Real property (i.e., land and improvements) is subject to taxation from municipalities (within their boundaries) and the Province (in rural unincorporated areas). Property taxes levied are a product of the assessed value of the property and a tax rate to be applied to that assessed value. Assessed values are determined by the BC Assessment Authority. Tax rates to be applied to these assessed values are set in accordance with a “variable tax rate” system.
The total amount of taxes to be raised for municipal purposes in a particular year will be determined by council and set out in its financial plan. The financial plan must be adopted annually prior to adoption of the municipality’s annual tax rate bylaw. The financial plan must set out the projected revenue (including total property tax revenue) and expenditures for the upcoming year, plus objectives and policies of the municipality in relation to: the proportion of total revenue that is proposed to come from each funding source (e.g., property value taxes, parcel taxes, etc); the distribution of property value taxes among the property classes that will be subject to the tax; and the use of permissive tax exemptions.
For administrative ease, all taxes imposed (e.g. municipal, school, regional district, regional hospital district, police, etc) on a particular property are collected by one entity. The municipality takes on this collection role. The amount of taxes collected by municipalities on behalf of other taxing jurisdictions can be significant. In some cases, almost half of the overall tax bill for a property within a municipality can be for non-municipal use.
Image credit: Ministry of Finance
Information on tax notices, such as property owner, mailing address, legal descriptions are administered by BC Land Title & Survey Authority and BC Assessment Authority. If changes are needed, the property owner(s) will need to contact those authorities to ensure information is correct.
The Home Owner Grant program is overseen by the Ministry of Finance and administered by all local governments in accordance to the Home Owner Grant Act.
The home owner grant reduces the amount of property taxes you pay for your principal residence. It is available to homeowners in British Columbia (BC) who pay their property taxes to a municipality or to the province if they live in a rural area.
To qualify for the grant you must meet all of the following requirements: