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Posts tagged ‘taxes’

Disputing Your 2012 BC Assessment Value

It’s the end of the first week of January, and by now you should have received your 2012 BC Assessment notice in the mail, or checked online to see what the provincial assessment authority values your property at. Most people simply open it, read it, and file it away with their other house documents. It makes great water-cooler banter, as colleagues ask “what was yours assessed at?” and “did yours go up or down?” But what if you disagree with your assessment? Read more

My B.C. Assessment Value Went Up – Will My Taxes Increase?


Ah, January – A time to start anew. Maybe you’ve resolved to save more money, start eating healthier, or take up a new hobby. New Year’s resolutions are one thing many people dread this time of year. Another sure sign of the new year is your yearly B.C. Assessment notice, arriving in your mailbox the first week of January.

B.C. Assessment is the provincial crown corporation charged with valuing all the real property in the province, for the purposes of completing an assessment roll, which in turn your municipal government uses to calculate your property tax bill, due in July.

What does your B.C. Assessment value mean? Well, BCA says that it is supposed to represent your property’s market value, that is, the amount at which it would likely sell for given an arms-length transaction and reasonable exposure to the market, as of July 1 of the previous year. In actual practice, this is probably not accurate. Historically, you’d find that B.C. Assessment values were quite a bit below the actual market values, but I’ve noticed in recent years that they’ve been increasing to a more true-to-market level.

This year, in Sooke, I’m hearing from clients and colleagues that values have increased, some dramatically (including mine). But I’m not worried too much about increased taxes. Just because your B.C. Assessment value goes up, does not necessarily translate to increased taxes.

The question of whether your taxes will go up or down is up to your municipality. Each April or so, the municipality finalizes its budget. They take the amount of money (which also includes levies from other jurisdictions that your municipality pays on your behalf (ambulance, school, CRD, Transit, recycling, etc) and then divide it into the total assessed value of all properties in the municipality (which they get from B.C. Assessement). This gives them the mill rate, which is expressed in dollars per thousand dollars of assessed value.

Let’s take an example. Whoville’s staff and council have calculated a total tax bill of $2M. The total assessed value of all properties in Whoville is $320M (as per Seussland Assessment, of course!)

$2M/$320M = $0.00625 (per dollar) x 1000 = $6.25 per $1000 of assessed value.

Cindy-lou Who’s house is assessed at $200,000, therefore she pays 6.25×200 = $1250 in taxes this year.

Now, when you get your assessment in the mail, you’ll want to pull it up online at BC Assessment’s website and compare it to similar houses on your street. If you find your assessment to be out of line with your neighbour’s whose home is similar to yours in age and size and condition, then this might be a case to dispute it. It’s only when your property assessment is proportionally different, ie, much higher or lower than similar properties, that your taxes will increase or decrease more than the normal annual increase.

It’s also important to note that when you hear in the news “Sooke taxes to be up 5% this year” That is often only the municipal portion. This doesn’t necessarily mean your WHOLE tax bill will go up that much. For example, a couple years ago, they said Sooke’s taxes were going up 20% , but Sooke’s portion of my taxes was the smallest portion of the tax bill. The total increase was about $50.

As for assessed values vs home prices? They often have very little to do with market value. Assessed values are supposed to reflect market value as of July 1st of the previous year, but BC assessment doesn’t physically visit each home in the province. They use sales data, municipal building permit records (an addition, for example would add value to your home) and computer models to adjust the assessment rolls each year. I’ve seen houses sold for far under their assessed values, and far over. There is certainly no “rule-of-thumb” percentage above assessed value that you should ask for your home. Any REALTOR® that tells you that is either lazy, unskilled, or both.

If you have any questions, contact me, or put them in the comments below!

Happy New Year!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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How Will The BC HST Affect Your Home Purchase In Sooke or Victoria?

The Tax Burden on New Housing

As of July 1st, 2010, the 5% GST and 7% BC PST will be replaced by a 12% Harmonized Sales Tax. How does this affect buyers of housing in British Columbia?

