If you checked your mail in early January, you should have found your current assessment for any property owned in B.C.
The 2019 BC Assessment released January 2, 2019, is based on market values of property as of July 1, 2018. Overall, Fort St. John saw a decline in residential assessments by 2.51% within the city. Business noted a 2.83% overall increase and light industry noted a 1.99% decline in total assessed values.
Our southern neighbours in Dawson Creek noted an overall .36% increase in residential assessments; 1.02% increase in business and 2.86% increase in light industry.
BC Assessment offers a tool to find your property assessment that allows you to review your 2019 assessment in comparison with your 2018 assessment. It also allows you to confirm basic property details such as property size, house size, basement finished area, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. You are also able to review recent sales in your neighbourhood to see how you compare to those properties.
If your property information is incorrect, you are able to send notice of correction. You are also able to submit a notice of complaint submission from this website.
I recently spoke with a homeowner that has reviewed their 2018 assessments online and noted that the assessments of most properties in their neighbourhood have declined. However recent sale prices of those same homes are lower than the assessed values. They feel strongly that their property assessments should have declined greater than the reduction offered. Based on this premise, they have sent in a notice of complaint.
Two commercial properties reviewed show a 36% and 45% increase in assessed value. This is well above the average increase indicated in the area. Recommendations for appeal have been made.
The complaint process is quite simple. In this homeowner’s case, the tax savings will be minimal. It's important to keep assessments in line with market conditions. I had a client that saw a 30% increase in assessed value over a two to three-year period. At that time, BC Assessment did not realize the increase in one year, but noted on the file that the property was under assessed and to expect a decline until the assessments were in line with the current market value. This occurred in a rising market. It's important to keep an eye on the same in a falling market.
How does your property measure up? It's a good idea to make sure assessments are in line. If an opportunity to appeal has been overlooked, it's not possible to appeal increases backdated two or more years. This can cause challenges and higher than necessary tax bills. It's well worth taking a second look!
Edwina Nearhood is a lifelong resident of Fort St. John. Her almost 30-year experience in the appraisal industry offers a unique lens on the challenges associated with the economic forces impacting real estate and the community. This column will offer insight for local residents on the impact of the boom-bust cycle in remote northern BC and the challenges local businesses and residents face in the land of the north.