Property assessments in British Columbia are the basis for property taxation. Ensuring your commercial property is accurately and fairly assessed is a professional service we offer. Our staff have the expertise and relationships with BC Assessment staff to review and negotiate changes to assessments, where over-assessment is indicated, in a cost effective and timely fashion.
Contact our office before the January 31st appeal deadline to preserve your right of appeal.
We take a multi-stage approach for property assessment consulting to limit costs to property owners, as follows:
Step 1 – Initial review of the assessment to determine if the property inventory, Actual value, and Classification are correct, and the property is assessed fairly (equitably) with similar properties in the neighbourhood. This usually involves 1 to 3 hours consulting time and a modest fee. If the assessment appears reasonable or the degree of over assessment is minor we will likely recommend no further action. Keep in mind that the property’s Actual value may be over stated if the inventory is inaccurate – e.g., BCA is using a higher than actual building rentable area. If the property Actual value is improperly allocated among the Property Classes for a mixed-use property you may have an excessive property tax burden.
Step 2 – Assuming your property is significantly over-assessed or improperly classified we will recommend a best approach to achieving a positive outcome, including potential costs versus tax savings and our forecast of the probability of success. If you agree with our approach will begin negotiations with the local Assessor (as your agent) and file an appeal, if necessary. Some assessment issues can be resolved quickly during the initial review period, which is January 1 to January 31st of each year.
Step 3 – If we unable to resolve the assessment issues with the Assessor during the review period we will provide you with the option to continue the appeal to the Property Assessment Appeal Board or PAAB. Appeals to PAAB for more complex commercial properties are common since the initial level of appeal, the Property Assessment Review Panel, typically has insufficient time and expertise to deal with commercial property valuation and classification issues. The PAAB is a judicial tribunal with broad powers, somewhat similar to the Courts. The PAAB hears appeals based on rules of evidence and strongly encourages the parties to resolve the issues through informal mediation processes to avoid the costs of in-person hearings. During this stage the property owner may be subject to orders for financial and other property information. Our goal is to manage these requests on your behalf and minimize the disclosure of confidential business information.
During each stage in the process our goal is to keep you informed and manage the risk of achieving a successful outcome. In our experience the best approach is to maintain a respectful relationship with BC Assessment staff but ensure the Assessor continues to give your file the highest priority for issue resolution in the shortest time frame possible.
Should you wish to engage us in the initial Step 1, please call our office at (250) 388-6242 we will put you in contact with an expert in your specific property type.