Information for First Time Home Buyers
BC Assessment is a provincial Crown corporation that classifies and values all real property in British Columbia. Each year, BC Assessment sends property owners a Property Assessment Notice telling them the fair market value of their property as of July 1 for the year immediately prior to the assessment roll date on the notice.
BC Assessment also produces an assessment roll listing the value of all properties in the province. Provincial and municipal tax authorities use this information to calculate the amount of property tax each owner will pay.
Understanding market value
Market value is defined as the most probable price which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus.
Understanding "Class 1, Residential"
Classification is typically based on a property's type or use and whether it meets the requirements for the class as specified by government regulation. There are nine property classes in British Columbia and each property's classification is shown on the Property Assessment Notice.
Class 1, Residential includes properties such as single-family residences, duplexes, nursing homes, seasonal dwellings, manufactured homes, apartments, condominiums, recreational property, some vacant land and farm buildings.
Other classes cover properties used for commercial businesses, forestry, farming, light and major industry, hotels and motels, pipelines, electrical systems and railways.
Accurately determining the value of property
BC Assessment has a professional appraisal staff and an extensive database that is periodically updated with information gathered through appraisal inspections. Municipal and provincial agencies inform BC Assessment of land title changes, building permit approvals and zoning adjustments. BC Assessment also considers a property's unique characteristics, including location, size, layout, shape, age, finish, quality, carports, garages, sundecks and condition of buildings. All these variables are considered when valuing each property.
The relationship between the property assessment notice & property taxes
Market value is considered the fairest method of distributing the property tax burden. In any tax area, residential properties of equal value contribute the same tax. Higher-value properties contribute more tax than those with lower values.
BC Assessment determines the market value of properties and sends property owners a Property Assessment Notice. It also prepares the BC Assessment Roll, which is used by tax authorities to set property tax rates in their jurisdiction.
The simplest way to explain the assessment and tax relationship is: Tax rates set by taxing authorities are applied to the actual value of a property (e.g., market value) less any applicable tax exemptions.
BC Assessment deals solely with the assessment of properties and has no jurisdiction or control over taxes or tax rates.
Correcting information on the property assessment notice
If you disagree with the market value of your property, or if you believe your property is improperly classified, contact your local BC Assessment office before January 31.
If, after talking to your local BC Assessment office, you still disagree with your property's value or classification, you may request an independent review before a Property Assessment Review Panel (PARP). A written notice of complaint must be delivered in writing to your local BC Assessment office no later than January 31. Your Notice of Complaint can be mailed, emailed, submitted online, or faxed.
As a homeowner, it is important to understand that you cannot appeal your taxes. Neither the assessor nor the PARP can consider taxes when establishing the assessment value of your home.
For more information and resources, visit BC Assessment