BC Property Tax Assessment Appeals & Consulting
Every January, BC Assessment sends out property assessment notices. These assessments are based on a mass-valuation techniques, and do not take into account the nuances of individual properties. If you have questions or concerns with regard to your property assessment, or are seeking advice, we are here to help.
At D.R. Coell and Associates, we have a dedicated team of Property Tax Experts who spend hours researching the most recent Property Tax Case Law, know the applicable Provincial Tax Statues, pound the phones to verify all, and know their way around our 40+ year old comprehensive appraisal database to best be able to evaluate the tax status of our clients. Every detail matters when it comes to providing clients an accurate sense of where they stand with respect to an appeal. In 2020 our clients saved over $400,000 in property taxes either through assessment reductions or by having properties re-classified.
Both Assessed Value and Tax Classification are the major drivers of what you end up paying. Assessment and Taxation are highly complex and it is more common than people realize to be over-paying in the order to 50% to 100%+ based on major factual errors, logical mis-steps in methodology or equitable falsehoods.
What We Review in a Property Tax Assessment
Our Annual Reviews are based on the Four Pillars of Property Taxation:
Physical property characteristics are reviewed to ensure you seize upon all low-hanging fruit first and foremost. Legal characteristics – namely any Zoning, OCP, riparian, highway other Provincial or title restrictions – and financial data are reviewed. Assessments often fail to capture an update to square footage, an irregular layout or exposure, and legal hindrances on the use of a property.
Highest and Best Use:
The Assessment Act mandates that each property owner is entitled to be assessed based on Highest and Best Use (HBU). HBU is often nuanced and there is more to consider than meets the eye – particularly the eye of a lightly trained assessor who may have never completed financial analysis in the private sector and has a mass list of properties to assess on top of that. HBU paired with the available recent market data will determine a property’s “Actual Value” – That is, the Market Value of the Fee Simple interest, as defined in the Assessment Act.
The legal right to be taxed equitably is yours. Researching equity in taxation may relate to the Assessed Value or the Tax Classification. We offer economies of scale in our understanding of properties due to the volume of reviews we complete each January. Our past success in appeals drives our future ability to be successful at hearings via a nuanced understanding of how comparable properties are assessed + classed.
Often overlooked by the masses of taxpayers and the average appraisal firm with lesser legal backgrounds, Tax Classification can result in the most significant reductions to Assessed Value. This is where things can get highly complex and lawyers often step in. At D.R. Coell, we have you covered without having to mortgage the house to pay legal fees!
Our Property Tax Consulting Services
How We Can Best Assist Your Case
Contact us early, in the year prior to the assessment being published when the pre-roll figure is released, or even before that if you have a sense there may be an issue with your upcoming assessment. We seek to negotiate reductions as early as possible to save our clients on costs. If your assessment is determined to be unfair, we will prepare a valuation and legal-oriented case and present this to the assessor. It may be in B.C. Assessment Authority’s best interest to amend a pre-roll value which can result in a lower initial tax bill in January.
Annual Tax Review
We conduct annual reviews of property assessment in January each year, for individual properties and for entire portfolios. Conscientious property owners and property managers will ensure their tenants are receiving fair taxation at little or no benefit to themselves as it is predominantly Small Businesses footing the bill. We can provide either certainty that you are in fact receiving fair property taxation or recommend an appeal is pursued. Our clients are diligent, yet busy so we make it clear the magnitude of the potential savings and provide an overview of the potential risks to a successful appeal.
Settling an Appeal by way of Negotiation is the quickest and most straightforward means to achieve your fair taxation goals and we use our long-standing relationships with BC Assessment to meet this end. Relationships are built on respect and repeated delivery of powerful results undeniably cultivates this respect. If we can save you one or multiple hearings, we will always seek to do so.
