep in mind there is a direct correlation to any increase in the assessed value with the proportional increase in the amount of property taxes payable. If the assessed value goes up then so do the property taxes! There is not however a direct correlation to the assessed value and what a buyer might be willing to pay for your home.
If a person feels they have been unfairly assessed there is a review process. Contact the BC Assessment Office to discuss your point of view. They may be willing to make a change if all parties agree. If they don’t happen to agree with your facts and figures, then file an Appeal of your assessed value and have your case heard by a Review Panel. Every year the appeal deadline is January 31, so be sure to respond promptly if you have a case for re-assessment. (You can get the contract info though this link on the appeal process.)
I am always happy to help by giving a free home evaluation or if you need assistance with a bit more comparative info!