Property Tax Increases Unacceptable and Unsustainable for Businesses
Over the past two weeks, the Surrey Board of Trade has received numerous complaints about the high percentage level of property tax increases for businesses.
“Class 4, 5, 6 are facing increases as high as 150%,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “This is unacceptable and unsustainable. There is no room even for delays given the cash flow challenges of the pandemic. Believe me, we are not just letting this go. We can’t. We need a tax climate that is conducive to the success and sustainability of businesses. Over the years, all levels of governments have put significant tax burdens on business.”
SURREY TAX PULSE SURVEY REPORT
The Surrey Board of Trade released the Surrey Property Tax Pulse Survey at their Surrey Property Tax event on June 21: REPORT. In summary, a wide range when comparing 2019 property tax amounts with 2021:
- Majority of manufacturing businesses experienced a tax increase greater than 20%
- Majority of real estate and rental and leasing businesses saw an increase greater than 35%, one business experienced over 140% increase
- Majority of construction businesses experienced an increase greater than 30%
At the event, comments from panellists and attendees about the consequences of tax increases ranged from hiring delays, to cost increases to consumers, to moving out of the city or out of the province, and to business maintenance and business investment plans being put on hold. Further, in one comparative example that was provided of a Class 4 heavy industrial facility and its assessment and tax costs in Surrey versus the Township of Langley was alarming. In 2021 in Surrey: $833,000 versus $287,209 in the Township of Langley. Both businesses were similar in size and value, located on the same street, fronting the Fraser River.
REASONS FOR TAXATION:
1. BC ASSESSMENTS & LAND VALUES
In 2020, assessed values of land for all asset classes increased significantly across the market. BC Assessment determines the value of each property at July 1, 2020, using the income approach to valuation, using market rent rather than actual rent. The assessed value could be higher than market or appraised value. A limited number of businesses go to BC Assessment to dispute the value of their home or business property.
2. MUNICIPALITY TAX ALLOCATION AND MUNICIPAL BUDGETS
Each municipality allocates a tax rate for each type of property. Any budget increases or re-allocations by council will increase all taxes (e.g. capital parcel tax).
3. REGIONAL TAXATION
The tax rate includes amounts for BC Assessment, Metro Vancouver, Municipal Finance, sewer and TransLink. This increase appears to differ by municipality.
4. PROVINCIAL TAXATION – SCHOOL TAX
In 2020, due to COVID, the BC Government subsidized the school tax as a relief measure, which has now been eliminated.
Supply continues to be strained in an already underserved market.
WHAT CAN BE DONE
- Write letters and send feedback to your local, provincial & regional governments & senior officials
- Speak at the council meeting where the city budget is presented
- Advocacy of assessments and land values
- Advance and proactive communication by all levels of government to business (give time to support adjustments)
- Review industry classifications
- Advocate for a corporate vote
- Government needs to conduct a comprehensive tax review
- Present to the public budget meeting of your council
- Let the media know to amplify your voice
- Use the power of social media to bring awareness
- Add your voice the Surrey Board of Trade’s advocacy efforts
FOR MORE INFORMATION, Anita Huberman firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-340-3899