BC Assessment's business is to provide a stable and predictable base for real property taxation in British Columbia. The corporation determines ownership and tax liability, classifies and values each property in British Columbia. To meet its goal, BC Assessment completes an assessment roll every December 31.
How we assess properties
BC Assessment estimates the value of most properties (e.g. homes) as of July 1 each year, based on market value. In other words, your current assessment notice is based on a value of what your property would have been worth according to comparable market sales as of the prior July 1.
How we value your home
BC Assessment determines the current assessment roll property assessments reflecting their physical condition and permitted use as of October 31, using a valuation date of July 1, in the year immediately prior to the annual assessment roll.
In determining assessed value, an appraiser considers a wide variety of factors such as size, age, shape, quality, condition and location of properties. Services in the area (location, views, neighbourhood) and supply and demand may also influence property value. Changes such as new construction or inventory, permitted use (e.g. zoning), property class, occupation, eligibility for an exemption or in the taxing jurisdiction boundary will be reflected on the assessment roll.
How we apply highest and best use
BC Assessment assesses most properties based on the property's highest and best use, which is the foundation of market value.
Highest and best use of a property is an economic concept that measures the interaction of four criteria: legal permissibility, physical possibility, financial feasibility, and maximum profitability. According to the Appraisal Institute of Canada, analysing a property's highest and best use allows appraisers to understand the market forces that can affect a property's market value, and identify the potential uses of a property. Analysis of highest and best use also helps appraisers identify sales of comparable properties to help develop an opinion of market value.
Learn more about the relationship between market value and highest and best use.
Our service to British Columbia
BC Assessment mails individual assessment notices, with entries recorded from the assessment roll, to all property owners in the province. Once audited and authenticated by the Property Assessment Review Panel, BC Assessment presents the assessment roll to various tax jurisdictions: municipal governments, regional districts and the Ministries of Education and Health. The assessment roll is used by tax jurisdictions to form the basis of their tax rolls. Tax jurisdictions set tax rates for each of the nine property classes.
As a result, BC Assessment's annual property assessments provide the foundation for local and provincial taxing authorities to calculate billions of dollars in property tax revenue each year that fund the many important community services provided by local governments around the province as well as the public school system.
BC Assessment maintains an extensive and up-to-date information database on all properties in British Columbia. Public access to this electronic database is available through our online assesment search service. For a fee, BC Assessment will also produce custom information reports.
BC Assessment provides accurate property and value information to:
- tax authorities;
- property owners;
- municipal, provincial and federal government agencies;
- realtors, appraisers, lawyers, bankers, title search companies;
- other private and public agencies.
Understanding Property Assessments & Property Taxes
Property assessments are about determining HOW property taxes are distributed.
BC Assessment provides local governments and other taxing authorities with accurate and independent assessment information. Local governments and other taxing authorities use that information to determine funding for important services used every day in communities all over British Columbia.
An increase in your assessment does not necessarily mean an increase in your property taxes. Properties with assessment changes below the average within their municipality or taxing jurisdiction will likely see a lower than average change in property taxes. Those with changes above the average will likely see a higher than average change in property taxes.
* The diagram above assumes that there are no changes in the budgetary requirements of your taxing authority and/or any other taxing agency.
For more information, you can also visit Property Assessments and Property Taxes: A not-so complicated relationship, or watch these three brief videos to help explain the relationship between property assessments and property taxation.