Client Representation is offered beyond the negotiation stage. Our property tax consultants prepare for each hearing like it is our day in court and make sure your case delivery is concise, well-reasoned and punctuated. We act on your behalf and consult with you throughout the process to ensure your desires are met, while strategically advising on how best to achieve an optimal outcome. We know the individual adjudicators behind the panels and use this knowledge in each case presentation. In the rare event an appeal to the highest level is required, we avail ourselves to your legal team and work with them.
Small Businesses, Developers, Government Entities and Investors of all types benefit from our in-depth taxation and assessment knowledge.
Why Contact a Property Tax Consultant?
Property taxes are often one of the largest single expenses that a property owner faces. Small business owners pay the vast majority of property taxes in B.C. While property tax assessments are based on flawed mass valuation techniques, the onus of proof rests on the appellant. Our team of property tax consultants has extensive experience interpreting the Act, applying relevant case law, and navigating the appeal process. Reducing your tax liability provides direct savings and a positive contribution to your bottom line. We offer property tax consulting to a wide range of clientele including but not limited to property managers and owners of a single property or portfolio of properties.
Promptly contacting our property tax experts to review your assessment will provide guidance with regard to the best next steps, saving you time and money overall. While individuals and corporations may not be able to escape the increasing taxation pressures of the 2020’s, they can certainly take steps to ensure they are paying a fair and equitable amount under the law. Annual Portfolio Assessment Reviews are the best system to set in place as to best be prepared for the “Suddenly”.
Experienced Property Tax Consultants for Victoria, Gulf Islands, Vancouver & More
D.R. Coell’s physical office is located in Victoria B.C., but we have made incredible investments in technology, permitting our entire office and related resources to be accessed online. These investments facilitate remote work, and allow our team to travel anywhere while providing the same high-level of quality and service on which we have based our reputation. Wherever you need property tax consulting, we will come to you.
Providing Property Tax Consulting to:
- Capital Regional District: Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, View Royal, Langford, Colwood, Central Saanich, Highlands, North Saanich, Sidney, Metchosin, Sooke, Salt Spring Island, Juan de Fuca, Southern Gulf Islands, Port Renfrew, Jordan River
- Cowichan Valley Regional District: Duncan, Ladysmith, Lake Cowichan, North Cowichan
- Nanaimo Regional District: Nanaimo, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Lantzville
- Comox Valley Regional District: Comox, Courtenay, Cumberland
- Mount Waddington Regional District: Alert Bay, Port Alice, Port Hardy, Port McNeil
- Strathcona Regional District: Campbell River, Gold River, Sayward, Tahis, Zeballos
- Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District: Port Alberni, Bamfield, Sproat Lake, Great Central Lake, Tofino, Ucluelet
- Greater Vancouver
- Prince Rupert
- Prince George
Frequently asked questions
- When To Hire a BC Property Tax Consultant?
It is best practice to contact our Tax Consultants early in the year prior to the assessment being published, when the pre-roll figure is released, or even earlier if you anticipate issues with your upcoming assessment. It is our intention to negotiate reductions as soon as possible to save our clients on overall costs. We recommend annual portfolio reviews as the best practice to prepare for the “suddenly”.
- How Much Does a Property Tax Consultant Cost?
D.R. Coell & Associates offers property tax consulting and assessment appeal on an hourly basis or on a contingency fee basis. This means that your final bill will either be based on an hourly rate, or an agreed upon portion of overall tax savings. Should a contingency basis be the best option, that means that if no tax savings is achieved, you don’t pay anything. Discussing your unique situation with our property tax experts determines the best fee structure option for you.
- What Are The Benefits of Hiring a Property Tax Consultant?
Property taxes are one of the largest expenses that a property owner faces, and property tax assessment by nature is based on flawed mass valuation techniques. The onus of proof rests on the appellant. Our Property Tax division is comprised of experts, with extensive relevant experience interpreting the act, applying case law and navigating the appeal process. By hiring a Property Tax Consultant, clients see the identifiable net benefit to their bottom line.