Let’s start with the easy part. Everyone in BC now has access to their BC Property Assessment. Go to https://www.bcassessment.ca/ and input your address. My personal assessment went up 6% from last year. The assessed value is based on the market value of your home on July 1, 2020. An increase or a decrease in your property assessment is based on the market value of similar homes in your neighbourhood. In more rural areas sometimes the property assessment seems low to a listing price. This means that BC Assessment does not have enough data to provide accurate market value assessments. As long as your assessment is in line with equivalent homes in your area you will be okay. 

That being said, sometimes the assessment is unreasonable. If that is the case, you should contact BC Assessment Authority and discuss the property valuation amount with them. If you are still not satisfied with your assessed value you have until February 1, 2021 (because January 31 is a Sunday) to complete the online request for review/appeal form https://eforms.bcassessment.ca/online_appeal_form_PARP_2021.asp and have a hearing. At the panel hearing, your appeal will be heard and changes could be granted. This format is online and via phone for 2021.

Reasons an assessment may not be accurate could range from the assessment thinking you have more bedrooms and bathrooms than you do, over-stretching evaluation on renovations or something else with the actual property. Another reason could be that you purchased the house recently and paid over market value due to some other items included in the purchase (equipment, furniture, etc.). The system does not know those items were added on to the purchase price. 

Just because your property value increased or decreased, does not necessarily mean that your property taxes are going to increase or decrease by that exact percentage amount. In late winter, early spring, your local tax authority sets out its property tax rates and applies those rates to your assessed value. Then you will be mailed your property tax amount which is due July 2, 2021. You will remit what is due, less any grants or exemptions. Property tax may indeed go up, but the increase is more likely due to budget issues at the municipal/city level versus a change in your assessed value.

This is where the BIG CHANGE is.

In the past, you would claim your Home Owner Grant of $570 and any additional exemptions through your local tax authority. This is claimed every year as the government does not make assumptions of your current residential circumstances of each property you own.

This year the grant is going to need to be claimed online through a Provincial Online System.

The system is not available yet and is expected to be out before taxes are due July 2, 2021.