Commercial Property Tax Increases Unacceptable and Unsustainable for Businesses
Over the past month, the Surrey Board of Trade has received numerous complaints about the high percentage of property tax increases for businesses.
“Class 5 and 6 are facing on average increases as high as 14.5% and 7.2% this year, respectively,” said Anita Huberman, President & CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “This is unsustainable after they experienced an average increase between 2020 and 2021 of 53.9% for class 5 and 39.3% for class 6. This is on top of cash flow challenges of the pandemic, supply shortages, natural disasters, inflation, interest rate increases, and workforce challenges. 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, including regulatory burdens that inhibit business growth.”
SURREY PROPERTY TAX PULSE SURVEY REPORT
The results of the Surrey Board of Trade’s 2022 Surrey Property Tax Pulse Survey:
REASONS FOR TAXATION
1. BC ASSESSMENTS & LAND VALUES
In 2022, assessed values of land for all asset classes increased significantly across the market. BC Assessment determines the value of each property at July 1 each year, 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 business property.
2. MUNICIPALITY TAX ALLOCATION AND MUNICIPAL BUDGETS
Each municipality allocates a tax rate for each type of property after setting their annual budget. Any budget increases or re-allocations (e.g. capital parcel tax) by council may increase your property tax bill, depending on the change in your property’s value compared to the rest of the city.
3. REGIONAL TAXATION
The tax bill includes amounts for BC Assessment, Metro Vancouver, municipal finance, sewer and TransLink. This increase appears to differ by municipality.
4. PROVINCIAL TAXATION – SCHOOL TAX
The tax bill includes amounts to fund BC schools.
WHAT CAN BE DONE
1. Write letters and send feedback to your local, provincial and regional governments and senior officials
2. Speak at the council meeting where the city budget is presented
3. Advocate on assessments and land values
4. Request advance and proactive communication by all levels of government to business (to give time to support adjustments)
5. Review the industry classification of your business and ensure it is correct
6. Advocate for a corporate vote
7. Advocate for a comprehensive tax review by the government
8. Amplify your voice by alerting the media
9. Use the power of social media to bring awareness
10. Add your voice the Surrey Board of Trade’s advocacy efforts
Anita Huberman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 604-340-3899