The Province of B.C. is introducing a property tax relief that could potentially aid small businesses and non-profit organizations.
Through new municipal property tax rate flexibility being placed for the 2023 tax year, B.C. Municipalities will have the ability to reduce tax rates for eligible property owners. Small businesses and non-profit organizations paying high property taxes because of future development potential may see some financial relief
“Local governments have been asking for a tool to help support small businesses and non-profits in their communities under the weight of increasing costs,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance.
“We listened to those concerns and rolled up our sleeves. This new program will empower local governments to provide much-needed relief with an effective long-term solution that fits the individual needs of communities.”
A Property Assessment Strategic Review was launched in 2019 to create long-term solutions for small businesses with respect to property tax mitigation. The tax change is an outcome of this review, replacing the Interim Business Property Tax Relief program introduced in March 2020.
“B.C.’s small businesses and non-profits are an integral part of our economy and our communities, and this is one of the ways we’re helping them recover and grow,” said Robinson. “I want to thank the many partners that helped us develop an effective and usable solution to this issue.”
BC Assessment considers the highest and best use of a property when determining the assessed value. However, with the announced tax rate flexibility, municipalities will be able to identify properties within their community where property taxes are affected by high-density development potential. From there, the municipalities can choose which properties receive the relief and set the percentage of land that will be taxed at the lower rate.
“The Province is committed to collaboration with our local government partners to deliver programs and policies that meet the unique needs of each community,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “This tool will empower local governments to help non-profits and small businesses thrive.”
The tax relief tool will be available to eligible properties for as long as five years, coming at a time when rising assessed values and associated property taxes are leaving some small businesses with unsustainable cost increases.
“The legislation introduced today addresses a concern that has been raised by UBCM’s members,” said Jen Ford, president, Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM). “This change enables local governments to provide tax relief for commercial properties that have seen dramatic increases in the assessed value of their land. Local governments were consulted as a part of the process of developing this legislation, and I welcome the Province’s action to address this issue.”
For more information about the changes to support small businesses and non-profit organizations, please visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/legislation.