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Are high property taxes weighing your business down?

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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. 

Will the Provincial government move forward on a bill that could lower your property tax bill? 

The City of Vancouver and business communities (including CFIB) have endorsed a proposal that could bring down your property tax bill. The proposal would allow municipalities to target specific areas (e.g. Main Street) hardest hit by rising property bills, and split the assessment into two parts: what is physically there on the property, and its future value (known as highest and best use). Municipalities would be able to set a lower tax rate on the “future value” than what it’s currently taxed at, bringing down the property tax bill. This tool would be available to all municipalities if the Provincial government decides to implement it.   

In order for that to happen, we need the Provincial government to take action now. We have continued to urge the government to act quickly on this important issue.

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.

2020 - Metro Vancouver has a Property Tax Problem

The following piece explores a series of stories from business owners in Metro Vancouver who are the same problem: rising property taxes crippling their business. Click here to read

Are you interested in sharing your property tax story? Contact us to see how your story can help pressure government to take action!

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.