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Are high property taxes weighing your business down?

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July not only marks the beginning weeks of summer, but also BC’s property tax deadline. For many businesses like yours, that property tax bill is one of the most difficult costs to absorb.

For over 10 years, we have warned municipal and provincial governments that you are paying an unfair amount of property taxes. In 2019 alone, many businesses saw double digit increases in their bill compared to last year. 

Now that the problem has come to a boiling point, governments are slowly starting to listen. 


Some progress

In May, the City of Vancouver approved a modest reduction in the property tax share paid by business owners, approving a 2 per cent shift off of commercial properties over the next three years, and also acknowledge there is still much more to do. While this is a step in the right direction, there is a lot more that needs to be done, which is why we are continuing the fight.

Our fight

In July we released a series of stories, profiling 5 CFIB members in the MetroVancouver region who are struggling to keep up with skyrocketing property taxes. These stories help British Columbians understand that there is a problem, and something needs to be done. It also puts pressure on municipal governments and the province that bold action must be taken to help businesses struggling to take on rising property taxes. You can read the stories here, as well as sign our property tax petition.

We also recently spoke on Global News, CTV News Vancouver, Vancouver Sun, and others about the issue of property taxes, reaching a very wide audience. Thanks to your stories, we are able to talk on these platforms and put pressure on policy makers to shift the property tax burden off of your business.

Next steps

We also understand this issue is not unique to Metro Vancouver - rising property taxes is an issue most businesses across BC face. This is why we continue to meet with Mayor and Councils in every region and raise these concerns. 

Thank you to those who respond to our recent survey, which included several questions on property taxes. Your responses will help us continue to put the pressure on municipal governments and the province.

Property Tax Report

In 2018, we released a new report highlighting just how poorly municipal governments have been treating local businesses like yours. You can read it by clicking here. 

Our report presents an entirely new way to look at property tax inequality. We look at the percent of total municipal property taxes business owners paid versus what portion of property value they made up (otherwise known respectively as the “property tax share” and “assessment share”). In a fair system, the values should be roughly the same, where business owners pay taxes based on what they own… but this was far from the case in BC’s 20 largest cities.  In 2018, business owners paid for nearly 30% of all property taxes, but only accounted for roughly 12% of all properties! In other words, business owners are responsible for an unfair amount of property taxes.

We call the difference between the total property tax bill and total property value the “property tax fairness ratio” – in this case, a ratio of 2.4. It confirms what previous reports have said: business owners are getting the short end of the stick.

Add your voice to our call to action!

If you have any stories about property taxes weighing down your business, please send them to [email protected] . We will continue to stand up against unfair policies by meeting with local politicians, conducting reports, and speaking out loudly to defend your business’ interests.