BC Assessment: Is your tax assessment correct?

Homeowner advocate and local Realtor, John Grasty, offers Tri-City area homeowners (and buyers) relevant property information, including comparable sales data and the most up to date and accurate picture of activity and trends for a particular market.

“This is simply neighbourhood intelligence”, says Grasty, one of the first 50 Realtors (out of over 98,000) in Canada to offer “Market Snapshot” as an added-value service, and with no strings attached. 

“Homeowners have better choices by staying abreast of their own market, including a chance to respond to changes that are likely to affect the real estate market in their area,” and Grasty adds, “Knowing on an ongoing basis if prices have decreased (or increased) in a neighbourhood could help buyers determine how much to offer, or even help homeowners to decide if a property tax appeal makes sense.”

Most residential properties have devalued in the past year and many of those being sold are already selling below the 2008 tax assessed value. 

The BC assessment of properties will normally reflect market values effective July 1 of the preceding year.  Each year, more than 98% of BC’s 1.8 million property owners accept their assessment as provided by BC Assessment and do not file a formal complaint (appeal).

To curb a rash of property tax appeals, on November 1st the provincial government announced it will maintain assessed property values for the 2009 assessment roll at the July 1, 2007 valuation date (2008 assessment roll) to give property owners more certainty in response to the downturn in the real estate market.  Residential property assessments will reflect actual value calculated at either July 1, 2007 or July 1, 2008 valuation date, whichever is lower.

This coming year it is important for all property owners to determine if the assessment information is correct and if the value represents a fair estimate of a property’s market value on July 1st of 2007 or 2008?  Market value is the value at which your property could potentially have sold for on July 1 last year, given a willing buyer and a willing seller.

If you think your property is assessed too high, then you need to acquire the relevant property assessment or sales information that supports this position.  All rights to appeal will remain unchanged when receiving 2009 tax assessment notices in early January, but since January 31 falls on a weekend, appeals will be accepted until midnight PST on Monday February 2, 2009

Property owners can obtain sales information from BC Assessment, Realtors, and the local Multiple Listing Service.  Tri-City property owners are serviced by the North Fraser area office of BC Assessment, and provides homeowners some online comparisons through “Assessments and Sales by Address 2008” on its website from January to mid-March and in paper form at assessment offices, most libraries, municipal halls and government agents’ offices.  The e-valueBC service allows property owners to compare their assessment and any applicable sales to other homes in their area.

According to page 17 of the Property Assessment Complaint Process, “If you have a recent property appraisal available to you, then you can include it as part of your evidence. If you do not have an independent appraisal, you may choose to obtain one; however, independent appraisals can be expensive and may not be essential to your case”.  

Grasty invites anyone interested in receiving a complimentary (no obligation) “Market Snapshot” of their own neighbourhood to click here.

BC Assessment identifies ownership and tax liability for all properties, classifies their use and estimates their actual values. A total of 1,854,009 properties in BC were valued for the 2009 Assessment Roll, compared to 1,820,044 on the 2008 Roll.

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