Assessment notices – a wake-up call for property owners
Property owners throughout BC received their 2012 assessment notice the first week of January from BC Assessment.
This notice is BC Assessment’s (BCA) estimate of a property’s value as of July 1, 2011, and for new construction or substantially renovated homes, the physical condition as of October 31, 2011. BCA is the government agency responsible for determining and reporting property value estimates for the 1,917,394 properties in its database, a 0.75% increase in the number of properties since 2011.
BC Assessment and a REALTOR® assessment. Why the difference?
BCA’s assessment and the market value determined by a REALTOR® may be different. Why? Both BCA assessors and REALTORS® calculate market value by analyzing sales of comparable homes within a local market, and look at factors that affect value such as size of home, view, location – on a busy or quiet street, number of bedrooms, construction quality, floor level, and garage or parking stalls. Where every lot and every home on a street are typically the same, both BCA’s value and a REALTOR’s® value will be similar during stable market conditions. Differences occur in neighborhoods where lots have been rezoned or are different shapes and sizes, where architecture and views are unique, and where owners have made changes that BCA hasn’t yet taken into account. Differences also occur during market instability when prices rise or fall during the six-month period between July 1 and January 1 the following year.
Wake-up call – how to appeal an assessment
Since July 1, 2011 home owners may have seen prices stalling in some neighborhoods and rising in others. Assessments may reflect these changes.
The deadline to appeal is January 31, 2012
Property owners who disagree with their assessment should do their homework by visiting www.bcassessment.ca and then e-valueBC to compare their assessment with those of their neighbours. Each year, about 1.6% of all BC property owners appeal their assessment. Property owners should first contact their local assessment office and talk to staff who can make adjustments if there is an obvious error, for example if BCA includes a new swimming pool, when, in fact, the pool is a shallow fish pond.
Property ownwer who decide to appeal must file a written request by January 31, 2012. For information, visit www.bcassessment.ca and select Learn more about the Notice of Complaint (Appeal) process and the Property Assessment Review Panel.
What can an appeal mean for a property owner?
While BCA determines the assessed value of property tax for tax purposes, it’s the local taxing authorities – both provincial and local governments – which set tax rates each spring according budget requirements.
The formula for calculating taxes on property is:
Tax Rate x Assessed Value / 1,000
If the tax rate is 4.000 and the property assessment is $1million, then the taxes payable are $4,000.
Property owners who haven’t received an assessment notice by mid-January should contact the area phone numbers listed above or request their tax notice online at www.bcassessment.ca. (See Receive your assessment notice online - right hand side).