Property assessments were mailed out recently and if your home landed below the $1.6 million mark, you can still qualify to receive a basic Home Owner Grant of $570 per year thanks to a $400,000 increase to the qualifying limit courtesy of the B.C. government. There may be other breaks in store too.
The bump up from last year’s $1.2 million cap was announced today by Finance Minister Mike de Jong in response to the significant increase in assessment values. If you’re in a single-family home anywhere between Squamish and Chilliwack, for example, you likely saw a 30-50% jump in your homes assessed value. Without the new $1.6 million limit, only 50% of detached homes would have qualified under the Home Owner Program compared with last year's 65% according to statistics from Landcor Data Corp.
The increase will the the 10th since 2003. De Jong claims the new cap will make 9 out of 10 homes eligible to receive the basic grant.
As for what this means in terms of our annual tax bill, the news may not be as bad as you think.
When speaking with The Globe and Mail, Jason Grant, a regional assessor with BC Assessment, said that a rise in assessment value does not automatically mean you will receive an equally large property tax bill. He explained that municipal governments typically respond to such spikes by reducing the property tax rate applied to each property as the purpose of these taxes is to provide the funds needed to operate their budget - and the budget isn't also increasing by 30%,
On top of this … “It’s all going to depend on how your property performs relative to the average change for your community. If somebody’s assessment went up 30% – that’s a large increase – but that increase may actually be several points below the average change in their community and in that case the person might … actually end up with a tax decrease.”
“If you’re pretty close to the average you might not see much of a tax change at all.”
Don’t agree with your property tax assessment? Find info on challenging it HERE.
For more information on the B.C. Home Owner Grant.