HST will only apply on new housing. Just like today with the GST, HST will not be applicable on previously-occupied, resale houses. I get this question all the time. Unless you’re buying a new home, or one that has been substantially renovated such that it is as-new, you will not pay HST on the sale.

Below is a table which outlines the current GST burden on new housing and the proposed HST burden on new housing after July 1, 2010. Keep in mind that often for properties priced under $450,000-$500,000 the builder includes the GST in the purchase price, and the new housing rebate is assigned to the builder. For example, it would be rare to purchase a $275,000 condo and pay GST on top, but it would not be uncommon to buy a $600,000 home and then have to pay the GST in addition to the purchase price.

BC New Housing GST HST Worksheet

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Sooke’s SEAPARC Arena and Pool Expansion/Renovation


We’re lucky in Sooke to have such a nice facility for recreation as the SEAPARC (Sooke and Electoral Area Parks And Recreation Commission) arena and pool. The facility, located on Philips road just off Sooke Road is modern, clean, and a great value.

Since moving to Sooke almost 4 years ago, I’ve enjoyed the pool and arena, but must admit I’d use the facility more if it had a fitness facility. Currently there is a small aerobics room for drop-in and regular classes, but no weight room or cardio studio.

In 2008, the subject of expansion of the facility to include a weight room and aerobics facility came up, and after some public consultation some conceptual drawings (1,2,3,4) were done up and the plan was put forward. This week, I received a survey in the mail outlining some of the details of the project as well as the potential costs involved. It’s planned that two-thirds of the estimated $2.7 million cost of the expansion will be funded through various grants and federal and provincial money as well as other funding sources. That leaves about $1 million to come out of SEAPARC’s budget, which of course is funded by you and me, the taxpayer.

If the project goes ahead, there would be a corresponding increase in property taxes in the District of Sooke and the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, which pay for SEAPARC. What does borrowing $1 million look like on your taxes? About $20 per year for an average home in Sooke and about $14 for an average home in JDF. Not much, really for such an important and exciting project.

The expansion would add a second storey viewing area and expand the existing arena dressing room and aerobics, in addition to the weight room and other fitness facilities.

By adding these new options at the SEAPARC recreation complex, we would also be adding the user base of the facility. There is only one similar gym in Sooke – Odyssey Fitness – and a second option would be great for our town. Plus, I’d love the ability to go for a hard workout and then take a dip in the pool or hot tub! If the user base increases then perhaps the increase in revenue could offset the tax increase someday.

Watch for the survey in the mail, or click here to download it, and then drop it off either at SEAPARC reception, Bill’s Store in East Sooke, Kemp Lake Store in Otter Point, or the Port Renfrew Community Centre. Or, simply scan and e-mail it to

It’s your town, your facility and your money – let SEAPARC know what you think!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Screw The CRD and Sewage Treatment – Move To Sooke!

Taking a page from Ian Watt, I give my comments (while driving) about the CRD’s sewage treatment plans and about why you should move to Sooke and avoid all this mess!

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The B.C. Government finally released their highly-anticipated sewage report, which states as expected by the CRD that resource recovery like heat and irrigation water should be a part of the Capital Region’s sewage treatment plan, mandated by the province some years ago. This potential boondoggle has wildly varying price tags with some estimates placing the project at over $1 billion. I’m glad I live in Sooke, where our core area sewer system has been in operation for a couple of years. Even with the $490/year sewage charge added to the property taxes, ours are still among the lowest on southern Vancouver Island. In addition to lower housing costs, the issue of sewage taxes is something to think about before you make your next move in the Capital Regional District.

Agree? Disagree? Your comments below, or e-mailed to

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BC Increases Home Owner Threshold

Grant now available to properties over $1M

The Government of British Columbia announced today that it was increasing the threshold for the Home Owner Grant program from $950,000 to $1,050,000, in accordance with its goal to ensure that 95% of homeowners in British Columbia qualify for the basic grant.

British Columbia’s 2008 assessment roll, released January 1st, has increased approximately 16% over the previous year. The Home Owner Grant helps owners who live in their homes offset the municipal taxes paid each July. The current basic grant is $570, and additional grants are available for seniors and the disabled.

-Tim Ayres – Sooke and Victoria BC Real Estate Expert