Property Taxes and BC Assessment Notices

With the significant jump in property assessments recently it’s no wonder many are wondering about how this could impact their annual property taxes. It’s a common misconception that if your BC Assessment notice states your home’s property assessment has gone up 20%, your property taxes will go up 20%. We hope the information below will help clarify this misconception and explain how property assessments and property tax rates are related.

  • Municipal budgets are developed each year based on the cost of delivering services to residents and saving for the future. We go through an extensive budgeting process to determine the amount of property tax funding required to balance the budget. Tax rates (mill rates) are then calculated to collect only the property tax funding needed.
  • The amount of property tax owed is only influenced by property assessments by how the assessed value relates to other assessed values. For example, properties on the higher end of assessments will pay more in taxes than properties on the lower end.
  • Local municipalities are not in the business of making money or earning a profit, but collecting only enough property taxes to balance their budget. 

Common Property Tax Myths Explained

If you're a homeowner who received a higher-than-expected property assessment, you're likely wondering how it will affect your next property tax notice.

Here are some of the most common property tax myths explained. 

Myth: My BC Assessment doubled, so my property taxes will too.

Fact: If your property assessment increase is the same or less than the District of Central Saanich average assessment increase, your property taxes should not have a significant increase. However, if your property assessment increase is above the average increase in assessment for the municipality, you could experience a more substantial increase.

Myth: Higher assessed values mean more money for the District.

Fact: The District of Central Saanich is not in the business of making money or earning a profit. The District goes through an extensive budgeting process each year to determine the amount of funding required to “run” the municipality and its services. Tax rates are then adjusted to collect only the revenue needed from the assessment base.

Myth: Taxes Are High Because of Assessments

Fact: Yes and no. Assessments are only one part of the big picture. A high assessment can contribute to high property taxes, but the tax rate is what really determines how much tax will appear on your property tax bill. You’d pay only $4,500 in taxes annually on that $300,000 property if your tax rate dropped to 1.5 percent.

Now change the numbers around. Your home assesses at $200,000. Your tax rate is 3 percent. You’re back up to $6,000 in property taxes again. You can have a low assessment, but you’re going to have a high property tax bill if it’s subject to a high tax rate.

Your assessment is usually the only part of your property tax bill that you have any control over. Assessments can be somewhat subjective, so most localities have procedures in place that allow you to appeal if you feel that your assessment is too high or that it’s not reflective of market value. 

Myth: My property assessment increase went up 20%. Does that mean my taxes will also go up 20%?

Fact: If assessment values go up on average, the tax rate will go down. As highlighted on the back of the Property Assessment Notice, while the assessed value of the property determines the amount of taxes that you pay, the property assessment increase does not determine the tax increase. The tax increase depends on how the assessed value of one property changed in comparison to the average for other properties in that class in Central Saanich. If the property assessment increase is greater than the average increase for that property class, the property will most likely see an increase in the property taxes whereas taxes will decrease if the property assessment increase is less than the average residential property.

Property Assessment Impact

Are you wondering how your property assessments impacted by property taxes? This image shows that even though your assessment may have gone up, it may not impact your property taxes.  What matters is how an individual property assessment changed in comparison to the average % change in property assessments in the municipality.

About Property Assessments

BC Assessment Notices are delivered to homes the first week of January. BC Assessment provides an assessment value (market value) on all properties in BC.  Check out BC Assessment’s webpage to have your assessment notice explained. If you have concerns or questions about your property assessment, please check out the Understanding the Process page on BC Assessment’s website.  If you can’t find the answer to your assessment questions, use BC Assessment’s online contact form to contact BC Assessment directly, or visit their “contact us” page for other options. 

If you want to appeal your property assessment, follow the steps on the BC Assessment website or calling them toll free at 1-866-825-8322.

Here are some notes to help you understand the relationship between property assessments and property taxes. 

  • A property owner with a larger than average property assessment increase could see an increase to their property taxes, while someone with a lower than average assessment increase could potentially experience a property tax decrease, depending on the tax rate.
  • The overall District budget is developed based on the cost of delivering services to residents; not on property assessments.
  • The District does not determine property assessment values and cannot alter them.