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Skyrocketing BC property assessments not so appealing for small business

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Nearly half of business owners did not appeal their property assessments because they didn’t think it would make a difference; nearly half of those who did appeal saw a decrease.

VANCOUVER, January 31, 2018 – With today’s deadline to appeal property assessments looming, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has released new survey data that reveals almost half of small business owners (forty six per cent) said they did not appeal their business’ property assessment because they did not think it would make a difference.

Only twenty four per cent believed their assessment was fair, while ten per cent did not appeal because they did not want to risk having their property taxes increase. Six per cent stated they did not know they could appeal, and six percent said it was because the process is too complicated. Another eight per cent did not appeal for other reasons. 

“Many business owners are seeing massive increases to their property assessments this year, with some in the Greater Vancouver area being hit with upwards of fifty per cent increases.  Typically, that also translates into a higher tax bill,” said Richard Truscott, Vice-President, BC and Alberta. “Hopefully, property owners have thought about appealing their assessments before today’s deadline.”

The survey results also showed that of the ten per cent of small business owners who did appeal, almost half (forty seven per cent) saw their property’s assessed value decrease. While this is a great outcome for those who appealed, it highlights the fact that BC Assessment is failing to provide accurate commercial property assessments close to half of the time.

It appears BC Assessment has not published survey results from property owners in six years. In their last public report conducted in 2012, forty nine per cent of non-residential property owners disagreed that BC Assessment does a good job assigning value to their property. Despite this, BC Assessment’s 2016 Annual Service Plan Report credits their one point four per cent appeal rate as customer validation of the quality, accuracy, and uniformity of assessments.

“That is simply not an accurate reflection of reality.  Although many business owners have had success appealing their assessments in the past, the process remains overly complicated. The time it takes to collect and gather evidence, file a formal appeal, and attend a thirty minute hearing simply becomes unreasonably consuming for a lot of busy entrepreneurs. It may be time to review the appeal system,” concluded Truscott.

The CFIB survey findings are based on seven hundred and eighty nine responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflects responses received November 3rd to 14th, 2017.  Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.4 per cent 19 times in 20.

To arrange an interview with Richard Truscott Vice-President, BC and Alberta, please call 604-684-5325 or email [email protected] after 8:30 AM PT. 

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region, including 10,000 in B.C