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EDITORIAL: Property tax rates separate from latest assessments

Local governments in British Columbia have not yet completed their budgets for 2023
The Kelowna housing market went up 14 per cent according to the 2023 BC Assessment (@khzny/Twitter)

Property tax rates are likely to rise in most if not all B.C. communities in 2023, but the rise is not connected to the latest B.C. Assessment figures.

The assessment figures, calculated annually by the BC Assessment Authority, were released on Jan. 3 and are based on property values as of July 1, 2022.

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However, local governments in British Columbia have not yet completed their budgets for 2023 and as a result, changes to tax rates are not yet known.

It is safe to assume that taxes will increase in the coming year, likely by a greater amount than in past years. Municipal governments and regional districts calculate their tax rates in order to provide services to their residents. When there are cost increases in providing these services, governments must raise taxes or cut services.

Costs of labour and supplies tend to increase each year, resulting in the annual increases to tax bills.

During 2022, inflation was higher than in past years and as a result, many costs have increased. For example, the chemicals used to treat a community’s water supply are significantly more expensive than they were a year ago. The same holds true for other supplies and equipment purchased by local governments.

When costs rise, governments need to take in more money in order to provide the same level of service.

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Property assessments are not connected to municipal budgets and to overall tax increases. However, the assessments are used in calculating the amount each property is taxed. This is because property taxes are based on assessed values rather than a flat tax system where all property owners pay the same amount, regardless of the value of their properties.

If there are concerns about the municipal budget and the resulting increase in taxes, these should be raised before the municipal council during the budget process.

Changing assessment values will not determine what will happen to one’s 2023 property tax bill.

– Black Press