If you’re a British Columbian, chances are you’ve checked your property assessment online. And if you’re like most BC homeowners, you probably weren’t too happy with what you saw. With assessments soaring by double digits over the past year, many homeowners are feeling frustrated—and rightfully so! But don’t despair! There are still ways to fight your property assessment increase.
Understand How Assessments Are Calculated
The first step is understanding how assessments are calculated. The BC Assessment Authority assesses properties on July 1st every year, and that assessment is based on market value as of that date. This means that the recent changes in the real estate market or your neighbourhood, such as an influx of new homes or a significant development project, could have affected your property’s value and, thus, its assessed amount.
Check for Errors
Once you understand how assessments are calculated, it’s time to check for errors. It’s not uncommon for mistakes to occur when assessing properties; after all, BC Assessment must evaluate over 2 million properties each year—that’s a lot of math! So take a close look at your assessment notice to see if there were any mistakes or miscalculations made on their part—errors do happen! If you do find a mistake, make sure to contact BC Assessment right away so they can correct it.
File an Appeal
If your assessment is accurate but still too high for your liking (or budget), then you may want to consider filing an appeal with BC Assessment. This process involves submitting a written statement along with supporting documents that prove why your assessed value should be adjusted downwards. Appeals typically take about eight weeks before you hear back from BC Assessment about their decision; if approved, this could mean a decrease in taxes paid on the property for the upcoming year.
Receiving an unexpectedly high property assessment can be disheartening but don’t panic! You can still fight it by understanding how assessments are calculated and keeping an eye out for errors on the part of BC Assessment. If you’re thinking of appealing, ask us for our Tax Fighter Kit!
Don’t let this increased assessment get you down; instead, use it as motivation to stay informed and fight back against unfair assessments! Good luck!