Interim Property Tax Relief Legislation

The Province has announced a new interim business property tax relief program to provide an optional tool that would allow municipalities to address the escalating property values experienced by some small businesses and non-profits.

Prior UBCM resolutions identified dramatic increases in property taxation for small businesses and non-profits as a significant issue, including a 2019 resolution (B78) calling for the establishment of a new commercial sub class that would provide for a split assessment. UBCM President Maja Tait wrote to Minister Robinson on February 28th expressing concern with Bill 10, noting that UBCM members recommended a different path forward.

Mayor Tait also signed correspondence expressing similar sentiments in a letter from metro mayors, noting the proposed legislation poses multiple implementation challenges including: lack of time to adequately consult with affected property owners for this 2020 tax year; data required to implement the program is not readily available; and that unintended consequences may result due to the complexity associated with the proposed interim program.

In addition to the interim business property tax relief program, Bill 10 also includes the following elements of interest to local government:

  • Commercial Vehicle Licensing Program terminated.  UBCM, as the program administrator had asked to Province to eliminate the program recognizing it no longer fulfilled the original objective of the program.
  • BC Assessment Act amended to change the BC Assessment Authority’s fiscal year end to align with the Province (March 31).

 

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