Relationship between assessments and taxes can be baffling

The relationship between assessment notices and property taxes can be confusing.

Well, another January means another round of property tax assessment notices.

According to BC Assessment, nearly two million assessment notices have been mailed out across the province, 400,000 of them in the Cowichan Valley.

It appears from a recent press release from BC Assessment that home owners in Ladysmith and the Cowichan Valley may not see a lot of change in their assessments this year, as the numbers are quite stable.

Whether your assessment goes up or down, remember that this doesn’t necessarily mean your property taxes will be affected in the same way.

The relationship between assessment notices and property taxes can be confusing. I know it is for me. I chose words over numbers for a reason.

Ultimately, it is local government that determines local tax rates, based on the budget. The value of your property, as assessed by the B.C. Assessment Authority, is multiplied by the tax rates as set out by each of the taxing jurisdictions to determine your property taxes.

“For example, if property assessments rise, and the costs of your local government remains stable, the tax rate will need to be reduced to generate only the required revenue,” explains Vancouver Island regional assessor Bill MacGougan.”Conversely, if property assessments decline and the cost of government remains stable or rises, tax authorities will increase the tax rate to ensure a balanced budget.”

MacGougan is quick to encourage home owners to visit www.bcassessment.ca, which offers an e-valueBC tool which allows you to compare assessments online and view other property values in your neighbourhood — and anywhere else in B.C.